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Estuaries of the georgia coast usa sedimentology and biology part 2 regional animal sediment characteristics of georgia estuaries



Estuaries of the georgia coast usa sedimentology and biology part 2 regional animal sediment characteristics of georgia estuaries



Senckenbergiana Maritima 7: 33-103



A reconnaissance study of major estuary channels along the Georgia coast reveals considerably more lateral variation, both landward and coastwise, than occurs in adjacent shelf facies. Box cores taken in channels are representative of the upper reaches, but pronounced variations occur in the broader lower reaches. The main sediment textures observed include clean to muddy, coarse and fine sand, mud, and to a much lesser extent, shells, pebbles, mud and bedrock clasts. Marl and limestone crop out subaqueously in some channels. Primary physical sedimentary structures, many of them altered to some extent by bioturbation, consist of large-scale crossbedding (trough and planar type) with graded sets, small-scale crossbedding (ripple lamination and flaser, wavy, and lenticular bedding), laminated to interbedded sand and mud and rare pebble or shell beds. Ebb-oriented structures predominate over flood-oriented structures. Biogenic sedimentary structures are generally abundant and diverse, except in the upper reaches of riverine estuaries. The more characteristic forms include dwelling tubes of onuphid polychaetes (Onuphis, Diopatra), burrows of decapods (Upogebia, Callianassa) and capitellid (Heteromastus, Notomastus) and other polychaetes and bioturbation structures produced by amphipods, ophiuroids (Hemipholis), pelecypods and anemones. Sediment reworking by the endobenthos is pronounced and widespread. Textures and sedimentary structures show that these estuarine substrates are very dynamic, currents capable of transporting coarse sand (and pebbles, locally) exist even in the upper reaches of closed estuaries, minor scour horizons are widespread, both laterally and vertically and a relationship exists between the dominant textures, sedimentary structures and the relative influence of rivers and of coastal plain and local Pleistocene sand sources. Few of these features are uniquely indicative of estuarine depositional environments, but taken together in natural assemblages, they yield diagnostic criteria that can be very useful in interpreting ancient analogs.

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