Five sedimentary units and three erosional unconformities identified in high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles reveal the stratigraphic framework and Quaternary history of the inner continental shelf south of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Late Tertiary to early Pleistocene rivers eroded the pre-Mesozoic bedrock and the Upper Cretaceous to lower Tertiary coastal plain and continental shelf strata to form a lowland and cuesta having a north-facing escarpment. The lowland and landward flanks of the cuesta were modified by glaciers during Pleistocene time and subsequently were overlain by drift and end moraine deposits of the late Wisconsinan ice advance. During deglaciation, freshwater lakes formed between the retreating ice and end moraines. Prior to sea-level rise, the drift and older deposits were cut by streams flowing south and southwestward toward Block Island Sound. As sea level rose, postglacial valleys were partly filled by fluvial, freshwater-peat, estuarine and salt-marsh deposits. Transgressing seas eroded the sea floor, exposing bedrock and coastal plain outcrops, and deposited marine sediments. ?? 1983.
Additional publication details
Quaternary geology of the Rhode Island inner shelf