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Abstract

In the Gulf of Mexico basin and contiguous areas the Late Cretaceous history is marked as a general time of oceanic high stand. The Late Cretaceous here begins with a short period, characterized over the northern margin, by basin fill. This interval was followed by major transgression, during which marine waters inundated the basin margins and eventually linked the Gulf of Mexico with the great epicontinental Western Interior Seaway. The following is a summary of these and the subsequent events that transpired during the Late Cretaceous in the Gulf of Mexico basin region.

Upper Cretaceous rocks form a virtually continuous blanket over the Gulf of Mexico basin. Overall, the inner edge of the northern outcrop parallels the deeply buried Paleozoic Ouachita orogenic belt. Conspicuous projecting features, such as the Rio Grande and Mississippi embayments, are situated on pronounced salients of the older Ouachita orogenic belt. At the updip pinch-out, the present-day outcrop pattern follows a trebly arcuate path (Fig. 1). The easternmost Gulfward-trending arc extends from Georgia westward, wrapping around the southwest end of the Appalachian trend across Alabama, and thence northward through Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky, to terminate at the head of the Mississippi embayment in southern Illinois. Because of local overlap by Tertiary deposits, the second and complementary outcrop arc is intermittent, but wraps around the Arkansas platform through Missouri and Arkansas, then trends westward and terminates north of Dallas, Texas. From this point a third outcrop arc trends first south, then southwestward across Texas, generally paralleling the

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