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Book Chapter


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


Gregory S. Gohn

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Book Title

Proceedings of the 1988 U.S. Geological Survey Workshop on the Geology and Geohydrology of the Atlantic Coastal Plain


United States Goverment Printing Office


U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1059


The seaward margin of the U.S. Atlantic Coastal Plain has fluctuated through time, from near the Fall Line to near the edge of the present Outer Continental Shelf, owing to changes in relative sea level. The strata that underlie the Coastal Plain were deposited in environments that ranged from fully terrestrial to fully marine. Estuarine environments are critical components of the Coastal Plain; they represent the interface, otherwise known as the shoreline, between the marine and terrestrial depositional systems. The Quaternary evolution of estuaries has important implications for both documenting the history of sea-level changes and interpreting ancient coastal-plain strata. In this paper, we briefly summarize the Quaternary history of the Chesapeake Bay, the largest of the many Coastal Plain estuaries on the Atlantic coast. This summary is based on recent syntheses of a wide variety of data (Colman and others, 1988, 1990; Colman and Mixon, 1988) on the history and evolution of the bay.

Central Atlantic Coastal Plain - A Summary of the Geological Evolution of Chesapeake Bay, Eastern United States

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