Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, 93 (1987), ed. J. E. van Hinte, S. W. Wise, Jr., et al., Washington (U.S. Govt. Printing Office), pp. 941-960.


During the drilling of Hole 603B on Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 93, an unexpected series of sand-, silt-, and claystone turbidites was encountered from Cores 603B-45 through -76 (1224-1512 m sub-bottom depth). Complete and truncated Bouma sequences were observed, some indicating deposition by debris flows. Sand emplacement culminated with the deposition of a 30-m-thick, unconsolidated sand unit (Cores 603B-48 through -45).
The purpose of this preliminary study is to determine the nature of the heavy mineral suites of this sediment in order to make tentative correlations with onshore equivalents. The heavy mineralogy of Lower Cretaceous North American mid-Atlantic coastal plain sediment has been extensively studied. This sediment is classified as the Potomac Group, which has a varied heavy mineral suite in its lower part (Patuxent Formation), and a limited suite in its upper part (Patapsco Formation). The results of this study reveal a similar trend in the heavy mineral suites of sediment in Hole 6038. Hauterivian through lower Barremian sediment has a heavy mineral suite that is dominated by zircon, apatite, and garnet, with minor amounts of staurolite and kyanite. Beginning in the mid-Barremian, a new source of sediment becomes dominant, one which supplies an epidote-rich heavy mineral suite. The results of the textural analyses show that average grain size of the light mineral fraction increases upsection, whereas sorting decreases. The epidote-rich source may have delivered sediment with a slightly coarser mean grain size. This sediment may represent a more direct continental input at times of maximum turbidite activity (mid-Barremian) and during deposition of the upper, unconsolidated sand unit.