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Variations in shoreface progradation and ravinement along the Texas coast, Gulf of Mexico

Authors

  • Antonio B. Rodriguez,

    1. 1 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0338, USA (E-mail: arodrigu@bama.ua.edu) 2BP Amoco, Houston, TX 77079, USA3Department of Geology and Geophysics, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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  • 1 Michelle L. Fassell,

    1. 1 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0338, USA (E-mail: arodrigu@bama.ua.edu) 2BP Amoco, Houston, TX 77079, USA3Department of Geology and Geophysics, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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  • and 2 John B. Anderson 3

    1. 1 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0338, USA (E-mail: arodrigu@bama.ua.edu) 2BP Amoco, Houston, TX 77079, USA3Department of Geology and Geophysics, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005, USA
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Abstract

Shoreface architecture, evolution (mid-Holocene to present) and depths of transgressive ravinement were examined from Sabine Pass, at the Texas–Louisiana border, to South Padre Island, near the Texas–Mexico border, using 30 shoreface transects. Shoreface transects extend out to 16-m water depth, each created from an echo-sounding profile and, on average, seven sediment cores. The shoreface is composed of three broad sedimentological facies: the upper shoreface, composed almost entirely of sand; the proximal lower shoreface, composed of sand with thickly to medium-bedded (50–10 cm) mud; and the distal lower shoreface, composed dominantly of mud with medium- to thinly bedded (20–3 cm) sand. Shoreface architecture and evolution is extremely variable along the Texas coast. Shoreface gradients increase from 2·25 m km–1 in east Texas to 3·50 m km–1 in south Texas. Shoreface sands coarsen towards south Texas. East and south Texas shoreface deposits are thin and retrograding whereas central Texas shoreface deposits are thicker and prograding. Central Texas is characterized by stacked shoreface successions, whereas in east Texas, lower shoreface sands are preserved only in offshore banks. Preservation of shoreface deposits is low in south Texas. Although eustatic fluctuations and accommodation space have a strong impact on overall mid-Holocene to present shoreface evolution and preservation potential, along-strike variations in sediment supply and wave energy are the main factors controlling shoreface architecture. The transgressive ravinement surface varies from –6 to –15 m along the Texas coast.

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