U.S. Geological Survey Core Drilling on the Atlantic Shelf

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Science  02 Nov 1979:
Vol. 206, Issue 4418, pp. 515-527
DOI: 10.1126/science.206.4418.515


The first broad program of scientific shallow drilling on the U.S. Atlantic continental shelf has delineated rocks of Pleistocene to Late Cretaceous age, including phosphoritic Miocene strata, widespread Eocene carbonate deposits that serve as reflective seismic markers, and several regional unconformities. Two sites, off Maryland and New Jersey, showed light hydrocarbon gases having affinity to mature petroleum. Pore fluid studies showed that relatively fresh to brackish water occurs beneath much of the Atlantic continental shelf, whereas increases in salinity off Georgla and beneath the Florida-Hatteras slope suggest buried evaporitic strata. The sediment cores showed engineering properties that range from good foundation strength to a potential for severe loss of strength through interaction between sediments and man-made structures.