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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 63 (1979)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 492

Last Page: 492

Title: Determination of Storm Overwash Periodicity from Stratigraphic Relations in Delaware Coastal Barriers: ABSTRACT

Author(s): Evelyn M. Maurmeyer, Chacko J. John, John C. Kraft

Article Type: Meeting abstract


Atlantic coastal barriers of Delaware are characterized by relatively thick (> 1 m) sandy washover units interbedded with thin silts and clays. The coarse-grained sediments represent overwash deposition during storm conditions, and are separated by lagoonal and marsh muds deposited during quiescent periods between storms. Washover deposits consist of fine-grained to coarse-grained, moderately sorted, negatively skewed sands. Internal sedimentary structures, consisting of lower units of small- and large-scale trough cross-bedded laminations and upper units of slightly landward-dipping parallel laminae, reflect the transition from lower to upper flow regime as storm intensity peaked. The fine-grained materials represent lagoonal and back-barrier marsh deposition, and con ist of silts and clays containing characteristic faunal and floral components. The sand unit forms a sharp contact with underlying muds, whereas the upper boundary is a gradational sand-to-mud contact as back-barrier marsh deposition reestablished on the washover-fan surface. Thickness and lateral extent of washover deposits vary depending on magnitude of wave parameters and storm tide. Large fans may extend as far as 1 km landward, and exceed 1 m in thickness. Radiometric dating of organic material in marsh and lagoon deposits permits establishment of up to four major depositional events during the past 2,700 years. Back-barrier marsh mud sequences suggest a time of stability and low storm periodicity, whereas the greater part of the barrier washover sequences suggests a higher frequenc of major storm overwash and upbuilding of the back barrier. Thus, storm-overwash periodicity may be the major determinant in establishment of lateral facies interrelations between coastal-barrier and lagoonal sequences in the stratigraphic record.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists