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Paleoenvironmental analysis of the Waccamaw Formation (early Pleistocene) from Wilmington, North Carolina


, : Paleoenvironmental analysis of the Waccamaw Formation (early Pleistocene) from Wilmington, North Carolina. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 32(7): 448

The subcrop of the Waccamaw Formation in Wilmington, North Carolina is an approximately 5.5 foot thick erosional remnant preserved in a topographic low in the Pee Dee Formation. The unit consists of four distinct lithologies. The basal lithology is a 2.6 foot thick, very light gray, coarse, sandy limestone which is indurated in patches. This is overlain by a 1.3 foot thick, brownish-gray, coarse, calcareous sand. Immediately above is a 1.6 foot thick, medium-dark gray, fine calcareous sand. The uppermost lithology is a 1.0 foot thick, medium-light gray, coarse calcareous sand. The unit contains a diverse and abundant marine invertebrate fauna dominated by bivalves and gastropods, as well as bryozoans, echinoderms, corals, arthropods, sponges, and a few marine and non-marine vertebrates. Bulk sample analysis shows that nearly 85% of the total fauna is represented by twelve bivalve species and eight gastropod species. Common epibionts include several species of cheilostome bryozoans, serpulid and spirorbid worm tubes, sponge borings, coral overgrowths, bivalve attachments, and lithophagid borings (primarily in the corals). The nature of the sediment and fauna indicate deposition in a subtropical, inner-shelf, open marine environment with a relatively slow rate of sediment accumulation. Most faunal elements show little abrasion or breakage, indicating deposition without significant post-mortem transport or reworking. Epibionts show several episodes of encrustation on a variety of shell substrates, which suggests that shells were exposed on the seafloor for a considerable period of time before burial. The number, size, and form of many of the corals suggest the existence of nearby biostromes or bioherms.

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