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Sediments and geomorphology of the continental shelf off southern New England

Marine Geology
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0025-3227(66)90046-6
  • Earth Science


Abstract The sediments and geomorphology of a portion of the northeastern continental shelf of the United States between Hudson Canyon and Georges Bank have been investigated. Wave-cut terraces at 13, 45, 65, and 80 fathoms indicate four former low sea levels, while concentrations of beach ridges around 35 fathoms reveal a fifth. The pre-Holocene drainage pattern, still exposed over part of the area, shows that Block Channel was the main stream of a system which drained most of southern New England. A large delta at the mouth of this channel near the edge of the shelf attests to the volume of sediments transported by the stream. The surface sediments on the western part of the shelf are Late Pleistocene fluvial deposits which were reworked by the Holocene transgression. Overlying these coarse deposits in the central part of the outer shelf is a sandy silt facies which is also relict. The youngest facies, and the only area of present deposition, is in the northeastern part of the shelf where sand which is eroded from Nantucket Shoals is being deposited on the shelf. An eastward directed coastal drift is indicated during certain lower sea level stages.

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