Adam Schoonmaker, William S.F. Kidd and Tristan Ashcroft
Foreland magmatism occurs in the lower plate during arc–continent or continent–continent collision, although it is uncommon. Ancient examples are recognized by a stratigraphic section into which mafic lavas and/or shallow sills are emplaced at a level at the top of a passive margin cover sequence, or within the overlying deeper water deposits that include mudrocks and flysch-type turbidites. Extensional structures associated with the emplacement of the volcanic rocks may develop slightly prior to or contemporaneous with the arrival of the approaching thrust front. We have selected twelve examples of magmatism in collisional forelands, modern and ancient, and have compared the tectonic associations of the magmatism with the magmatic geochemistry. Foreland magmatic settings fall into two strikingly distinct geochemical groups: a more enriched alkaline group (Rhinetype) and a more heterogeneous tholeiitic group (Maine-type) that may show traces of prior subduction processes. In the examples where the contemporaneous extensional structures are known, faults and basins develop parallel to the thrust front for the tholeiitic group and have oblique orientations, in several cases at a high angle to the thrust front, for the alkaline group. The geochemical results are quite sufficiently distinct to permit discrimination of these two foreland magmatic rock suites from each other in ancient examples where the foreland setting is clear from geological evidence. However, magmatic products of the same range of compositions can be generated in other tectonic environments (rifts, back-arc basins), so the geochemical characteristics alone are insufficient to identify a foreland basin setting. The alkaline Rhine-type group formed primarily in response to localized upwelling convective activity from the sub-asthenospheric mantle beneath the lower plate during collision while the tholeiitic Maine-type group formed primarily in response to melting of subcontinental asthenospheric mantle during extension of the lower plate by slab pull, and resulting lithospheric detachment. It is possible that there has been a long-term secular decrease in the occurrence of the Mainetype foreland magmatism since the early Proterozoic.
The Laurentian Great Lakes are a chain of five large water bodies and connecting rivers that constitute the headwaters of the St. Lawrence River. Collectively they form one of the largest reservoirs of surface freshwater on the planet with an aggregate volume of >22,000 km3. Early interpretations of the postglacial lake history implicitly assumed that the Great Lakes always overflowed their outlets. A study of Lake Winnipeg which concluded that lack of water in a dry climate had dried that lake for millennia led to re-evaluation of the Great Lakes water-level history. Using the empirical information of glacioisostatic rebound derived from 14C-dated and uptilted Great Lake paleo-shorelines, a method of computation was developed to test the paradigm of continuous lake overflow. The method evaluated site and outlet uplift independently, and low-level indicators such as submerged tree stumps rooted beneath the present Great Lakes were found to be lower than the lowest possible corresponding basin outlet. Results confirmed the low-level, closed-basin hydrological status of the early Great Lakes. This status is consistent with paleoclimatic inferences of aridity during the early Holocene before establishment of the present patterns of atmospheric circulation which now bring adequate precipitation to maintain the overflowing lakes. In a sense, the early to middle Holocene phase of dry climate and low water levels is a natural experiment to illustrate the sensitivity of the Great Lakes to climate change in this era of global warming, should their climate shift to one much drier than present, or future major diversions of their waters be permitted.
Tim Webster, Kevin MacGuigan, Nathan Crowell, Kate Collins and Candace MacDonald
An airborne topo-bathymetric lidar survey was conducted at Cape John, on the north shore of Nova Scotia, Canada, using the shallow water Leica AHAB Chiroptera II sensor. The survey revealed new bedrock features that were not discovered using previous mapping methods. A thick blanket of glacial till covers the bedrock on land, and outcrops are exposed only along the coastal cliffs and offshore reefs. The seamless landseabed digital elevation model produced from the lidar survey revealed significant bedrock outcrop offshore where ocean currents have removed the glacial till, a significant finding that was hitherto hidden under the sea surface. Several reefs were identified offshore as well as a major fold structure where block faulting occurs along the limbs of the fold. The extension of the Malagash Mine Fault located ~10 km west of Cape John is proposed to explain the local folding and faulting visible in the submerged outcrops. The extension of this fault is partially visible on land, where it is obscured by glacial till, and its presence is supported by the orientation of submerged bedding and lineaments on both the south and north sides of Cape John. This paper demonstrates how near-shore high-resolution topography from bathymetric lidar can be used to enhance and refine geological mapping.
Elkanah Billings is an important, historical example of a 19th century Ontario lawyer who made a contribution to Canadian life by engaging in a pursuit outside the practice of law. An accomplished autodidact (i.e. a self-taught expert) and renowned as the father of Canadian paleontology, Billings has the distinction of being claimed by the global paleontological and geological professional communities, and by the Ontario legal profession. Although some researchers have alleged that Billings had abused alcohol during his life, he nonetheless managed to establish a remarkable career as a paleontologist. He applied the researching, analytical, and argumentative skills that he had acquired during his years of training and practice as a lawyer to the science of paleontology enabling him to peel back the layers of time to reveal the ancient life of the past. In view of his strengths, weaknesses, and professional accomplishments, the example of Billings' history potentially becomes increasingly relevant in the effort to reinforce the importance of ethics and professional responsibility among earth science and evolutionary biology professionals and to promote a shared sense of professional community and heritage. The example of Billings' history also presents a golden opportunity for the synthesist to nurture a closer connection between the law and science in the form of interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary dialogue and collaboration.