Late Quaternary geology of the Texas coastal plain
Modem depositional environments prominently displayed along the northwestern Gulf of Mexico served as the first widely accepted sedimentary facies models that have successfully guided exploration and production of a variety of energy and nonfuel resources (petroleum, lignite, uranium, geothermal energy, construction aggregate, ground water). Because these industrial activities both required and provided a tremendous data base, the depositional environments of the gulf coast are among the best known anywhere. The following sections of the guidebook describe selected geological features that typify late Pleistocene and Holocene sediments of the Texas coastal plain and illustrate the diversity of associated depositional environments. The described sites represent a spectrum of transgressive and regressive sequences coexisting along a microtidal storm-dominated coast undergoing a significant reduction in sediment supply and a slight sea-level rise. Late Quarternary history. The Texas coastal plain is a broad, flat, depositional surface created by several rivers that eroded large volumes of sediment from remote areas of the state and adjacent mountainous regions and deposited the sediment as coalescing deltas in the Gulf of Mexico (Barton, 1930, Doering, 1935; Winker, 1979). It extends eastward and merges with the coastal plain of Louisiana, which has a similar morphology but a slightly different origin. Rather than being formed by several rivers and deltas of moderate size as was the Texas coast, the Louisiana coastal plain was mostly deposited by two large alluvial systems (Mississippi and Red rivers) that drained much of the continental interior.
Like present-day rivers, the load and discharge of these late