The Mississippi Embayment is a physiographic feature in the south-central United States, part of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. It is essentially a northward continuation of the fluvial sediments of the Mississippi River Delta to its confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, Illinois. The current sedimentary area was formed in the Cretaceous and early Cenozoic by the filling with sediment of a pre-existing basin. An explanation for the embayment's formation was put forward by Van Arsdale and Cox in 2007: movement of the earth's crust brought this region over a volcanic "hotspot" in the Earth's mantle causing an upthrust of magma which formed the Appalachian-Ouachita range. Subsequent erosion caused a deep trough that was flooded by the Gulf of Mexico and eventually filled with sediment from the Mississippi River.
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The embayment is a topographically low-lying basin that is filled with Cretaceous to recent sediments. The northern end of the embayment appears as an anomalous break in regional geologic structure with Paleozoic sedimentary rocks both to the east in Kentucky and Tennessee and to the west in Missouri and Arkansas. The current sedimentary basin results from the filling of a Cretaceous tectonic basin and existed as a large bay in the Cretaceous through early Cenozoic shoreline.
The New Madrid Seismic Zone lies at the northern end of the embayment. It was the site of the large New Madrid earthquakes of 1811-12. The area is underlain by some anomalous geology. The Reelfoot Rift is an ancient failed continental rift, an aulacogen, which dates back to the Precambrian break-up of the supercontinent Rodinia. The more recent opening of the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico during late Paleozoic to early Mesozoic break-up of Pangea no doubt affected and may have partially re-activated the old rift.
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The Mississippi embayment represents a break in what was once a single, continuous mountain range comprising the modern Appalachian range, which runs roughly on a north–south axis along the Atlantic coast of the United States, and the Ouachita range, which runs on a rough east–west axis west of the Mississippi River. The ancestral Appalachian-Ouachita range was thrust up when the tectonic plate carrying North America came into contact with the plates carrying South America and Africa when all three became joined in the ancient supercontinent Pangaea about 300 million years ago.
As Pangaea began to break up about 95 million years ago, North America passed over a volcanic "hotspot" in the Earth's mantle (specifically, the Bermuda hotspot) that was undergoing a period of intense activity. The upwelling of magma from the hotspot forced the further uplift to a height of perhaps 2–3 km of part of the Appalachian-Ouachita range, forming an arch. The uplifted land quickly eroded and, as North America moved away from the hot spot and as the hotspot's activity declined, the crust beneath the embayment region cooled, contracted and subsided to a depth of 2.6 km, forming a trough that was flooded by the Gulf of Mexico. As sea levels dropped, the Mississippi and other rivers extended their courses into the embayment, which gradually became filled with sediment.
Evidence for this explanation is found in the presence of the seismic zones centered on New Madrid, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, each the source of devastating earthquakes in the 19th century, and in diamond-bearing kimberlite pipes in Arkansas, which are products of volcanism.
The geology of the Appalachians dates back to more than 480 million years ago. A look at rocks exposed in today's Appalachian Mountains reveals elongate belts of folded and thrust faulted marine sedimentary rocks, volcanic rocks and slivers of ancient ocean floor – strong evidence that these rocks were deformed during plate collision. The birth of the Appalachian ranges marks the first of several mountain building plate collisions that culminated in the construction of the supercontinent Pangaea with the Appalachians and neighboring Little Atlas near the center. These mountain ranges likely once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before they were eroded.
The richly textured landscape of the United States is a product of the dueling forces of plate tectonics, weathering and erosion. Over the 4.5 billion-year history of our Earth, tectonic upheavals and colliding plates have raised great mountain ranges while the forces of erosion and weathering worked to tear them down. Even after many millions of years, records of Earth's great upheavals remain imprinted as textural variations and surface patterns that define distinctive landscapes or provinces.
The Gulf Coastal Plain extends around the Gulf of Mexico in the Southern United States and eastern Mexico.
Dallas–Fort Worth sits above Cretaceous-age strata ranging from ≈145-66 Ma. These Cretaceous-aged sediments lie above the eroded Ouachita Mountains and the Fort Worth Basin, which was formed by the Ouachita Orogeny. Going from west to east in the DFW Metroplex and down towards the Gulf of Mexico, the strata get progressively younger. The Cretaceous sediments dip very gently to the east.
Texas contains a great variety of geologic settings. The state's stratigraphy has been largely influenced by marine transgressive-regressive cycles during the Phanerozoic, with a lesser but still significant contribution from late Cenozoic tectonic activity, as well as the remnants of a Paleozoic mountain range.
The Bermuda hotspot is a supposed midplate hotspot swell in the Atlantic Ocean 500-1000 km southeast of Bermuda, proposed to explain the extinct volcanoes of the Bermuda Rise as well as the Mississippi Embayment and the Sabine Uplift southwest of the Mississippi Embayment.
The geological history of Earth follows the major events in Earth's past based on the geological time scale, a system of chronological measurement based on the study of the planet's rock layers (stratigraphy). Earth formed about 4.54 billion years ago by accretion from the solar nebula, a disk-shaped mass of dust and gas left over from the formation of the Sun, which also created the rest of the Solar System.
The Black Warrior Basin is a geologic sedimentary basin of western Alabama and northern Mississippi in the United States. It is named for the Black Warrior River and is developed for coal and coalbed methane production, as well as for conventional oil and natural gas production. Coalbed methane of the Black Warrior Basin has been developed and in production longer than in any other location in the United States. The coalbed methane is produced from the Pennsylvanian Pottsville Coal Interval.
Paleontology in Louisiana refers to paleontological research occurring within or conducted by people from the U.S. state of Louisiana. Outcrops of fossil-bearing sediments and sedimentary rocks within Louisiana are quite rare. In part, this is because Louisiana’s semi-humid climate results in the rapid weathering and erosion of any exposures and the growth of thick vegetation that conceal any fossil-bearing strata. In addition, Holocene alluvial sediments left behind by rivers like the Mississippi, Red, and Ouachita, as well as marsh deposits, cover about 55% of Louisiana and deeply bury local fossiliferous strata.
The geology of Cameroon is almost universally Precambrian metamorphic and igneous basement rock, formed in the Archean as part of the Congo Craton and the Central African Mobile Zone and covered in laterite, recent sediments and soils. Some parts of the country have sequences of sedimentary rocks from the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic as well as volcanic rock produced by the 1600 kilometer Cameroon Volcanic Line, which includes the still-active Mount Cameroon. The country is notable for gold, diamonds and some onshore and offshore oil and gas.
The geology of Arkansas includes deep 1.4 billion year old igneous crystalline basement rock from the Proterozoic known only from boreholes, overlain by extensive sedimentary rocks and even some volcanic rocks. The region was a shallow marine, riverine and coastal environment for much of the early Paleozoic as multi-cellular life became commonplace. At the end of the Paleozoic in the Permian the region experienced coal formation and extensive faulting and uplift related to the Ouachita orogeny mountain building event. Extensive erosion of new highlands created a mixture of continental and marine sediments and much of the state remained flooded even into the last 66 million years of the Cenozoic. In recent Pleistocene and Holocene time, glacial sediments poured into the region from the north, down major rivers, forming dunes and sedimentary ridges. Today, Arkansas has an active oil and gas industry, although hydraulic fracturing related earthquake swarms have limited extraction. Mining industries in the state also produce brines, sand, gravel and other industrial minerals.
The geology of Tanzania began to form in the Precambrian, in the Archean and Proterozoic eons, in some cases more than 2.5 billion years ago. Igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock forms the Archean Tanzania Craton, which is surrounded by the Proterozoic Ubendian belt, Mozambique Belt and Karagwe-Ankole Belt. The region experienced downwarping of the crust during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, as the massive Karoo Supergroup deposited. Within the past 100 million years, Tanzania has experienced marine sedimentary rock deposition along the coast and rift formation inland, which has produced large rift lakes. Tanzania has extensive, but poorly explored and exploited natural resources, including coal, gold, diamonds, graphite and clays.
The geology of Morocco formed beginning up to two billion years ago, in the Paleoproterozoic and potentially even earlier. It was affected by the Pan-African orogeny, although the later Hercynian orogeny produced fewer changes and left the Maseta Domain, a large area of remnant Paleozoic massifs. During the Paleozoic, extensive sedimentary deposits preserved marine fossils. Throughout the Mesozoic, the rifting apart of Pangaea to form the Atlantic Ocean created basins and fault blocks, which were blanketed in terrestrial and marine sediments—particularly as a major marine transgression flooded much of the region. In the Cenozoic, a microcontinent covered in sedimentary rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous collided with northern Morocco, forming the Rif region. Morocco has extensive phosphate and salt reserves, as well as resources such as lead, zinc, copper and silver.
The geology of Senegal formed beginning more than two billion years ago. The Archean greenschist Birimian rocks common throughout West Africa are the oldest in the country, intruded by Proterozoic granites. Basins formed in the interior during the Paleozoic and filled with sedimentary rocks, including tillite from a glaciation. With the rifting apart of the supercontinent Pangaea in the Mesozoic, the large Senegal Basin filled with thick sequences of marine and terrestrial sediments. Sea levels declined in the Eocene forming large phosphate deposits. Senegal is blanketed in thick layers of terrestrial sediments formed in the Quaternary. The country has extensive natural resources, including gold, diamonds, and iron.
The geology of Virginia began to form 1.8 billion years ago and potentially even earlier. The oldest rocks in the state were metamorphosed during the Grenville orogeny, a mountain building event beginning 1.2 billion years ago in the Proterozoic, which obscured older rocks. Throughout the Proterozoic and Paleozoic, Virginia experienced igneous intrusions, carbonate and sandstone deposition, and a series of other mountain building events which defined the terrain of the inland parts of the state. The closing of the Iapetus Ocean, to form the supercontinent Pangaea added additional small landmasses, some of which are now hidden beneath thick Atlantic Coastal Plain sediments. The region subsequently experienced the rifting open of the Atlantic Ocean in the Mesozoic, the development of the Coastal Plain, isolated volcanism and a series of marine transgressions that flooded much of the area. Virginia has extensive coal, deposits of oil and natural gas, as well as deposits of other minerals and metals, including vermiculite, kyanite and uranium.
The geology of Kentucky formed beginning more than one billion years ago, in the Proterozoic eon of the Precambrian. The oldest igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock is part of the Grenville Province, a small continent that collided with the early North American continent. The beginning of the Paleozoic is poorly attested and the oldest rocks in Kentucky, outcropping at the surface, are from the Ordovician. Throughout the Paleozoic, shallow seas covered the area, depositing marine sedimentary rocks such as limestone, dolomite and shale, as well as large numbers of fossils. By the Mississippian and the Pennsylvanian, massive coal swamps formed and generated the two large coal fields and the oil and gas which have played an important role in the state's economy. With interludes of terrestrial conditions, shallow marine conditions persisted throughout the Mesozoic and well into the Cenozoic. Unlike neighboring states, Kentucky was not significantly impacted by the Pleistocene glaciations. The state has extensive natural resources, including coal, oil and gas, sand, clay, fluorspar, limestone, dolomite and gravel. Kentucky is unique as the first state to be fully geologically mapped.
The geology of Mississippi includes some deep igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rocks from the Precambrian known only from boreholes in the north, as well as sedimentary sequences from the Paleozoic. The region long experienced shallow marine conditions during the tectonic evolutions of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, as coastal plain sediments accumulated up to 45,000 feet thick, including limestone, dolomite, marl, anhydrite and sandstone layers, with some oil and gas occurrences and the remnants of Cretaceous volcanic activity in some locations.
The geology of Missouri includes deep Precambrian basement rocks formed within the last two billion years and overlain by thick sequences of marine sedimentary rocks, interspersed with igneous rocks by periods of volcanic activity. Missouri is a leading producer of lead from minerals formed in Paleozoic dolomite.
The geology of New York State is made up of ancient Precambrian crystalline basement rock, forming the Adirondack Mountains and the bedrock of much of the state. These rocks experienced numerous deformations during mountain building events and much of the region was flooded by shallow seas depositing thick sequences of sedimentary rock during the Paleozoic. Fewer rocks have deposited since the Mesozoic as several kilometers of rock have eroded into the continental shelf and Atlantic coastal plain, although volcanic and sedimentary rocks in the Newark Basin are a prominent fossil-bearing feature near New York City from the Mesozoic rifting of the supercontinent Pangea.
The geology of North Carolina includes ancient Proterozoic rocks belonging to the Grenville Province in the Blue Ridge. The region experienced igneous activity and the addition of new terranes and orogeny mountain building events throughout the Paleozoic, followed by the rifting of the Atlantic Ocean and the deposition of thick sediments in the Coastal Plain and offshore waters.