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Foraminiferal Biostratigraphy and Paleoenvironments of the Pleistocene Lagniappe Delta and Related Section, Northeastern Gulf of Mexico

By
Barry Kohl
Barry Kohl
Department of Earth and environmental Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 70118, U.S.A.
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Richard H. Fillon
Richard H. Fillon
Earth Studies Associates, 3730 Rue Nichole, New Orleans, Louisiana 70131, U.S.A
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Harry H. Roberts
Harry H. Roberts
Coastal Studies Institute, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70803 U.S.A.
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Published:
January 01, 2004

ABSTRACT

The Lagniappe Delta was formed during the Wisconsinan glacial within oxygen isotope stages 2–4. In a study of fossil foraminiferal assemblages from four coreholes penetrating the Lagniappe Delta and related older section, we interpret paleobathymetric zones (inner neritic to upper bathyal) and paleo–water depths within the delta complex. The similarity of fossil assemblages to those of the Recent allows us to use the Mississippi River Delta as a modern analogue. We recognize five of the six modern Mississippi River Delta subenvironments, including fluvial, interdistributary bay, fluvial–marine, deltaic–marine, and sound. A marsh subenvironment was not present.

Calcareous-bank faunas (CBFs) are also abundant in several of the coreholes. CBF foraminiferal taxa, which require warm, clear, shallow water, occur not only in interstadials but also in a prograding clinoform interval in the Main Pass 288 corehole, correlated to the last glacial (isotope stage 2). This apparent paradox is explained by lowered sea level and bathing of the narrow shelf edge by a warm marine current, possibly a proto–Loop Current during parts of the late Pleistocene. The fact that living CBFs do not now occur in modern sediments of the northern Gulf of Mexico supports our thesis that minimum temperatures on the present continental shelf are lower than those of the late Pleistocene–early Holocene. Deep-water occurrences of living CBFs from the northern Gulf of Mexico, cited in published reports, are shown to be relict faunas associated with Pleistocene hardgrounds, calcareous banks, or carbonate pinnacles. The physical parameters controlling the occurrence of living CBFs in the Gulf of Mexico are consistent with those controlling their worldwide distribution.

Foraminifera are used, herein, to recognize unconformities through abrupt vertical changes in the benthic paleoenvironment, sharp variations in temperature-sensitive planktonic species, changes in preservation of benthic foraminiferal tests (non-abraded vs. abraded), and abrupt termination of age-constrained planktonic foraminifera.

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SEPM Special Publication

Late Quaternary Stratigraphic Evolution of the Northern Gulf of Mexico Margin

John B. Anderson
John B. Anderson
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Richard H. Fillon
Richard H. Fillon
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SEPM Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
79
ISBN electronic:
9781565762152
Publication date:
January 01, 2004

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