This field guide presents a one-day excursion in Prince George’s County, Maryland, USA, and documents the transition across the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary by examining sediments from the upper Maastrichtian of the Severn Formation to the Paleocene sediments of the Brightseat and Aquia formations. Emphasis is placed on understanding how differences in depositional character and lithostratigraphy are related to changes in both microfossil and macrofossil assemblages. Particular attention is given to the difficulty in distinguishing Upper Cretaceous sediments from lower Paleocene sediments in the field, a problem that has traditionally led to misrepresentation of the distribution and thickness of these units and their correlation on a regional scale.
Regarding the Late Cretaceous geology, the guide presents information on the lithology and microfossil biostratigraphy of the Severn Formation, which consists predominantly of silty quartz sand, with less than 5% clay. These sediments are placed in calcareous nannofossil Zone CC25a, suggesting an early late Maastrichtian age. Low abundances of planktic foraminifera combined with sedimentological evidence suggest deposition most likely occurred in a middle neritic environment. Macrofossils in the outcrops along the field trip consist primarily of fragmented bivalve mollusk and cephalopod shell material. A hiatus of ~5 m.y. separates the Cretaceous sediments from the overlying Paleocene deposits.
As for the Paleocene geology, the guide presents information on the Brightseat and Aquia formations. The Brightseat represents early Danian age deposition and consists of clayey, silty sand at the base that grades upward into a silty sand. Glauconite is present at <5% throughout the formation in outcrop. Sediments of the Brightseat Formation are placed in calcareous nannofossil Zone NP3. Macrofossils are limited to small bivalve fragments that are scattered throughout. A hiatus representing ~3 m.y. separates the Brightseat from the overlying Aquia Formation, which is Selandian to Thanetian in age and consists of a glauconite-rich (~10%–20%), silty sand with common to abundant macrofossils, including both fragmented and complete gastropods and bivalves.
|Title||Geology and paleontology of Cretaceous and Paleocene sediments of the Cabin Branch, Cabin Creek (Cappy Avenue), and Tinkers Creek outcrops, Prince George’s County, Maryland|
|Authors||Jean Self-Trail, David L. Govoni, Laurel M. Bybell, Kristina Frank Gardner|
|Publication Type||Book Chapter|
|Publication Subtype||Book Chapter|
|Series Title||Geological Society of America Field Guides|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Florence Bascom Geoscience Center|