A synthesis of studies of sea-floor outcrops of the sedimentary wedge beneath the northeastern United States continental shelf and slope and a reassessment of coastal plain Mesozoic stratigraphy, particularly of the coastal margin, provide insight for estimating the oil and gas potential and provide geologic control for marine seismic investigations of the Atlantic continental margin.
The oldest strata known to crop out on the continental slope are late Campanian in age. The Cretaceous-Tertiary contact along the slope ranges from a water depth of 0.6 to 1.5 km south of Georges Bank to 1.8 km in Hudson Canyon. Few samples are available from Tertiary and Late Cretaceous outcrops along the slope.
Sediments of the Potomac Group, chiefly of Early Cretaceous age, constitute a major deltaic sequence in the emerged coastal plain. This thick sequence lies under coastal Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, southeastern New Jersey, and the adjacent continental shelf. Marine sands associated with this deltaic sequence may be present seaward under the outer continental shelf. South of the Norfolk arch, under coastal North Carolina, carbonate rocks interfinger with Lower Cretaceous clastic strata.
From all available data, Mesozoic correlations in coastal wells between coastal Virginia and Long Island have been revised. The Upper-Lower Cretaceous boundary is placed at the transition between Albian and Cenomanian floras. Potential hydrocarbon source beds are present along the coast in the subsurface sediments of Cretaceous age. Potential reservoir sandstones are abundant in this sequence.