Maps showing distribution of the Middle Cretaceous unconformity in the eastern Gulf of Mexico

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1984




Several theories on the origin of the Gulf of Mexico basin have been introduced by various researchers (Beloussov, 1970; Freeland and Dietz, 1971; Malfait and Dinkelman, 1972; Wood and Walper, 1974; Pilger, 1978; Buffler and others, 1980; Dickinson and Coney, 1980; Gose and others, 1980; Schmidt-Effing, 1980; Walper, 1980; Schlager and others, 1984). Although no final agreement has been reached, one prominent geologic feature is generally recognized. The early evolution of the basin ended with a major middle Cretaceous event resulting in a Gulf-wide unconformity referred to as the middle Cretaceous unconformity (MCU). This event represents a major shift from Early Cretaceous shallow-water bank sedimentation to Late Cretaceous deeper water carbonates (Worzel and others, 1973; Mitchum, 1978).

Seismic data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey and the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Galveston Geophysics Laboratory (UTMSI-GGL) were used to map the MCU and its relationship to the deep stratigraphy and structure of the eastern Gulf basin east of long 90° W. In addition, data from the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) in the southeastern Gulf and along the Campeche Escarpment and dredge samples collected by Schlager and others (1984) from the Florida Escarpment provide an age for the MCU (Cenomanian, 97 m. y. ) and a detailed lithological record.

This report emphasizes the salt diapirs, pillows, and ridges in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico because of the profound effect these geologic structures have on the MCU. Salt locations are shown on the isopach of post-MCU sediments (fig. 1). A second map shows pre-middle Cretaceous outcrops terminated by the MCU along the Florida Escarpment, the southeastern Gulf, and the Campeche Escarpment (fig. 2).

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Maps showing distribution of the Middle Cretaceous unconformity in the eastern Gulf of Mexico
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Plate: 57.15 x 39.94 inches
Other Geospatial:
Gulf of Mexico
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):