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Climatic-Eustatic Control Of Holocene Nearshore Parasequence Development, Southeastern Texas Coast
Robert A. Morton (1), Jack L. Kindinger (1), James G. Flocks (1), and Laura B. Stewart (2)
(1) U.S. Geological Survey, Center for Coastal Geology, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(2) Texaco Exploration and Production, Midland, TX 79702
Sediment cores, seismic profiles, radiocarbon dates, and faunal assemblages were used to interpret the depositional setting and geological evolution of the southeastern Texas coast during the last glacio-eustatic cycle. Discrete lithofacies and biofacies zones in the ebb-dominated Sabine Lake estuary and adjacent chenier plain record alternating periods of rapid marine flooding and gradual shoaling related to linked climatic/eustatic fluctuations. Monospecific zones of the mollusks Rangia cuneata and Crassostrea virginica, respectively, indicate high fresh water outflow followed by invasion of marine water, whereas intervening organic-rich zones record bayhead delta deposition.
High-frequency parasequence stacking patterns within the valley fill and across the adjacent interfluve reflect an initial rapid rise in sea level about 9 ka that flooded abandoned alluvial terraces and caused onlap of Holocene marsh in the incised valley. The rapid rise was followed by slowly rising and oscillating sea level that filled the deepest portions of the incised valleys with fluvially dominated estuarine deposits, and then a maximum highstand (+1 m msl) about 5 ka that flooded the former subaerial coastal plain between the incised valleys and constructed the highest beach ridges. Between 3.5 and 1.5 ka, sea level oscillated and gradually fell, causing a forced regression and rapid progradation of both the chenier plain and accretionary barrier islands. The only significant sands in the valley fill are (1) falling-stage and lowstand-fluvial sediments between the basal sequence boundary and transgressive surface unconformity, and (2) highstand beach-ridge sediments of the chenier plain.
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