A stratigraphic and paleontological analysis of 303 samples of Paleocene sediments of the eastern Gulf Coastal Plain of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia provided the basis for a geochronologic, quantitative paleoecologic, and paleoceanographic model.
Rare occurences of coeval late Wisconsin glacigenic diamictons and ice-proximal sediments with a diverse faunal assemblage provided an opportunity to test the viability of the glacigenic sediments as proxy paleoclimate indicators.
The Miamitown shale has been considered an enigmatic unit in the upper part of an Edenian-Maysvillian sequence. A new look at Cincinnatian sequences reveals that this unit is actually an integral part of a complex sequence architecture. Three fourth-order sequences at the base of the Upper Ordovician in the Cincinnati area are formally named in stratigraphic order: (1) the Brent Sequence, comprising the Edenian Kope Formation; (2) the Riedlin Sequence comprising the Maysvillian Fairview, Miamitown and Bellevue formations; and (3) the Stonelick Sequence comprising the Maysvillian Corryville and Mt Auburn formations. A detailed study of the Riedlin Sequence in outcrops, cores and well logs between Cincinnati, Ohio, Ft Wayne, Indiana, and Indianapolis, Indiana, (13,000 km$\sp2$), reveals stacking patterns within the Riedlin Sequence that are comparable to those of a type-2 sequence. This interpretation contrasts with previous interpretations wherein Cincinnatian third- and fourth-order cycles are dominated by highstand systems tracts with thin or absent lowstand and transgressive deposits, or where these cycles are interpreted as parasequences or parasequence sets rather than sequences. The Miamitown Shale provides a testing ground for a new integrated cyclic, lithologic, and quantitative faunal method of correlating meter-scale fifth-order cycles. This has been accomplished within the 12 m interval surrounding the Miamitown Shale in the upper part of the Riedlin Sequence. First, using lithologic criteria alone, six shale-to-limestone cycles bounded by flooding surfaces were delineated and correlated between seven 12 m outcrop sections within a 30 km radius. Unusual fossil occurrences constrained correlations of cycles 3 & 4, and the presence of a dalmanellid, Heterorthina fairmountensis, showed that the flooding surface above cycle 3 lay 10 cm below the lithologic contact. Quantitatively-defined faunal clusters constrained correlations between all cycles, and revealed a major transition at the top of cycle 2, again below the lithologic contact. Finally, depth gradient fluctuations interpreted from ordination of faunal data suggest that the major transition at the top of cycle 2 is a transgressive surface, and that the middle part of cycle 3 includes the interval of maximum depth.