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ABSTRACT: Late Pleistocene-Holocene Sequence Stratigraphy of the Mississippi-Alabama Shelf, Northeastern Gulf of Mexico: Implications for Global Change

PARKER, STEVEN J., BERRY H. TEW, ERNEST A. MANCINI, and ROBERT M. MINK, Geological Survey of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Sequence stratigraphy is the study of rock relationships within a framework of repetitive, unconformity-bounded depositional sequences and provides a methodology by which to study and understand stratigraphic, lithofacies, and paleogeographic relationships among the strata within a depositional basin. The primary premise of sequence stratigraphy is that stratal stacking patterns and lithofacies distributions are related to cycles of transgression and regression that result from cyclical changes in relative sea level; relative sea level changes, in turn, result from the combined effects of eustatic sea level changes, basin subsidence, sediment yield, and climatic conditions. While the concepts of sequence analysis have been applied in numerous studies of the ancient rock record, resear h into the applicability of this approach to the modern record is generally lacking. An understanding of the sequence stratigraphic setting and history of modern depositional systems, when combined with data from ancient analogs to which sequence analysis has been applied, may have predictive value in determining possible scenarios for change in modern coastal and offshore areas and the rates of such change.

Sequence stratigraphic analysis of late Pleistocene-Holocene strata of the Mississippi-Alabama shelf can be used as a tool for establishing the anticipated naturally-controlled lithostratigraphic succession, sea level position and rate of change, and distribution of modern geomorphic features. The recognition of deviations from the anticipated sequence stratigraphic framework may allow for the determination of physical environmental changes which may be attributed to anthropogenic events.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91014©1992 AAPG GCAGS and GC-SEPM Meeting, Jackson, Mississippi, October 21-23, 1992 (2009)