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Abstract

There have been numerous conflicting interpretations of the stratigraphy and age of the Castle Hayne Limestone since it was first formally described by Miller (1912). Recent interest in these Eocene carbonates was precipitated by nearly simultaneous, but very different stratigraphic revisions proposed by Baum et al. (1978c) and Ward et al. (1978) (Figure 1). Subsequent studies by Baum et al. (1979), Worsley and Turco (1979), Zullo and Baum (1979, 1980), Harris and Zullo (1980), Kier (1980), Ward and Blackwelder (1980), Baum (1981), Otte (1981), Jones (1983), Berggren and Aubry (1984), Hazel et al. (1984), Zullo (1984), and Harris et al. (1984) addressed more specific issues of paleontology, biostratigraphy, ehronostratigraphy, and petrology, and some were directed toward a substantiation of one of the 1978 stratigraphic revisions.

Kier (1980) in his monograph of Eocene echinoids of the Carolinas, provided the first indication that neither of the 1978 stratigraphic revisions truly reflected the lithostratigraphic complexities encompassed by the varied carbonate facies grouped in the Castle Hayne Limestone. Kier established a sequence of three Informal assemblage zones (”early,” ”middle” and ”late”) that strongly suggested that the assignment of Eocene carbonates to either the scheme of Ward et al. (1978) or Baum et al. (1980) was in error. Although the significance of Kier’s new data was initially recognized by Baum et al. (1979), and is partially reflected in the correlation chart proposed by Harris and Zullo (1980), it has only been through the application of sequence-stratigraphic concepts to the Castle Hayne that a coherent stratigraphic

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