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Abstract

This chapter divides the Gulf Coastal Plain province into three major sectors: (1) the area west of the Mississippi embayment where sequences are fine-grained fluvial-deltaic and marginal marine facies; (2) the area east of the Mississippi embayment to peninsular Florida where sequences are chiefly fine-grained clastic fluvial, with relatively minor deltaic and marginal marine facies; and (3) peninsular Florida where sequences typically are brackish-water and nearshore-marine sand and calcareous facies. Also discussed are coastal plain tectonics and Quaternary vertebrate fossil localities. The Mississippi embayment is discussed elsewhere in this volume (Chapter 17, Autin and others).

The Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain of the United States extends from the Mexican border to the southern tip of Florida, a distance of about 2,350 km. The Pleistocene of the Gulf Coastal Plain is bounded inland by Neogene exposures, and seaward near the present coast by a narrow strip of Holocene sediments. Width of the Pleistocene plain varies from 60 to 140 km west of the Mississippi embayment, to 30 to 130 km east of the embayment. The entire Florida peninsula, with the possible exception of parts of the central highlands, is covered by a veneer of Pleistocene sediments. Surfaces of the Gulf Coastal Plain underlain by Pleistocene sediments are characterized by little relief and by seaward gradients of 0.2 to 3.0 m/km.

Near the present coast of Texas and western Louisiana, thickness of the Pleistocene section ranges from about 240 to 460 m, whereas under the northeastern segment of the Gulf Coastal Plain

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