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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 64 (1980)

Issue: 3. (March)

First Page: 339

Last Page: 358

Title: Structure, Stratigraphy, and Geologic History of Florida-Hatteras Shelf and Inner Blake Plateau

Author(s): Charles K. Paull, William P. Dillon (2)


This study of the structure and stratigraphy of the Florida-Hatteras Shelf and inner Blake Plateau is based on 4,780 km of single-channel air-gun seismic reflection profiles and correlation with data from offshore wells and dredge hauls. Regional unconformities at the tops of the Albian, Santonian, Maestrichtian, Paleocene, and Oligocene units as well as one between Turonian and the Santonian have been mapped.

Two styles of sedimentary accumulation have been active: (1) platform upbuilding and (2) platform outbuilding or progradation of the shelf. In post-Albian time, the area became a marine province, and sediment accumulated on a level platform. During the Santonian-Coniacian a shelf prograded seaward across this platform, but during the Campanian, Maestrichtian, and Paleocene, deposition on a level plateau resumed. There is no evidence to indicate that a feature similar to the present Florida-Hatteras Slope existed prior to the Eocene. Paleocene strata are deeply eroded in the subsurface, and this erosion may mark the initial appearance of the Gulf Stream in this region. During the Eocene and Oligocene, another wedge of shelf sediments prograded across the plateau but was interrupted at he end of the Oligocene by erosion. A progradational wedge of Miocene to Holocene age covers the unconformity at the base of the Miocene. The accumulation of post-Paleocene sediment at the foot of the Florida-Hatteras Slope and seaward on the Blake Plateau has been very slow, owing in part to a reduction in sediment supply as well as to erosion by the modern Gulf Stream.

Tertiary isopach maps suggest that there is a triangular depocenter under the Florida-Georgia Shelf. The margins of the depocenter coincide with magnetic anomalies, and we suggest that the basin is related to differential subsidence across older crustal structures during the Tertiary.

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