Abstract

A multichannel, 24-fold seismic profile crossing the Bahama Escarpment south of San Salvador is tied stratigraphically to Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 99 and dredge hauls on the eroded platform slopes in the Bahamas. We conclude from the study that (1) a deep-water sequence crops out in Exuma Canyon west of the Bahama Escarpment between 2,600 and 3,800 m; it includes Valanginian through Cenomanian chalk and limestone presumably deposited in a re-entrant between the platforms; (2) beneath these carbonates the seismic data indicate a possible reef structure at 5,700 m and prograding clinoforms suggestive of rapidly deposited rift(?) sediments below 6,500 m; (3) the Bahama Escarpment, like the Blake Escarpment, is an erosional slope exposing Jurassic(?) to Early Cretaceous back-reef limestones; geometry indicates an erosional retreat of ca. 5 km of the base of the escarpment since Early Cretaceous time; (4) major faults may separate the re-entrant sequence from the ridge forming the escarpment and may also define Exuma Canyon and the escarpment itself.

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