We have identified and dated a major Miocene erosional surface (M1) on the New Jersey continental slope. This surface was penetrated at Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) Site 612, which was drilled near the thalweg of a buried V-shaped canyon. Biostratigraphic data at Site 612 firmly constrain the age of strata above the buried canyon surface as Zones CN7 (=NN9) and N16 (lowermost upper Miocene); the upper Miocene surface at Site 612 lies above lowermost Oligocene strata because of coalesced unconformities. We traced the M1 erosional surface to the COST B-3 well where upper middle Miocene strata underlie it. Biostratigraphic studies of other New Jersey continental slope boreholes (ASP 14, ASP 15) suggest that elsewhere the sediments immediately below the M1 surface encompass the Globorotalia fohsi robusta Zone (= Zone N12-earliest N13; middle middle Miocene). The best age estimate is that M1 was eroded between 11.5 and 10.0 Ma. This erosional event apparently correlates with a similar event on the Irish and Florida continental margins and with oxygen-isotope evidence for a glacio-eustatic lowering.

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