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Bathymetric images of linear and circular pockmark depressions on the Bay of Fundy seafloor, offshore eastern Canada, are interpreted to have been caused by escaping gas from underlying sediment or bedrock. Shallow interstitial gas within marine sediments restricts seismic reflection imaging (acoustic masking) of sub-bottom units resulting in obscured reflections within seismic profiles, confirming that interstitial gas is present in the underlying units. Pockmark fields are frequent in several bays and shallow coastal areas along the northern coast of the Bay of Fundy. The largest field containing over 10 000 pockmarks occurs in Passamaquoddy Bay, an estuary underlain by igneous and metamorphic bedrock. These features are interpreted to be caused by generation of biogenic methane from the microbial breakdown of organic matter buried within Holocene-age sediments and along the underlying Pleistocene/Holocene unconformity. The unconformity is recorded as a distinctive horizon that represents a time when glacier recession resulted in exposure of parts of the bay to sub-aerial erosion and growth of terrestrial vegetation at locations subsequently submerged by post-glacial transgression. Three areas of potential thermogenic gas occurrence were identified in seismic profiles collected south and east of The Wolves islands, New Brunswick. The underlying bedrock has not yet been precisely mapped, although outliers of Carboniferous-age bedrock that is the major petroleum source in New Brunswick may extend into this area of the Bay of Fundy.
Granitoid plutons are a major component of pre-Carboniferous rocks in Cape Breton Island and knowledge of the time and tectonic setting of their emplacement is crucial for understanding the geological history of the island, guiding exploration for granite-related economic mineralization, and making along-orogen correlations. The distribution of these plutons and their petrological characteristics have been used in the past for recognizing both Laurentian and peri-Gondwanan components in Cape Breton Island, and for subdividing the peri-Gondwanan components into Ganderian and Avalonian terranes. However, ages of many plutons were assumed on the basis of field relations and petrological features compared to those of the relatively few reliably dated plutons. Seventeen new U–Pb (zircon) ages from igneous units reported here provide enhanced understanding of the distribution of pluton ages. Arc-related plutons in the Aspy terrane with ages of ca. 490 to 475 Ma likely record the Penobscottian tectonomagmatic event recognized in the Exploits subzone of central Newfoundland and New Brunswick but not previously recognized in Cape Breton Island. Arc-related Devonian plutonic activity in the same terrane is more widespread, continuous, and protracted (445 Ma to 395 Ma) than previously known. Late Devonian magmatism in the Ganderian Aspy terrane is similar in age to that in the Avalonian Mira terrane (380 to 360 Ma) but the tectonic settings are different. In contrast, magmatic activity in the Bras d’Or terrane is almost exclusively arc-related in the Late Ediacaran (580 to 540 Ma) and rift-related in the Late Cambrian (520 to 490 Ma). The new data support the terrane distinctions previously documented.
The Almond Road Group in the northeastern New River belt comprises two formations: the basal Snider Mountain Formation contains orthoquartzite, feldspathic quartzite, and quartzite pebble conglomerate; the gradationally overlying Ketchum Brook Formation is composed of feldspathic sandstone, laminated dark siltstone and shale, overlain by mafic lithic tuffs and basaltic flows. The Almond Road Group overlies latest Ediacaran to earliest Cambrian (early Fortunian) pyroclastic, volcaniclastic, and epiclastic rocks of the Belleisle Bay Group. Based in part on this relationship, the Almond Road Group was thought to be Early Cambrian, although an upper age limit had never been determined. A U–Pb (zircon) age of 475 ± 2 Ma for the West Scotch Settlement porphyry, a small felsic hypabyssal intrusion emplaced into the Ketchum Brook Formation, demonstrates that the Almond Road Group is no younger than Early Ordovician (early Floian) age. Its age is further constrained by LA ICP-MS detrital zircon data from a basal quartzite in the Snider Mountain Formation. Results show a dominant peak in the Ediacaran (ca. 575 Ma), with the youngest coherent cluster of ages at ca. 530–520 Ma. Together these data support a Cambrian age for the quartz-rich Almond Road Group and its platformal relationship to Ganderia.
Agnathan and gnathostome remains, associated with lingulid brachiopod fragments and distinctive ostracods, have been extracted from a small calcareous mudstone sample collected from the type section of the Eastport Formation on the northern shore of Moose Island, Maine. The vertebrate assemblage includes osteostracan, anaspid, and thelodont scales, and acanthodian scales, spines and teeth, which support a late Pridoli, or possibly earliest Lochkovian, age for the stratum. The thelodont Paralogania denisoni n. sp. is described, associated with a single thelodont scale referred tentatively to Talivalia? sp. indet., and acanthodians Nostolepis striata, Gomphonchus sandelensis, and Poracanthodes punctatus in a fauna that shows similarities to late Pridoli assemblages in Britain, parts of Europe, Russia, Greenland, and arctic Canada.
Within the Ganderian inlier of Penobscot Bay, coastal Maine, the Islesboro fault block occupies a central position between the St. Croix terrane of continental affinity and, to the east, the Ellsworth terrane of oceanic affinity. New field, petrographic, geochemical, and U–Pb LA-ICP-MS geochronological data on detrital and magmatic zircon grains constrain the provenance and transfer history of these terranes from Gondwana to the Appalachian margin of Laurentia. On North Islesboro, the Coombs Limestone and Hutchins Island Quartzite (new name), intruded by E-MORB amphibolite, constitute a newly recognized local inlier of Proterozoic basement. Together with the nearby Seven Hundred Acre Island Formation, these mature, carbonate-rich strata record deposition on a low-latitude passive margin. Abundant detrital zircon grains in the Hutchins Island Quartzite, all older than ca. 1.8 Ga, have a predominant population at ca. 2.0 Ga and a small peak between ca. 2.8 Ga and 2.4 Ga, an age spectrum strikingly similar to those of both the Paleoproterozoic Taghdout Quartzite in Morocco, on the West African craton, and basement rocks from Georges Bank, offshore Massachusetts. The overlying Neoproterozoic–Cambrian Islesboro Formation records a second period of extension (interstratified EMORB greenstone) synchronous with accumulation of interbedded siliciclastic and carbonate sediment, prior to recumbent folding. At the base of the moderately deformed Turtle Head Cove (new name) cover sequence, immature greywacke has a youngest zircon population of ca. 515 Ma, large late Neoproterozoic populations (ca. 624 Ma and 678 Ma), a small peak at 1.2 Ga, a moderate number of ca. 1.5 Ga to 2.0 Ga grains, and a few Late Archean grains. Compared with many similar Ganderian age spectra reported from Vermont to New Brunswick, which are all consistent with a source in either the Amazonian or West African cratons, this new age spectrum most closely resembles those from quartzites in the Grand Manaan and Brookville terranes of coastal New Brunswick. Significantly, exotic blocks lithologically indistinguishable from Proterozoic strata on Islesboro occur in the St. Croix terrane within a Lower Ordovician black shale mélange at the base of the Penobscot Formation, suggesting that the St. Croix terrane, Islesboro block, and Ellsworth terrane were initially juxtaposed by Penobscottian thrusting prior to the Middle Ordovician. Subsequently, the Islesboro block was isolated between the bounding post-Silurian, pre-Late Devonian Turtle Head and Penobscot Bay dextral strike-slip faults. Along the North Islesboro fault, a fault-bounded lens of foliated pyritic felsic volcanic and volcaniclastic rock, dated at ca. 372 Ma and containing Devonian to Archean detrital zircons, records late Paleozoic deformation recognized previously in coastal New Brunswick but not in Penobscot Bay.
Enhancements of recently available high-resolution multibeam echosounder data from the western Gulf of Maine and Atlantic continental margin and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) and digital elevation model data from southeastern Quebec (Canada) and the northeastern United States have revealed numerous ring-shaped morphological features and interpreted small seamounts between the Monteregian Hills igneous province and the New England seamounts. The morphological features onshore are mainly ring-shaped depressions, several of which surround mapped igneous intrusions in the Monteregian Hills igneous province and White Mountain magma series. Most of the rings offshore are also depressions, although a few rings are curved ridges above the seafloor. The largest ring in the western Gulf of Maine is the 30-km-diameter Tillies ring that lies 20 km east of Cape Ann, MA. Several small (<3 km in diameter) round, flat-topped submerged hills that we interpret to be volcanic necks are also present beneath the western Gulf of Maine. The rings between Cape Cod and the continental slope are more subtle because of thicker sediments and poorer spatial resolution of the sonar data in this area. The southernmost ring-shaped features are located on the continental slope and upper continental rise and coincide with the northwestern end of the New England seamount chain. The concentration of these features between the Monteregian Hills igneous province and the New England seamounts suggests that they are igneous features that may be associated with the New England hotspot track.
High-resolution LiDAR (light detection and ranging) images of northeastern Massachusetts and southeastern New Hampshire reveal a 10-km-long, NW-SE-oriented topographic lineament in northeastern Massachusetts that we interpret to be the surface expression of a SW-dipping thrust fault along which the 1727 Newbury, Massachusetts, earthquake occurred. The Newburyport lineament coincides with the northeast edge of a 10-kmlong, NW-SE-oriented ridge, herein named Merrimack ridge, that parallels the NW-SE-trending segment of the Merrimack River downstream from where it bends 90° to the southeast. The northwestern end of the Newburyport lineament coincides with a 1-km-long, ~7- to 15-m-high, NE-facing Newburyport scarp that is located just south of the bend in the river. The Newburyport lineament also parallels the NW-SE-oriented nodal planes of the focal mechanism that was generated for the 1999 Amesbury, Massachusetts, earthquake. A P-wave velocity tomographic model generated from a seismic-refraction profile across the Newburyport scarp shows a ~40-m-wide low-velocity zone dipping ~41° SW. Velocities along this zone decrease 15–50%, which suggests that the Newburyport lineament is associated with the surface expression of a SW-dipping brittle fault zone. The LiDAR images also revealed three other NW-SE-trending lineaments in the study area.
The area around Penobsquis, east of Sussex, New Brunswick, Canada, is an important location of natural resources for the province. The McCully gas field produces from strata of the Mississippian Horton Group whereas younger strata of the Windsor Group are host to major potash and rocksalt deposits. Overlying these units are over 1 km of poorly understood red beds currently assigned to the Mississippian Mabou Group. To date, this latter unit lacks significant marker beds and has had no useful biostratigraphic recovery, despite recent extraction of close to 5 km of drill core. Research on this core broadly identifies siltstone and sandstone at the base of the Mabou Group that gradually coarsen up into conglomerate. The succession is considered the result of alluvial-fan progradation from the northeast. Within this succession, in several of the cores, is a single interval of localized, horizontally laminated to cross-stratified, bluish-grey sandstone, containing carbonaceous plant fragments and siltstone intraclasts. To assess the importance of this interval in the context of the red bed succession, a total of 131 samples of core from three boreholes have been analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma and spectroscopic techniques to determine chemostratigraphy. Study of various elemental ratios can delineate two packages, one that corresponds to the grey interval and overlying red beds, and the other to the underlying red beds. Changes in the elemental ratios are interpreted to mark a broader population of mineral species related to greater variation of provenance and diagenesis in the upper sediment package. The reduced horizons and rip-up clasts may have been produced by sediment reworking along a boundary that represents an unconformity (in core, a disconformity) at a stratigraphic level near to where one has been inferred by other workers.
New collections of plant macrofossils provide a precise Middle Pennsylvanian age for the lower Wamsutta Formation red beds of the Narragansett Basin, southeastern Massachusetts, USA. The Wamsutta assemblage indicates strong correlation with the Cumberland Group of the Maritimes Provinces of Canada, which was earlier considered to be of late Langsettian to early Duckmantian age. This correlation is supported by the presence in the Wamsutta Formation of the following plant-fossil species: Neuralethopteris schlehanii, Neuropteris obliqua, Senftenbergia plumosa, Calamites suckowii, Annularia asteris, Annularia cf. microphylla,Asterophyllites charaeformis, Asterophyllites grandis, Asterophyllites lindleyanus, Sphenophyllum cuneifolium, and Sphenopteris valida. Moreover, the new fossil flora resembles the Middle Pennsylvanian florules of western Europe, such as the Laveineopteris loshii Subzone. The new flora is especially similar to those of the Iberian Peninsula, where there is a complete succession of Carboniferous macrofloral zones, and this similarity confirms a late Langsettian or early Duckmantian age for the lower Wamsutta macroflora. The new collections of Wamsutta Formation plant fossils, along with a smaller existing collection, represent the oldest known macroflora in the Narragansett Basin.
SHRIMP U–Pb zircon ages from Ganderia in eastern Maine clarify the ages and provenance of basement units in the Miramichi and St. Croix terranes and of cover rocks in the Fredericton trough and Central Maine/Aroostook-Matapedia basin (CMAM). These new data constrain timing of orogenic events and help understand the origin of the cover rock depocenters. Detrital zircon data generally confirm suggested ages of the formations sampled. Zircon grains with ages of ca. 430 Ma in both depocenters, only slightly older than their host rocks, were probably derived from the earliest volcanic eruptions in the Eastport-Mascarene belt. Their presence indicates that unnamed CMAM sandstone units may be as young as Pridoli and their absence from the Appleton Ridge and Digdeguash formations suggests that these formations are older than initial Eastport-Mascarene volcanism. Detrital and volcanic zircon ages confirm a Late Cambrian to Middle Ordovician age for the Miramichi succession and date Miramichi volcanism at 469.3 ± 4.6 Ma. In the St. Croix terrane, zircon grain with an age of 477.4 ± 3.7 Ma from an ashfall at the base of the Kendall Mountain Formation and age spectra and fossils from overlying quartz arenite suggest that the formation may span Floian to Sandbian time. The main source of CMAM and Fredericton sediment was recycled Ganderian basement from terranes emergent after Late Ordovician orogenesis, supplemented by Silurian tephra. Zircon barcodes and lithofacies and tectonic models suggest little, if any, input from Laurentia or Avalonia. Zircon- and fossil-based ages indicate coeval Upper Ordovician deformation in the St. Croix (ca. 453 to 442 Ma) and Miramichi (ca. 453 to 446 Ma) terranes. Salinic folding in the southeastern Fredericton trough is bracketed between the 421.9 ± 2.4 Ma age of the Pocomoonshine gabbro-diorite and 430 Ma detrital zircons in the Flume Ridge Formation. Zircon ages, lithofacies analysis, and paleontological evidence support the origin of the Fredericton trough as a Salinic foredeep. The CMAM basin cannot have been an Acadian foreland basin, as sedimentation began millions of years before Acadian subduction.
The Canaan River pluton comprises megacrystic monzogranite and quartz diorite to monzodiorite that is exposed in several small inliers on the Carboniferous New Brunswick Platform west of Moncton in southeastern New Brunswick. Its distinct geophysical signature and borehole data suggest that the Canaan River pluton is part of a large buried felsic to mafic intrusive body that lies at relatively shallow depths beneath flat-lying Pennsylvanian sandstone on the platform. New laser ablation ICP-MS in situ analysis of the megacrystic monzogranite yielded a U-Pb zircon concordia age of 412.6 ± 2.1 Ma, indicating that the intrusion is of Early Devonian (upper Lochkovian) age. The new radiometric data along with lithological, geochemical, and isotopic data suggest that the Canaan River pluton is most like the megacrystic Hawkshaw Granite of upper Lochkovian age in the Pokiok Batholith in southwestern New Brunswick. The similarities shown by these granites suggests that they may have been generated in the same complex tectonomagmatic setting related to the successive arrival of the leading edge of Ganderia and Avalonia at the composite Laurentian margin during the Salinic and Acadian orogenies.