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Surficial geologic mapping indicates that the southern half of the Bahamas Archipelago is forming by the accretion of discrete depositional sequences resulting from successive eustatic sea level changes: (1) multiple beach and dune ridges, (2) estuarine, (3) lacustrine, (4) shallow subtidal, (5) reef and reef rubble, and (6) megadune complexes. The lithologies are accreted along unconformable erosional-solutional contacts--marine terraces and subaerial caliche crusts. During periods of significant transgression, sequences 1-5 are accreted. Sediments are predominantly skeletal and peloid. During periods of significant regression, megadune complexes are accreted. Ooids are the dominant sediment.
Erosional-solutional features reflect areas of subaerial exposure and/or coastline erosion. Terraces at 10, 20, and 40 ft elevations are preserved along arid eastern Great Inagua Island. The calichification of Bahamian Quaternary carbonates has concentrated insoluble residues (quartz, feldspar, heavy minerals, crandallite, micrometeorites). Insoluble residue analysis provides a basis for the correlation of accreted eustatic sedimentary sequences.
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