Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Expedition 313 continuously cored and logged latest Eocene to early-middle Miocene sequences at three sites (M27, M28, and M29) on the inner-middle continental shelf offshore New Jersey, providing an opportunity to evaluate the ages, global correlations, and significance of sequence boundaries. We provide a chronology for these sequences using integrated strontium isotopic stratigraphy and biostratigraphy (primarily calcareous nannoplankton, diatoms, and dinocysts [dinoflagellate cysts]). Despite challenges posed by shallow-water sediments, age resolution is typically ±0.5 m.y. and in many sequences is as good as ±0.25 m.y. Three Oligocene sequences were sampled at Site M27 on sequence bottomsets. Fifteen early to early-middle Miocene sequences were dated at Sites M27, M28, and M29 across clinothems in topsets, foresets (where the sequences are thickest), and bottomsets. A few sequences have coarse (∼1 m.y.) or little age constraint due to barren zones; we constrain the age estimates of these less well dated sequences by applying the principle of superposition, i.e., sediments above sequence boundaries in any site are younger than the sediments below the sequence boundaries at other sites. Our age control provides constraints on the timing of deposition in the clinothem; sequences on the topsets are generally the youngest in the clinothem, whereas the bottomsets generally are the oldest. The greatest amount of time is represented on foresets, although we have no evidence for a correlative conformity. Our chronology provides a baseline for regional and interregional correlations and sea-level reconstructions: (1) we correlate a major increase in sedimentation rate precisely with the timing of the middle Miocene climate changes associated with the development of a permanent East Antarctic Ice Sheet; and (2) the timing of sequence boundaries matches the deep-sea oxygen isotopic record, implicating glacioeustasy as a major driver for forming sequence boundaries.
Additional publication details
Chronology of Eocene-Miocene sequences on the New Jersey shallow shelf: implications for regional, interregional, and global correlations