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Shallow marine strata of the Devonian delta complex range from lower delta plain with some marine influence to lagoon, barrier island, shallow shelf, shelf margin, and gentle or steep slope, progressing seaward to deep-water deposits of black shales and some pelagic limestones. Shallow marine depositional history and lithofacies at any one place vary through time depending on: (1) tectonic uplift of source area and rate of erosion, (2) subsidence of the major basin, (3) sea-level changes, (4) localized basement tectonics, (5) random shifts of delta distributaries, (6) extent of delta progradation across the basin, (7) tidal amplitude, (8) longshore drift, and (9) intensity of mass wastage of the delta front.

Deposition of prodelta muds immediately above the Oriskany Sandstone and Wallbridge Discontinuity began the history of the Catskill Delta complex. The initiation of prodelta siltstones shifted southward from New York in the Cazenovia Age to Tennessee in the Bradford Age. Maximum delta lobe progradation occurred simultaneously in all delta lobes in the mid-Bradford Age. The location with maximum detrital accumulation rate in eastern outcrop belts shifted southward from New York in the Middle Devonian to west-central Virginia in the very late Devonian, to southwestern Virginia at the beginning of the Mississippian. The area uplifted east of New York appears to have been reduced from the dominant sediment-input center as the locus of Acadian maximum uplift progressed southward.

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