Horizon beta is a subbottom reflector in the North Atlantic deep ocean sediments that extends over a large portion of the North America basin. Cores from an outcrop of beta contained shallow-water Aptian-Albian sediments and deep-water Cenomanian sediments. A core near an outcrop of a deeper horizon, horizon B, contained shallow-water Lower Cretaceous (Barremian-Hauterivian) sediments. These cores can be interpreted to support extensive subsidence of the eastern portion of the basin in early Cretaceous time. It is equally likely that the shallow-water deposits are a result of sediments slumping into an already deep basin. A reconciliation of these interpretations depends upon the JOIDES project.