The conceptual revolutions of sea-floor spreading and plate tectonics between 1961 and 1968 (Dietz, 1961; Hess, 1962; Vine and Matthews, 1963; Wilson, 1965; McKenzie and Parker, 1967; Heirtzler and others, 1968; Le Pichon, 1968; Morgan, 1968; Isacks and others, 1968) led quickly to new models for continental margin evolution starting with an initial rifting phase (Dewey and Bird, 1970). The separation of Africa and North America in the post-Triassic to form the central North Atlantic Ocean and its adjacent rifted continental margins was soon considered the type example of this tectonic process (Dewey and Bird, 1970; Le Pichon and Fox, 1971; Pitman and Talwani, 1972; Le Pichon and Sibuet, 1981; Sclater and others, 1977; Klitgord and others, Chapter 3).
During the last two decades, the collection of marine multi- channel seismic reflection data and the completion of deep drill holes for both scientific and commercial exploration have greatly increased our understanding of the U.S. Atlantic Continental Margin and passive or Atlantic-type continental margins in general (Bally, 1981).Early single-channel seismic reflection systems were capable of penetrating 1 to 2 km of sediments in the deep basins and the continental rise (i.e., water depths greater than 3,000 m), but were not capable of penetrating beneath the continental shelf and slope where water-bottom multiples severely contaminate the subbottom reflectors (Emery and others, 1970). Proprietary multichannel seismic reflection profiles were collected on the U.S.Atlantic Continental Margin in the late 1960's by the petroleum industry, and although never formally published, interpretations of the margin structure
Figures & Tables
The Atlantic Continental Margin
This synthesis covers stratigraphy, depositional processes, and geophysical interpretation of the major onshore and offshore marginal basins from Maine to the Bahamas, and includes an up-to-date review of thinking on regional tectonic history. Additional chapters discuss the theoretical aspects of thermal evolution, subsidence, and seismic stratigraphy as applied to this region. Geological resources including petroleum, water, sand and gravel, hard minerals, and heat flow are reviewed, and environmental hazards such as seismicity, coastal erosion, waste disposal and submarine instability as it relates to site of drilling platforms and mining are evaluated. A summary chapter reviews areas of controversy and suggests key topics for research.