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Seismic-reflection surveys of the Chesapeake Bay, combined with geologic mapping and analysis of boreholes on the Delmarva Peninsula, provide evidence of at least three generations of the Susquehanna River system and three generations of the Chesapeake Bay. The evidence for ancient courses of the Susquehanna River is preserved as three distinct paleochannels, and evidence for ancient versions of the Chesapeake Bay is preserved as three sets of paleochannel fill beneath the bay and three generations of barrier-spit deposits on the southern Delmarva Peninsula. The paleochannels represent relative sea-level minima and the channel-fill and barrier-spit deposits represents relative sea-level maxima. A history of three major marine transgressions is recorded in the stratigraphy preserved in the filled paleochannels and in the overlying barrier-spit complexes: three systematic progressions from fluvial to estuarine to bay or nearshore marine environments. This sea-level record seems to be compatible with the saw-toothed pattern of the marine oxygen-isotope record and with the concept of glacial-interglacial terminations. It also seems to have a climax character in which most of the preserved evidence is related to the largest terminations and to the extreme sea-level positions that bound those terminations. The three paleochannel-fill and barrier-spit complexes appear to correspond to oxygen-isotope stages 1,5, and either 7 or 11; the three related paleochannels correspond to stages 2, 6, and either 8 or 12. ?? 1988.
Additional Publication Details
The record of major quaternary sea-level changes in a large coastal plain estuary, Chesapeake Bay, Eastern United States