Abstract

Deepening-upward paralic sequences present within a thicker record of shallowing- upward shelf and nonmarine sequences in Miocene siliciclastics of Maryland provide rare stratigraphic evidence for (1) coastal trapping of sediment during marine transgression, with simultaneous starvation on the open shelf (recorded by condensed skeletal lags), and (2) reciprocal switching of depositional and nondepositional conditions during regression. It follows that the regressive disconformities that define hemicyclic coastal sequences are not laterally continuous with the transgressive disconformities and condensed lags that define open-shelf hemicyclic sequences, although they are commonly depicted or assumed as such. Nor are these disconformities age correlative: marine-to-nonmarine correlations that assume lateral continuity of small-scale sequences (1 to 10 m thick; seismic parasequences) will err by as much as one-half cycle, restricting the applicability of models of punctuated aggradational cycles. The stratigraphic anatomy of parasequences is most comparable to reciprocal patterns inherent in hierarchically larger scale sequences in passive margins, where subaerial unconformities and submarine condensed intervals have recently been biostratigraphically verified as offset in age.

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