Upper Cretaceous subsurface stratigraphy and structure of coastal Georgia and South Carolina

Professional Paper 1222




Upper Cretaceous subsurface stratigraphy and structure of coastal Georgia and South Carolina is based on the study of 24 wells along two transects, one extending across the seaward-dipping sedimentary basin termed the 'Southeast Georgia Embayment' northeastward to the crest of the Cape Fear Arch, and the other alined east-west, parallel to the basin axis and including the COST GE-l well on the Outer Continental Shelf. A new biostratigraphic analysis, using calcareous nannofossils, of the Fripp Island, S.C., well and reinterpretations of the Clubhouse Crossroads corehole 1, South Carolina, and other wells in South Carolina, Georgia, and northernmost Florida have made possible the comparison and reevaluation of stratigraphic interpretations of the region made by G. S. Gohn and others in 1978 and 1980 and by P. M. Brown and others in 1979. The present study indicates that within the Upper Cretaceous section the stratigraphic units formerly assigned a Cenomanian (Eaglefordian and Woodbinian) age are Coniacian (Austinian) and Turonian (Eaglefordian) in age. A previously described hiatus encompassing Coniacian and Turonian time is not present. More likely, a hiatus is probably present in the upper Turonian, and major gaps in the record are present within the Cenomanian and between the Upper Cretaceous and the pre-Cretaceous basement. After an erosional episode in Cenomanian time that affected the section beneath eastern Georgia and South Carolina, Upper Cretaceous marine clastic and carbonate rocks were deposited on a regionally subsiding margin that extended to the present Blake Escarpment. In contrast, during Cenozoic time, especially in the Eocene, subsidence and sedimentation rates were uneven across the margin. A thick progradational sequence of carbonate rocks accumulated in the Southeast Georgia Embayment and also built the present Continental Shelf, whereas farther offshore a much thinner layer of sediments was deposited on the Blake Plateau. There is no general agreement on the exact placement of the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary in Europe or the United States Western Interior, and the widespread Sciponoceras gracile ammonite zone represents an interval of equivocal age between accepted Cenomanian and Turonian strata. The extinction of the foraminifer genus Rotalipora took place within the Sciporwceras gracile zone; it is used here to identify the Cenomanian-Turonian boundary. Pollen zone IV (Complexiopollis-Atlantopollis assemblage zone) is an important and widespread biostratigraphic unit characterized by a distinctive spore and pollen flora. It is consistently associated with lower Turonian calcareous nannofossils on the Atlantic continental margin; these nannofossil assemblages are also present in pollen zone IV, in strata that encompass the Sciponoceras gracile zone and the lower part of the Mytiloides labiatus zone in the Gulf Coastal Plain at Dallas, Tex.

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USGS Numbered Series
Upper Cretaceous subsurface stratigraphy and structure of coastal Georgia and South Carolina
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Professional Paper
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U.S. G.P.O.,
33 p.