Geology of the continental terrace off the central coast of Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/k0698b69t

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  • The continental terrace west of Oregon between 43° 50'N and 44° 40' N latitude is 50 to 55 miles wide. It consists of a continental shelf, 16 to 35 miles wide, and a continental slope, 16 to 37 miles wide. The eastern portion of the shelf is a smooth, sediment covered area that slopes very gently west. The western portion of the shelf contains four rocky bank areas. The banks are topographically irregular and appear to be of structural origin. West of the banks the shelf edge occurs at depths of 71 to 90 fathoms. The continental slope extends from the edge of the shelf to the abyssal plain at depths of 1530 to 1610 fathoms. A smooth upper slope of less than three degrees extending to depths of 117 to 250 fathoms occurs north and south of Heceta Bank. West of Heceta Bank the upper slope is formed by a scarp that slopes 10° to 16° to 560 to 725 fathoms. West of the upper slope there is an area of irregular topography, including benches, hills and scarps, which extends to depths of 380 to 1100 fathoms. The lower part of the slope is formed by a north-striking scarp which is 3000 to 6000 feet high and slopes 04° to 15°. The bathymetry indicates that the continental slope was formed by step-type, block faulting. Sediments form a thin surface layer over much of: the terrace. Detrital sand, similar to the coastal sand, covers the shelf from the shoreline to approximately 50 fathoms. The deeper areas on the shelf and upper part of the slope are covered by glauconitic sands and silts on the topographic highs and olive green, clayey silts in the topographic lows. The intermediate and lower portions of the slope are blanketed with olive-green, clayey silt. In these sediments the sand fraction, which generally comprises less than five percent of the sample, is composed chiefly of diatoms, Foraminifera, Radiolaria, and sponge spicules. Sands are also present on the intermediate and deep portions of the slope. Dredge hauls west of Newport obtained sand composed mainly of detrital grains which may have been derived from an underlying friable sandstone. Thin layers of sand occur in cores from other portions of the slope. These sands may have been derived by down slope movement of sediment from the upper slope and the shelf. Sedimentary rocks of Upper Miocene and Pliocene age crop out on the shelf banks and on the continental slope. The banks consist of a sequence of diatomaceous, clayey siltstones with interbeds and concretions of calcareous siltstones. Glauconite sandstone, gray wacke sandstone, and limestone breccia are exposed along with the siltstone, on the northern end of Heceta Bank. Most of the rocks obtamed from the slope are similar to those from the shelf. Friable, wacke sandstone is exposed on the slope west of Newport. Foraminifera, the sand fraction compositions, and textural analyses all indicate that the sediment forming the siltstones from the shelf were deposited at lower littoral to lower bathyal depths. The sediments forming the rocks were deposited in one or more sedimentary basins during the Miocene and Pliocene. The subsidence continued until the. Late Pliocene when the area began to rise. The area was uplifted as much as 1000 fathoms by the Late Pleistocene when the shelf was eroded by transgressions and regressions resulting from sea level changes. The last rise in sea level resulted in the erosion of the shelf to its present form and the deposition of a thin layer of sediment. Sand is presently being deposited on the shallow areas adjacent to the continent, and silt and clay are being laid down on the slope and the sheltered areas of the outer shelf.
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