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Early Miocene (Burdigalian) sequences in the shallow subbottom of the southeastern North Carolina a continental shelf are correlatable on a scale less than or equal to 105 years. Coeval sediments that occupy the same relative stratigraphic position within the enclosing sequence exhibit marked lateral variations, including changes of 3 to 4 orders of magnitude in the abundance of planktic foraminifers. These changes are the product of overprinting by localized paleoceanographic and diagenetic conditions which complicate the process of deciphering patterns of eustatic fluctuation.

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