A 3-D gravity model of the southern contact of the Sebago pluton, Maine

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Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences

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Department or Program


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The Sebago pluton is a two-mica granite that intruded the metasedimentary rocks of the Central Maine Terrane around 292 Ma. In recent years, geologists have raised an increasing number of questions related to the overall thickness of the Sebago pluton and the position of its subsurface contact with the underlying metasedimentary rocks. Past studies have shown the Sebago pluton to be a thin, 1-2 km thick, subhorizontal sheet dipping 3° to the northeast. This study examines anomalies in the Earth's gravitational field related to the southern portion of the Sebago pluton, specifically to determine the thickness of the pluton and to locate the subsurface contact between the pluton and the underlying metasedimentary rocks. A three-dimensional model shows the thickest portions of the pluton (~1.8 km) to occur at the bottom of a bowl hape along the southwestern contact. Moreover, the model shows the pluton to thin toward the northern and eastern regions of the study area, where the average thickness is less than 0.5 km. The pluton appears to extend southward below the cover of the metasedimentary rocks along the southwestern contact. Thus, contrary to previous models, the Sebago pluton is not a northeasterly dipping sheet of uniform thickness, but rather an arched sheet with an irregular thickness extending beneath the metasedimentary rocks along both its northern and southern contacts. Based on this new geometry, either the relationship of the pluton to the surrounding metamorphic zones must be modified, or the possibility must be considered that the Sebago pluton is actually a composite batholith, composed of a younger (Permian) granite to the north and an older (Carboniferous) granite to the south.


Original version is available from the publisher at: https://doi.org/10.1139/e98-010

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