Seismic imaging and crustal architecture across the Lachan Transverse Zone, a possible early cross-cutting feature of Eastern Australia

D. M. Finlayson*, R. J. Korsch, R. A. Glen, J. H. Leven, D. W. Johnstone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


A 2-D crustal velocity model has been derived from a 1997 364 km north-south wide-angle seismic profile that passed from Ordovician volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks (Molong Volcanic Belt of the Macquarie Arc) in the north, across the Lachlan Transverse Zone into Ordovician turbidities and Early Devonian intrusive granitoids in the south. The Lachlan Transverse Zone is a proposed west-northwest to east-southeast structural feature in the Eastern Lachlan Orogen and is considered to be a possible early lithospheric feature controlling structural evolution in eastern Australia; its true nature, however, is still contentious. The velocity model highlights significant north to south lateral variations in subsurface crustal architecture in the upper and middle crust. In particular, a higher P-wave velocity (6.24-6.32 km/s) layer identified as metamorphosed arc rocks (sensu lato) in the upper crust under the arc at 5-15 km depth is juxtaposed against Ordovician craton-derived turbidites by an inferred south-dipping fault that marks the southern boundary of the Lachlan Transverse Zone. Near-surface P-wave velocities in the Lachlan Transverse Zone are markedly less than those along other parts of the profile and some of these may be attributed to mid-Miocene volcanic centres. In the middle and lower crust there are poorly defined velocity features that we infer to be related to the Lachlan Transverse Zone. The Moho depth increases from 37 km in the north to 47 km in the south, above an underlying upper mantle with a P-wave velocity of 8.19 km/s. Comparison with velocity layers in the Proterozoic Broken Hill Block supports the inferred presence of Cambrian oceanic mafic volcanics (or an accreted mafic volcanic terrane) as substrate to this part of the Eastern Lachlan Orogen. Overall, the seismic data indicate significant differences in crustal architecture between the northern and southern parts of the profile. The crustal-scale P-wave velocity differences are attributed to the different early crustal evolution processes north and south of the Lachlan Transverse Zone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-321
Number of pages11
JournalAustralian Journal of Earth Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Eastern Lachlan orogen
  • Lachlan transverse zone
  • P-waves
  • Seismic profiles


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