Tracking Low Temperature Tectonism of the St. Lawrence Platform and Humber Zone, Southern Quebec Appalachians through Apatite and Zircon (U-Th)/He Thermochronology

Title: Tracking Low Temperature Tectonism of the St. Lawrence Platform and Humber Zone, Southern Quebec Appalachians through Apatite and Zircon (U-Th)/He Thermochronology
Authors: Emberley, Justin
Date: 2016
Abstract: The St. Lawrence Platform (SLP) and Humber Zone (HZ) of the southern Quebec Appalachians has historically been explored as a potential hydrocarbon reservoir. Extensive vitrinite reflectance studies on the basin resolved the degree of thermal maturation yet the timing of the thermal maximum is not well undertood. Determining the timing of such low temperature events can allow for a better understanding of the shallow crustal processes that may have allowed for the generation and entrapment of oil and gas. We have employed apatite (AHe) and zircon (ZHe) (U-Th)/He thermochronmetry across a network of late Cambrian to late Ordovician siliciclastic and Grenvillian basement samples in order to resolve the history within the ~210-35°C window. Single crustal dates from individual samples show age dispersion by as much as 300 m.y. with a strong positive to negative correlation with increasing eU concentration. A similar positive correlation can be observed when significant intra-sample grain size variation is present. AHe and ZHe data in the southwestern portion of the basin, near Montreal, allow for thermal maxima of up to 200°C to occur either during the late Ordovician, as a result of the Taconic orogeny, or from the continued sedimentation into the Devonian as a result of the Acadian orogeny. Regional burial trends deduced from these thermal maxima along with local paleo-geothermal gradients indicate that if sedimentation continued after the late Ordovician there was no significant increase in burial in southwestern portion of the SLP as previously suggested. Maximum heating is followed by a protracted cooling through the ZHe partial retention zone (PRZ) into the late Jurassic and early Cretaceous where the cooling rate increases by an order of magnitude through the AHe PRZ until ca. 100 Ma. The timing of this accelerated cooling is coeval with the passage of the Great Meteor Hot Spot across the area; the cooling may be a result of increased erosion from thermal uplift. Within the HZ, both the external and internal sections experienced rapid cooling through the Silurian after the Taconic thermal maximum. The timing of relatively rapid cooling coincides with documented normal faulting and back-thrusting in the orogen, which is the likely cause of exhumation. The HZ witnessed protracted cooling through the late Jurassic, when there is a one order of magnitude increase in cooling rate until surface conditions are attained. Increased recognition of these low temperature events has augmented our understanding of the evolution of accretionary orogens and consequently reduces the risks associated with oil and gas exploration.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -