ABSTRACT

Multifold and singlefold seismic data and indirect ties to industry wells and Deep Sea Drilling Program and Ocean Drilling Program sites are used to study the middle Cretaceous to Cenozoic history of the southern Straits of Florida. Since the late Albian(?), the southern Straits of Florida has evolved from a shallow-water platform to a deep-water trough. This evolution is related in part to late Albian(?)-middle Cenomanian drowning and segmentation of a shallow-water carbonate “megabank” which extended across the region. Since the Late Cretaceous, shallow-water deposition has continued around Cay Sal Bank and along the southern margin of the South Florida Basin, while deeper water deposition has persisted elsewhere.

Evolution of the Straits of Florida is also related to Late Cretaceous–middle Eocene convergence between the North American and Caribbean plates. Regional dip towards the Cuban fold-and-thrust belt suggests that the southern Straits of Florida is an extension of the north Cuban foreland basin. A paleo-Florida Current became active during the early Paleocene along the northern limb of this foreland basin. During this time, the southern Straits of Florida was still relatively shallow, and bottom currents persisted over most of the region. Rapid subsidence during the late Eocene caused a change in depositional regimes from current-dominated to predominantly pelagic/hemipelagic sedimentation. Since the late Eocene, the Florida Current has influenced deposition only in the shallower parts of the southern Straits of Florida.

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