Seismic stratigraphic framework of the continental shelf offshore Delmarva, USA: implications for Mid-Atlantic Bight evolution since the Pliocene
Brothers, Laura L.
Foster, David S.
Pendleton, Elizabeth A.
Baldwin, Wayne E.
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KeywordN Atlantic; Shelf (morphology and stratigraphy); Quaternary stratigraphy; Paleochannels; Geophysics (seismic)
Understanding how past coastal systems have evolved is critical to predicting future coastal change. Using over 12,000 trackline kilometers of recently collected, co-located multi-channel boomer, sparker and chirp seismic reflection profile data integrated with previously collected borehole and vibracore data, we define the upper (< 115 m below mean lower low water) seismic stratigraphic framework offshore of the Delmarva Peninsula, USA. Twelve seismic units and 11 regionally extensive unconformities (U1-U11) were mapped over 5900 km2 of North America's Mid-Atlantic continental shelf. We interpret U3, U7, U9, U11 as transgressive ravinement surfaces, while U1,2,4,5,6,8,10 are subaerial unconformities illustrating distinct periods of lower sea-level. Based on areal distribution, stratigraphic relationships and dating results (Carbon 14 and amino acid racemization estimates) from earlier vibracore and borehole studies, we interpret the infilled channels as late Neogene and Quaternary courses of the Susquehanna, Potomac, Rappahannock, York, James rivers and tributaries, and a broad flood plain. These findings indicate that the region's geologic framework is more complex than previously thought and that Pleistocene paleochannels are abundant in the Mid-Atlantic. This study synthesizes and correlates the findings of other Atlantic Margin studies and establishes a large-scale Quaternary framework that enables more detailed stratigraphic analysis in the future. Such work has implications for inner continental shelf systems tract evolution, the relationship between antecedent geology and modern coastal systems, assessments of eustacy, glacial isostatic adjustment, and other processes and forcings that play a role in passive margin evolution.
© The Author(s), 2020. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. The definitive version was published in Brothers, L. L., Foster, D. S., Pendleton, E. A., & Baldwin, W. E. Seismic stratigraphic framework of the continental shelf offshore Delmarva, USA: implications for Mid-Atlantic Bight evolution since the Pliocene. Marine Geology, 428, : (2020)106287, doi:10.1016/j.margeo.2020.106287.
Suggested CitationBrothers, L. L., Foster, D. S., Pendleton, E. A., & Baldwin, W. E. (2020). Seismic stratigraphic framework of the continental shelf offshore Delmarva, USA: implications for Mid-Atlantic Bight evolution since the Pliocene. Marine Geology, 428, 106287.
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