Foraminiferal assemblages in eight piston cores from West Flower Garden Bank at the edge of the Texas continental shelf contain a nearly complete record of late Quaternary paleoclimatic and geologic events. The faunas are divisible into three distinct successive biofacies on the basis of both planktonic and benthic foraminifers: the basal Inflata Facies accumulated in cool shallow waters during late Pleistocene glaciation; the middle Crassaformis Facies represents a deepening sea that had warming surface waters; the upper Cultrata Facies is characteristic of the Holocene outer-shelf environment. Sea level was at -73 m and -53 m at the end of deposition of the Inflata and Crassaformis Facies, respectively. The biostratigraphic events at West Flower Garden Bank can be accurately correlated with those recorded in the middle and inner shelf and in deep-sea cores. The sequence of late Quaternary sea level and paleotemperature changes in the northern Gulf of Mexico can thereby be reconstructed. Eventually, this knowledge can be integrated with similar data from the shelf edge in other parts of the world to help bridge the gap between the known Quaternary record of the deep sea and that of the continents. ?? 1976.
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Foraminiferal biostratigraphy of the shelf edge: a key to late Quaternary paleoenvironments