ABSTRACT

Seismic reflection profiles from the Straits of Florida, Northwest Providence Channel, Tongue of the Ocean, and Exuma Sound reveal a seismic stratigraphy characterized by a series of prograding Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary seismic sequences with seismic velocities generally less than 4 km/sec overlying a Lower Cretaceous section of low-amplitude reflections which are more nearly horizontal than the overlying prograding clinoforms and have seismic velocities greater than 5 km/sec. The prograding units are detrital shallow-water carbonates shed from nearby carbonate banks into deep intrabank basins that were established in the Late Cretaceous. The Lower Cretaceous units are probably shallow-water carbonate banks that were drowned in the middle Cretaceous but which, during the Early Cretaceous, extended from Florida throughout the Bahamas region.

The seismic reflection profiles reveal a sharp angular unconformity at 5-sec two-way traveltime in northwest Tongue of the Ocean, suggesting a rift-drift unconformity and deposition on thinned continental crust. No such unconformity is seen in central and southeast Tongue of the Ocean or in Exuma Sound, suggesting that these areas are built on oceanic crust.

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