Response of Late Cretaceous migrating deltaic facies systems to sea level, tectonics, and sediment supply changes, New Jersey Coastal Plain, U.S.A.

Andrew A. Kulpecz, Kenneth G. Miller, Peter J. Sugarman, James V. Browning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Paleogeographic, isopach, and deltaic lithofacies mapping of thirteen depositional sequences establish a 35 myr high resolution (> 1 Myr) record of Late Cretaceous wave- and tide-influenced deltaic sedimentation. We integrate sequences defined on the basis of lithologic, biostratigraphic, and Sr-isotope stratigraphy from cores with geophysical log data from 28 wells to further develop and extend methods and calibrations of well-log recognition of sequences and facies variations. This study reveals the northeastward migration of depocenters from the Cenomanian (ca. 98 Ma) through the earliest Danian (ca. 64 Ma) and documents five primary phases of paleodeltaic evolution in response to long-term eustatic changes, variations in sediment supply, the location of two long-lived fluvial axes, and thermoflexural basement subsidence: (1) Cenomanian-early Turonian deltaic facies exhibit marine and nonmarine facies and are concentrated in the central coastal plain; (2) high sediment rates, low sea level, and high accommodation rates in the northern coastal plain resulted in thick, marginal to nonmarine mixed-influenced deltaic facies during the Turonign-Coniacian; (3) comparatively low sediment rates and high long-term sea level in the Santonian resulted in a sediment-starved margin with low deltaic influence; (4) well-developed Campanian deltaic sequences expand to the north and exhibit wave reworking and longshore transport of sands, and (5) low sedimentation rates and high long-term sea level during the Maastrichtian resulted in the deposition of a sediment-starved glauconitic shelf. Our study illustrates the widely known variability of mixed-influence deltaic systems, but also documents the relative stability of deltaic facies systems on the 106-107 yr scale, with long periods of cyclically repeating systems tracts controlled by eustasy. Results from the Late Cretaceous further show that although eustasy provides the template for sequences globally, regional tectonics (rates of subsidence and accommodation), changes in sediment supply, proximity to sediment input, and flexural subsidence from depocenter loading determines the regional to local preservation and facies expression of sequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)112-129
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Sedimentary Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology


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