The sedimentary imprint of Pleistocene glacio-eustasy: Implications for global correlations of seismic sequences

Cecilia M. McHugh, Craig S. Fulthorpe, Koichi Hoyanagi, Peter Blum, Gregory S. Mountain, Kenneth G. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We evaluate lithofacies, chronology, and seismic sequences from the Canterbury Basin, New Zealand passive continental slope (Integrated Ocean Drilling Program [IODP] Expedition 317 Site U1352 and environs) and compare this with slope sequences from the New Jersey passive margin. Our goal is to understand continental slope sedimentation in response to glacio-eustasy and test the concepts of sequence stratigraphy. High-resolution geochemical elemental and lithostratigraphic analyses were calibrated to a chronology constructed from benthic foramininferal oxygen isotopes for the past ~1.8 m.y. We identify lithofacies successions by their unique geochemical and lithologic signature and correlate them with marine isotope stages (MIS) at Milankovitch 100 k.y. (MIS 1-12) and 41 k.y. (MIS 13-63) periods. Eight seismic sequence boundaries (U13-U19) were identified from high-resolution multichannel seismic data, providing a seismic stratigraphic framework. Except for MIS 1-5 and MIS 54-55, there are 2-16 MIS stages and a comparable number of lithofacies contained within each seismic sequence, indicating that it took one to several glacio-eustatic cycles to build each seismic stratigraphic sequence. These findings support prior results obtained by the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 174A on the New Jersey continental slope. On both margins, there is a strong correlation between seismic sequences, lithofacies, and MIS, thus linking them to glacio-eustasy. However, the correlation between MIS and seismic sequences is not one-to-one, and Pleistocene seismic sequences on the two margins are not synchronous. Local conditions, including differences in sedimentation rates and creation of accommodation space, strongly influenced sediment preservation at each location, revealing that high-frequency Pleistocene seismic sequences need not correlate globally.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-285
Number of pages21
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 8 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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