Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Geophysical observations on northern part of Georges Bank and adjacent basins of Gulf of Maine

December 1, 1974

Continuous-seismic-reflection and magnetic-intensity profiles provide data for inferences about the geology of the northern part of Georges Bank and the basins of the Gulf of Maine adjacent to the bank.

Basement is inferred to be mostly sedimentary and volcanic rocks of Paleozoic age that were metamorphosed and intruded locally by felsic and mafic plutons near the end of the Paleozoic Era. During Late Triassic time, large fault basins formed within the Gulf of Maine and probably beneath Georges Bank. The fault basins and a possible major northeast-trending fault zone beneath the northern part of the bank probably formed as a result of the opening Atlantic during the Mesozoic. Nonmarine sediments, associated with mafic flows and intrusive rocks, were deposited in the fault basins as they formed. The upper surface of the Triassic and pre-Triassic rocks that comprise basement is an unconformity that makes up much of the bottom of the Gulf of Maine. Depth to the basement surface beneath the gulf differ greatly because of fluvial erosion in Tertiary time and glacial erosion in Pleistocene time. Beneath the northern part of Georges Bank the basement surface is smoother and slopes southward. Prominent valleys, cut before Late Cretaceous time, are present beneath this part of the bank.

Cretaceous, Tertiary, and possibly Jurassic times were characterized by episodes of coastal-plain deposition and fluvial erosion. During this time a very thick wedge of sediment, mostly of Jurassic(?) and Cretaceous ages, was deposited on the shelf. Major periods of erosion took place at the close of the Cretaceous and during the Pliocene. Fluvial erosion during the Pliocene removed much of the coastal-plain sedimentary wedge and formed the Gulf of Maine.

Pleistocene glaciers eroded all but a few remnants of the coastal-plain sediments within the gulf and deposited a thick section of drift against the north slope of Georges Bank and a thin veneer of outwash on the bank. Marine sediments were deposited in the basins of the Gulf of Maine during the retreat of the last ice and the postglacial rise in sea level.

Publication Year 1974
Title Geophysical observations on northern part of Georges Bank and adjacent basins of Gulf of Maine
DOI 10.1306/83D91BC3-16C7-11D7-8645000102C1865D
Authors R. N. Oldale, J. C. Hathaway, William P. Dillon, J. D. Hendricks, James M. Robb
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title AAPG Bulletin
Index ID 70121288
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coastal and Marine Geology Program; Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center