Recent Sedimentation on the New Jersey Slope and Rise

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Science  12 Oct 1984:
Vol. 226, Issue 4671, pp. 125-133
DOI: 10.1126/science.226.4671.125


Radiocarbon dating and sedimentological studies of closely spaced cores indicate movement during the Holocene of sediments on the New Jersey continental slope and upper rise between Wilmington and Lindenkohl canyons. The uneven time-stratigraphic thickness of the late Quaternary sediment sections between cores and the nonuniform deposition rate at any given core site and among core sites show that the sediment blanket in canyon and intercanyon areas has been affected by downslope, gravity-driven pocesses during the Holocene to the present. The reduced rate of deposition on the slope and upper rise between the late Pleistocene and the present is largely due to decreased off-shelf transport in response to the eustatic rise in sea level. Very old radiocarbon dates at core tops result from emplacement of older reworked materials from upslope or from truncation of sections by mass wasting processes exposing older material at the sea floor. These processes also account for an irregular sequence of dated sections within cores and stratigraphic irregularities of the surficial cover from core to core. Marked variability in deposition rates on the slope and upper rise is largely a function of topographic configuration, proximity and accessibility to sediment source, and transport processes seaward of the shelf break. Moreover, higher accumulation rates on the upper rise are attributed primarily to slope bypassing. Bypassing, prevalent during the late Pleistocene, has continued periodically to the present.