Abstract

Shoreline migration patterns can be described in terms of the shoreline trajectory, which is the shoreline path viewed along a cross-sectional depositional-dip section. Discrete classes of shoreline trajectories can be defined: accretionary and non-accretionary forced regression; normal regression; and accretionary and non-accretionary transgression. "Accretionary" implies that sediment supplied to the shoreline participates in determining the shoreline trajectory, whereas "non-accretionary" implies that existing topography dictates the trajectory. In the latter case, translation of the shoreline takes place without significant deposition. The directions of the shoreline trajectories and the above classes provide a basis for describing variable shoreline behavior for individual shoreline excursions, for stacked shoreline migration patterns, for systems tracts, and for depositional cycles. A non-accretionary forced regression takes place when little or no sediment is deposited at the shoreline as sea level falls. Accretionary forced regressions occur when sea-level fall is accompanied by coastal sediment accumulation. The architecture of accretionary forced regressions is controlled by the slopes of the alluvial and marine environments, and the shoreline trajectory. A regressive surface of marine erosion is most likely to be formed when the path of the shoreline converges with the fronting depositional foundation. During normal regression, the shoreline trajectory and the depositional foundation usually diverge, with accompanying deepening of water in front of the prograding shoreline. A non-accretionary transgression is defined as a transgression with a shoreline trajectory coinciding with the alluvial depositional surface at the onset of transgression. Accommodation may or may not be present at the landward side of the shoreline at the onset of transgression, but will not be generated there during transgression. An accretionary transgression takes place when the shoreline trajectory diverges relative to the alluvial depositional surface at the onset of transgression. This implies that accommodation is continuously generated and filled behind the retreating shoreline. If a ravinement surface is formed during transgression, its chronostratigraphic significance is maintained only if sediments accumulating during transgression are solely preserved seaward (and not landward) of the transgressing shoreline. As the shoreline migrates in various directions, composite stacking patterns, systems tracts, and depositional cycles, as well as surfaces or thin intervals of slow deposition, nondeposition, or erosion are formed. These levels can be used to envelop the depositional cycles. The cycles can be subdivided into two or four systems tracts. The maximum transgressive surface is the most applicable for delineation of cycles. A ravinement surface that merges with or erodes into the subaerial unconformity, in combination with the maximum regressive surface, can also be useful for bracketing cycles.

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