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Generation of transgressive barrier island arcs along the Mississippi River delta plain and preservation of barrier shoreline facies in their retreat paths on the inner shelf is controlled by: (1) shoreface translation; (2) age of the transgression; and (3) the thickness of the barrier island arc sediment package. Barrier island arcs experience an average relative sea level rise of 0.50-1.00 cm yr-1 and shoreface retreat rates range from 5-15 m yr-1. Young barrier island arc sediment packages (Isles Dernieres) are thin and have experienced limited landward retreat of the shoreface. Older barrier island arcs (Chandeleur Islands) are thicker and have experienced significant landward movement of the shoreface because of the greater time available for retreat. If the transgressed barrier shoreline sediment package lies above the advancing ravinement surface, the entire sequence is truncated. A thin reworked sand sheet marks the shoreface retreat path. The base of the transgressive sediment package can lie below the ravinement surface in older barrier shorelines. In this setting, the superstructure of the barrier shoreline is truncated, leaving the basal portion of the transgressive sequence preserved on the inner shelf. A variety of transgressive stratigraphic sequences from sand sheets to truncated barrier islands to sand-filled tidal inlet scars have been identified by high resolution seismic profiling across the shoreface retreat paths of Mississippi delta barrier island arcs. One of these examples, the Isles Dernieres, represents a recently detached barrier island arc in the early stages of transgression. An older example, the Chandeleur Islands, represents a barrier island arc experiencing long-term shoreface retreat. This paper describes the stratigraphic character and preserved transgressive facies for the Isles Dernieres and Chandeleur Islands. ?? 1985.
Additional Publication Details
Barrier island arcs along abandoned Mississippi River deltas