Title page for ETD etd-62697-223539

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Peavy, Samuel Thomas
Author's Email Address peavy@vtvm1.cc.vt.edu
URN etd-62697-223539
Title An Integrated Geophysical Study of the Central Appalachians of Western Virginia and Eastern West Virginia
Degree PhD
Department Geological Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Glover, Lynn III
Law, Richard D.
Robinson, Edwin S.
Coruh, Cahit Committee Chair
Costain, John K. Committee Co-Chair
  • Geophysics
  • Reflection Seismology
  • Gravity
  • Central Appalachians
Date of Defense 1997-07-18
Availability unrestricted
Over 700 km of industry seismic reflection data in the central Appalachians were reprocessed using both conventional and newly developed processing schemes. A new processing sequence, called dip projection, is introduced. The technique projects crooked-line processed CMPs onto a straight line oriented in the general dip direction for the area. The new stacked sections more closely approximate a dip line and hence are more migration-friendly and interpretable than the crooked-line stacks. Methods of determining the lateral continuity of subsurface density contrasts were also applied to gravity data from the study area. Known collectively as potential field attributes, the analytic signal, the tilt angle, and the gradient of the tilt angle (the potential field wavenumber ) proved valuable in the analysis of the gravity data.

Comparison of reflection seismic data from the southern and central Appalachians revealed a dichotomy of seismic reflectivity from east to west. A highly reflective crust beneath the Piedmont in both the central and southern Appalachians contrasts with a general lack of reflectivity beneath the Blue Ridge and Valley and Ridge provinces where coherent reflections are restricted to the upper 3-4 seconds of the data. This difference in reflectivity is interpreted as a fundamental difference in the location and orientation of preexisting zones of weakness between the different crustal regions with respect to the tectonic events affecting the Appalachians since the early Paleozoic.

The combination of the results of new methods of seismic and potential fields processing with deep well and geologic information allowed the lateral continuity of two major structures in the central Appalachians to be examined. The Blue Ridge in Virginia was found to overly a duplex of Cambrian-Ordovician carbonates formed in response to stresses during the Alleghanian Orogeny. A large thrust sheet of similar carbonate rocks was interpreted beneath the Nittany Anticlinorium in West Virginia. To the south in Virginia, this thrust sheet is replaced by imbrication of the carbonate package. The change in structural style may be related to the existence of a lateral ramp or it may reflect the overall change in structural style from the central to southern Appalachians.

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