ABSTRACT

We evaluate Cretaceous depositional sequences on approximately 4400 km (∼2700 mi) of newly released multichannel seismic profiles and five wells on the continental shelf in the southern Baltimore Canyon trough and tie the data to three wells drilled onshore in the Maryland coastal plain. Seismic geometries coupled with facies and biostratigraphy from the wells are used to delineate mid-Cretaceous (Aptian–Turonian) depositional sequences and paleogeography. Beneath these sequences, 400–1000 m (1300–3300 ft) of Lower Cretaceous sedimentary rocks underlie the modern shelf. They thicken along strike to the southwest, implying a southern sediment source. Aptian to Cenomanian sediments were deposited in shelf to nearshore settings. A landward movement of the depocenter and a shift toward facies indicative of deeper paleodepths marks a 107-yr mid-Cretaceous transgression, within which we identify five sequences. A composite maximum flooding surface (MFS) within the uppermost of these retrogradational units is associated with the Cenomanian–Turonian boundary and ocean anoxic event 2. Shingled, lower Turonian seismic reflections prograde across the outer shelf, downlapping onto the composite MFS, and are truncated by a mid-Turonian sequence boundary. The Upper Cretaceous section thickens seaward and along strike to the northeast, implying a northern source and little Late Cretaceous accommodation beneath the modern shelf. Mid-Cretaceous strata offshore Maryland are likely sand-prone, considering their proximity to the correlative fluvial facies of the onshore Potomac Group. These potential reservoir sands are capped by regional confining units generated by 107-yr global mean sea-level flooding events and are excellent targets for supercritical carbon storage.

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