Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Age and correlation of emerged pliocene and pleistocene deposits, U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain

January 1, 1984

Paleontologic and paleomagnetic investigations were conducted on several hundred Pliocene and Pleistocene marine samples from five regions of the emerged Atlantic Coastal Plain: (1) the Delmarva Peninsula, (2) eastern Virginia, (3) central and northern North Carolina, (4) southern North Carolina and northeastern South Carolina, and (5) the Charleston area, South Carolina. Molluscan and ostracode interval and assemblage zonations, which are the primary means of regional correlation, have been calibrated using planktic biochronologic, paleomagnetic, radiometric and amino-acid recemization data. These multiple dating criteria were used to determine the age and, where possible, the duration of marine transgressive/regressive sequences. A correlation chart illustrates the age relationships of 27 formations from five regions. One important conclusion is some of the Yorktown Formation of Virginia and North Carolina (including the “Duplin” Formation), and some of the Raysor of South Carolina are late Pliocene in age. The late Pliocene Chowan River Formation of North Carolina is older than the early Pleistocene Waccamaw Formation of South Carolina, which in turn may be older than the James City Formation of North Carolina. During the last 1.0 million years, multiple marine transgressions occurred in each region, but the age of these middle and late Pleistocene formations often may differ from one area to the next.

A significant result of the study is the evidence for the lack of time equivalence of formations in the five different regions; that is, the sequence of marine transgressions in one region does not necessarily correspond to that in another. This appears to be the result of differing subsidence and uplift histories, the patchiness of the depositional record, and the limitations of the dating techniques in light of the rapidity and frequency of sea-level fluctuations.

Publication Year 1984
Title Age and correlation of emerged pliocene and pleistocene deposits, U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain
DOI 10.1016/0031-0182(84)90079-8
Authors T. M. Cronin, L. M. Bybell, R. Z. Poore, B. W. Blackwelder, J. C. Liddicoat, J. E. Hazel
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Index ID 70014083
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse