Continental shelf sediments, Columbia River to Cape Blanco, Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/4j03d2578

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  • Sediments on the inner portion of the Oregon continental shelf consist of clean, well-sorted, detrital sand. This sand has an average median diameter of 2.53Φ (. 173 mm) and is both positively and negatively skewed. Deposits with median diameters in the coarse sand and gravel classes occur at depths of 20 to 40 fathoms and probably represent ancient beach or fluviatile deposits formed during lower stands of sea level. The outer shelf and upper slope are covered by poorly sorted sediments with median diameters in the fine sand to fine silt classes. Mean diameters of the sediments are almost always smaller than their median diameters and the sediments are positively skewed. The heavy mineral assemblages are dominated by the amphibole and pyroxene groups and the opaque-garnet association. Pyroxenes are most abundant in the coarser-grained sediments of the inner shelf and decrease in abundance offshore. Amphiboles are most abundant in the finer-grained sediments of the outer shelf and upper slope. Highest concentrations of the opaque-garnet association also are found in the inshore samples. Sediments of the continental shelf are derived from two principal sources, rivers and erosion of coastal terrace deposits. Rivers are probably contributing only fine-grained material to the shelf as much of the coarser fluviatile material is thought to be trapped in the estuaries. The terrace deposits are actively being eroded and are thought to contribute about 21,000,000 cubic feet (.00013 cubic miles) of sediment to the continental shelf annually. Evidence suggests that much of the inner-shelf sand is probably a relict transgressive sheet sand that was deposited during the last rise in sea level. Most of the deposition of the modern sand on the shelf has been confined to the inner portion of the inner shelf. Finer-grained sediments have been deposited on the outer shelf and upper slope. Characteristics of the sediments on the present continental shelves may be useful in identifying continental shelf deposits in the geologic column.
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