Late Cenozoic sedimentation from four varied sites on the continental slopes off southeastern Canada has been analysed using high-resolution airgun multichannel seismic profiles, supplemented with some single channel data. Biostratigraphic ties are available to exploratory wells at three of the sites. Uniform, slow accumulation of hemipelagic sediments was locally terminated by the late Miocene sea-level lowering, which is also reflected in changes in foraminiferan faunas on the continental shelf. Data are very limited for the early Pliocene but suggest a return to slow hemipelagic sedimentation. At the beginning of the late Pliocene, there was a change in sedimentation style marked by a several-fold increase in accumulation rates and cutting of slope valleys. This late Pliocene cutting of slope valleys corresponds to the onset of late Cenozoic growth of the Laurentian Fan and the initiation of turbidite sedimentation on the Sohm Abyssal Plain. Although it corresponds to a time of sea-level lowering, the contrast with the late Miocene lowstand indicates that there must also have been a change in sediment delivery to the coastline, perhaps as a result of increased rainfall or development of valley glaciers. High sedimentation rates continued into the early Pleistocene, but the extent of slope dissection by gullies increased. Gully-cutting episodes alternated with sediment-draping episodes. Throughout the southeastern Canadian continental margin, there was a change in sedimentation style in the middle Pleistocene that resulted from extensive ice sheets crossing the continental shelf and delivering coarse sediment directly to the continental slope. ?? 1989.
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Late Cenozoic sea-level changes and the onset of glaciation: impact on continental slope progradation off eastern Canada