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Abstract

The cliffs along the Potomac River at Stratford Hall display extensive exposures of Miocene marine strata that belong successively to the Calvert, Choptank, St. Marys, and Eastover Formations. Within the lower part of this sequence, in the Calvert and Choptank Formations, there is well-developed cyclic stratigraphy. Above the Miocene units lies the marginal marine to deltaic Pleistocene Bacons Castle Formation, which is the highest and youngest formation exposed in the cliffs. The goals of this field trip guide are to (1) show the Miocene formations exposed in the cliffs and discuss the paleoenvironments within which they formed, (2) demonstrate the cyclicity in the Miocene marine formations and discuss its origin, (3) compare and contrast the section exposed at the Stratford and Nomini Cliffs with the classic Miocene Calvert Cliffs sequence exposed to the northeast in Calvert County, Maryland, and the Miocene sequence recovered in the Haynesville cores to the southeast in Richmond County, Virginia, (4) discuss and explain why a detailed correlation among these three places has been so difficult to attain, and (5) show typical lithologies of the Bacons Castle Formation and discuss the paleoenvironments in which they formed.

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