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Passive margin clinothems revisited – The New Jersey margin example

Résumé : Passive margin are for a long time used to reconstruct global sea-level variations at geological time scale for various reasons. They usually show a simple and undeform sedimentary record with a possibility to correlate unconformities regionally and in some cases worldwide, a gradational evolution of depositional environments from the continental to the deep marine realms including the shoreline, and a well-known subsidence history. Sequence stratigraphy proved to be a wonderful tool to decipher the passive margin sedimentary record from the earliest outcomes of seismic stratigraphy (Vail et al., 1977; Posametier et al., 1988) to the most recent standardization (Catuneanu et al., 2009), applications (Embry 2008-2009) and simplifications (Neal and Abreu, 2009). Numerous hypotheses, however, have not been fully tested yet, like for example, the nature of the sedimentary facies that compose the prograding clinoform bodies on the shelf – a classic end member of most passive margin sedimentary record (e.g. Mitchum et al. 1977; Berg 1982; Alexander et al. 1991; Pirmez et al. 1998 ; Hubbard et al., 2010, Helland-Hansen et al., 2012) – the timing and phases relationship of these sedimentary facies with respect to relative sea-level changes (Reynolds et al., 1991) or the paleo water depth of sediment deposited at the toe of the clinoforms (Greenlee and Moore, 1988). This paper sought to ground-truth the vertical succession and lateral facies associations of clinoform deposits in the relatively simple, passive margin system of the New Jersey shelf by using the data provided by the IODP-ICDP Expedition 313 (Mountain, Proust et al., 2010). The arrangement of lithofacies in clinothem deposits follows complex patterns of prograding shoreface sands and offshore silts when storm-influenced mud deposits drape the shelf. Gullies incise the top of the clinothems feeding shelf slope apron and toe of slope with turbidites and debrites. The clinothems are interpreted as the subaqueous counterpart of a subaerial delta detached for more than 60km in the offshore during transgressive and early highstand times. The subaerial delta progrades rapidly on the shelf during late highstand, forced regression and lowstand periods feeding the clinothem with sands and silts and steps back during early transgressive times leaving clinothems sealed by offshore muds. The New Jersey example shows that the model of delta progradation and reservoir partioning in current passive margin settings should be strongly revised as well as forcing parameters as relative sea level never dropped below the clinoform rollover during lowstand times, as predicted by traditional sea level charts.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 1:28:25 PM
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Jean-Noël Proust, Hugo Pouderoux, Party Expedition 313 Science. Passive margin clinothems revisited – The New Jersey margin example. 25 ème Réunion des sciences de la Terre (RST 2016), Société Géologique de France, Oct 2016, Caen, France. pp.266. ⟨insu-01388670⟩

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