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Modern sediments and facies model for a microtidal coastal plain estuary, the James Estuary, Virginia

Maynard M. Nichols, Gerald H. Johnson and Pamela C. Peebles
Modern sediments and facies model for a microtidal coastal plain estuary, the James Estuary, Virginia
Journal of Sedimentary Petrology (November 1991) 61 (6): 883-899

Abstract

Modern sediments of the James River estuary have been studied to characterize the lithofacies and to relate the facies pattern to estuary morphology and the energy regime. The estuary was formed by Holocene drowning of a river valley incised in Cenozoic coastal plain deposits. Morphologic analysis of sinuosity, width-depth ratios, and convergence characteristics reveals three compartments: 1) bay-mouth, 2) estuary funnel and 3) meander zone. Each compartment exhibits a characteristic lithofacies reflecting different proportions of wave, tidal and fluvial energy. These lithofacies form a longitudinal tripartite pattern, i.e., sand-mud-sand, with coarse-grained sediment at the energetic ends of the system. The seaward facies boundary is transitional as a result of mixing fluvial and marine sediment. In contrast, the landward boundary is abrupt as a result of a rapid seaward decrease in the river flood bedload which is partly attenuated by the tide. The tripartite facies develop in a transgressive wedge filling the path of the pre-Holocene fluvial drainage. A model is proposed for recognizing the sequence of ancient transgressive estuarine facies. The sequence fines upward except at the mouth and reflects the seaward evolution of environments from fluvial to fluvial estuarine, estuarine and marine estuarine.


ISSN: 0022-4472
Coden: JSEPAK
Serial Title: Journal of Sedimentary Petrology
Serial Volume: 61
Serial Issue: 6
Title: Modern sediments and facies model for a microtidal coastal plain estuary, the James Estuary, Virginia
Affiliation: Va. Inst. Mar. Sci., Sch. Mar. Sci., Gloucester Point, VA, United States
Pages: 883-899
Published: 199111
Text Language: English
Publisher: Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists, Tulsa, OK, United States
References: 58
Accession Number: 1992-057433
Categories: Sedimentary petrology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. strat. col., chart, 4 tables, sketch map
N36°34'60" - N39°28'00", W83°34'60" - W75°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Coll. William and Mary, USA, United StatesVa. Dep. Transport., USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute.
Update Code: 1992
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