Rift Basin & Seismic Interpretation

The eastern North American margin is an ideal natural laboratory to study continental rifting, passive margin development, salt tectonics, and magmatism because 1) it preserves numerous rift basins and post-rift basins, 2) it contains the Mesozoic syn-rift salt especially on the Scotian shelf, eastern Canada, and 3) it hosts part of the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province (CAMP), the largest large igneous province by estimated volume.

In addition to outcrop data in onshore rift basins, many well and 2D/3D seismic-reflection data are available in onshore and offshore rift basins. In my study, I integrate these data to evaluate both the surface and subsurface geology of these rift basins.

Regional map showing the eastern North American rift system that contains numerous rift basin (orange). Modified from Olsen (1996) and Withjack (2012).

I currently focus on studying the Orpheus rift basin, offshore Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada, to understand how a salt-rich rift basin develops through geologic time. Refer to Hanafi (2013) for a complete map.

Example of interpreted seismic data from the Orpheus rift basin, offshore eastern Canada. The Orpheus rift basin exhibits not only basement-involved structures (i.e., basement-involved faults with normal separation) but also detached deformation such as buckle folds, and detached faults with reverse separation. What causes the compressional structures? How did they develop? Did the basin experience basin inversion? How does salt affect the structural evolution of this basin? These are some of the research questions that I'm currently trying to address. Figure from Hanafi (2013).

References mentioned:
Hanafi, B.R., 2013. The Influence of Basin Architecture and Synrift Salt on Structural Evolution During and After Rifting: A Case Study of The Orpheus Rift Basin, Offshore Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, Canada: M.S. Thesis, Rutgers University, 1–132 p.
Olsen, P.E., Kent, D.V., Cornet, B., Witte, W.K. and Schlische, R.W., 1996. High-resolution stratigraphy of the Newark rift basin (early Mesozoic, eastern North America). Geological Society of America Bulletin, 108(1), pp.40-77.
Withjack, M.O., Schlische, R.W., and Olsen, P.E., 2012. Development of the Passive Margin of Eastern North America: Mesozoic Rifting, Igneous Activity, and Breakup (D. G. Roberts & A. W. Bally, Eds.): Phanerozoic Rift System and Sedimentary Basins,, p. 301–335, doi: 10.1016/B978-0-444- 56356-9.00012-2.