Cretaceous sequence stratigraphy of the northern Baltimore Canyon Trough: Implications for basin evolution and carbon storage

Kimberly E. Baldwin, Kenneth Miller, William J. Schmelz, Gregory S. Mountain, Leslie M. Jordan, James V. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We evaluate the Cretaceous stratigraphy and carbon sequestration potential of the northern Baltimore Canyon Trough (NBCT) using >10,000 km of multi-channel seismic profiles integrated with geophysical logs, biostratigraphy, and lithology from 29 offshore wells. We identify and map six sequences resolved primarily at the stage level. Accommodation was dominated by thermal and non-thermal subsidence, though sequence boundaries correlate with regional and global sea-level changes, and the record is modified by igneous intrusion, active faulting, and changes in sediment supply and sources. Our stratigraphic maps illustrate a primary southern (central Appalachian) Early Cretaceous source that migrated northward during the Aptian and Albian. During the Cenomanian, sedimentation rates in the NBCT increased and depocenters shifted northward and landward. We show that deposition occurred in three phases: (1) earlier Cretaceous paleoenvironments were primarily terrestrial indicated by variable amplitude, chaotic seismic facies, serrated gamma logs, and heterolithic sandstones and mudstones with terrestrial microfossils; (2) the Albian to Cenomanian was dominated by deltaic paleoenvironments indicated by blocky, funnel-shaped, gamma-ray logs and clinoforms characterized by continuous high-amplitude seismic reflections with well-defined terminations; and (3) the Cenomanian and younger was marine shelf, inferred from mudstone-prone lithologies, peak gamma-ray values in well logs, and foraminiferal evidence. Long-term transgression and maximum water depths at the Cenomanian/Turonian boundary correlative with Ocean Anoxic Event 2 were followed by a regression and relative sea-level fall. We show that porous and permeable sandstones of three Aptian to Cenomanian highstand systems tracts are high-volume reservoirs for supercritical CO2 storage that are confined by overlying deep water mudstones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1885-1909
Number of pages25
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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