Discontinuous Igneous Addition Along the Eastern North American Margin Beneath the East Coast Magnetic Anomaly

Collin C. Brandl, Lindsay L. Worthington, M. Beatrice Magnani, Donna J. Shillington, Thomas W. Luckie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Detailed models of crustal structure at volcanic passive margins offer insight into the role of magmatism and the distribution of igneous addition during continental rifting. The Eastern North American Margin (ENAM) is a volcanic passive margin that formed during the breakup of Pangea ∼200 Myr ago. The offshore, margin-parallel East Coast Magnetic Anomaly (ECMA) is thought to mark the locus of syn-rift magmatism. Previous widely spaced margin-perpendicular studies seismically imaged igneous addition as seaward dipping reflectors (SDRs) and high velocity lower crust (HVLC; >7.2 km/s) beneath the ECMA. Along-strike imaging is necessary to more accurately determine the distribution and volume of igneous addition during continental breakup. We use wide-angle, marine active-source seismic data from the 2014–2015 ENAM Community Seismic Experiment to determine crustal structure beneath a ∼370-km-long section of the ECMA. P-wave velocity models based on data from short-period ocean bottom seismometers reveal a ∼21-km-thick crust with laterally variable lower crust velocities ranging from 6.9 to 7.5 km/s. Sections with HVLC (>7.2 km/s) alternate with two ∼30-km-wide areas where the average velocities are less than 7.0 km/s. This variable structure indicates that HVLC is discontinuous along the margin, reflecting variable amounts of intrusion along-strike. Our results suggest that magmatism during rifting was segmented. The HVLC discontinuities roughly align with locations of Mid-Atlantic Ridge fracture zones, which may suggest that rift segmentation influenced later segmentation of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2023JB026459
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • active source tomography
  • continental rifting
  • passive margin
  • seismic refraction
  • traveltime tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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