Grenville Foreland Deformation and Sedimentation in Southwest Ohio Indicated by Reprocessed Seismic Reflection Profiles near Middletown, Ohio, USA


  • David J. Peterman Wright State University
  • Ernest C. Hauser Wright State University
  • Doyle R. Watts Wright State University



Middle Run Formation, Grenville, seismic reflection, geophysics, tectonics


The late Mesoproterozoic to early Neoproterozoic Middle Run Formation contains vital information about the crustal evolution of the North American Craton. Four reprocessed seismic reflection lines in the vicinity of the AK Steel facility in Middletown, Ohio, provide new insights into the structural and depositional setting of the Middle Run Formation in this region. A residual statics solution improved the resolution and coherency of reflections in these profiles that underlie the Cambrian Mount Simon Sandstone. Reprocessing revealed gently inclined, west-southwest-dipping reflectors and the occurrence of an angular unconformity between the Middle Run Formation and the overlying Paleozoic strata. The weak and discontinuous seismic reflection character of the Middle Run Formation in these seismic lines overlies a sequence of stronger parallel reflections that are like those observed on the eastward ODNR-1-88 seismic line located near core hole DGS 2627, the stratotype of the Middle Run Formation. This inferred thickness indicates that the basin in which the Middle Run Formation was deposited ranges from at least 670 to 1,128 m (2,200 to 3,700 ft) deep at the AK Steel area and dips gently west-southwest, which is in contrast with the moderate easterly dip observed on the ODNR-1-88 seismic line to the northeast. Correlation of these features across the 10 km (approximately 6 mi) cross-strike gap between the AK Steel lines and the ODNR-1-88 seismic line suggests the presence of a reverse fault with approximately 792 m (2,600 ft) of estimated vertical displacement. A regional cross section—including the WSU 1990 seismic line eastward of the ODNR-1-88 line—exhibits a faulted west-verging asymmetric syncline in near proximity to the Grenville Front. This cross section also shows that deformation of the Middle Run Formation and the underlying layered sequence exhibits a consistent tectonic style of reverse faulting and folding that developed in response to Grenville Front tectonism.