Tippecanoe sequence

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The Tippecanoe sequence was the cratonic sequence--that is, the marine transgression--that followed the Sauk sequence; it extended from roughly the Middle Ordovician to the Early Devonian.

A cratonic sequence is a very large-scale lithostratographic sequence that covers a complete marine transgressive-regressive cycle across a craton. They are also known as "megasequences", "stratigraphic sequences", "sloss sequence", "supersequence" or simply "sequences". In plain English, it is the geological evidence of the sea level rising and then falling, thereby depositing layers of sediment onto an area of ancient rock called a craton. Places such as the Grand Canyon are a good visual example of this, apparent in the layers deposited over time.

Marine transgression Geologic event in which sea level rises relative to the land

A marine transgression is a geologic event during which sea level rises relative to the land and the shoreline moves toward higher ground, resulting in flooding. Transgressions can be caused either by the land sinking or the ocean basins filling with water. Transgressions and regressions may be caused by tectonic events such as orogenies, severe climate change such as ice ages or isostatic adjustments following removal of ice or sediment load.

The Sauk sequence was the earliest of the six cratonic sequences that have occurred during the Phanerozoic in North America. It was followed by the Tippecanoe, Kaskaskia, Absaroka, Zuñi, and Tejas sequences.

Sedimentary characteristics

After the regression of the Sauk Sea early in the Ordovician, the exposed craton for a time underwent vigorous erosion, due to being located in a tropical climate; indeed, at this point in the Phanerozoic the North American continent roughly straddled the equator. [1]

The Phanerozoic Eon is the current geologic eon in the geologic time scale, and the one during which abundant animal and plant life has existed. It covers 541 million years to the present, and began with the Cambrian Period when animals first developed hard shells preserved in the fossil record. Its name was derived from the Ancient Greek words φανερός and ζωή, meaning visible life, since it was once believed that life began in the Cambrian, the first period of this eon. The term "Phanerozoic" was coined in 1930 by the American geologist George Halcott Chadwick (1876–1953). The time before the Phanerozoic, called the Precambrian, is now divided into the Hadean, Archaean and Proterozoic eons.

North America Continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere; it is also considered by some to be a northern subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

Continent Very large landmass identified by convention

A continent is one of several very large landmasses of the world. Generally identified by convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smallest, they are: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe, and Australia.

The Tippecanoe transgression ended this period of erosion, beginning with the deposition of clean sandstones across the craton, followed by abundant carbonate deposition. [2] In the east these carbonates gradually become shales, representing sediments eroded from highlands created in the Taconic orogeny. [2]

Sandstone A clastic sedimentary rock composed mostly of sand-sized particles

Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.

Carbonate rock

Carbonate rocks are a class of sedimentary rocks composed primarily of carbonate minerals. The two major types are limestone, which is composed of calcite or aragonite (different crystal forms of CaCO3) and dolostone, which is composed of the mineral dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2).

Shale A fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock

Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering or bedding less than one centimeter in thickness, called fissility. It is the most common sedimentary rock.

The Tippecanoe sequence may have been the deepest of the Phanerozoic. At one point during the Silurian period, the Taconic highlands—which later became the Appalachian Mountains--were the only part of North America that was not submerged. [3] The massive evaporite deposits of the Michigan Basin were created during this period. [4]

The Silurian is a geologic period and system spanning 24.6 million years from the end of the Ordovician Period, at 443.8 million years ago (Mya), to the beginning of the Devonian Period, 419.2 Mya. As with other geologic periods, the rock beds that define the period's start and end are well identified, but the exact dates are uncertain by several million years. The base of the Silurian is set at a series of major Ordovician–Silurian extinction events when 60% of marine species were wiped out.

Appalachian Mountains mountain range in the eastern United States and Canada

The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician Period. They once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before experiencing natural erosion. The Appalachian chain is a barrier to east–west travel, as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in opposition to most highways and railroads running east–west.

Evaporite A water-soluble mineral sediment formed by evaporation from an aqueous solution

Evaporite is the term for a water-soluble mineral sediment that results from concentration and crystallization by evaporation from an aqueous solution. There are two types of evaporite deposits: marine, which can also be described as ocean deposits, and non-marine, which are found in standing bodies of water such as lakes. Evaporites are considered sedimentary rocks and are formed by chemical sediments.

The Tippecanoe sequence ended with a regression in the early Devonian, to be followed later by the Kaskaskia sequence.

The Kaskaskia sequence was a cratonic sequence that began in the mid-Devonian, peaked early in the Mississippian, and ended by mid-Mississippian time. A major unconformity separates it from the lower Tippecanoe sequence.

Related Research Articles

Unconformity distorted sediment deposition

An unconformity is a buried erosional or non-depositional surface separating two rock masses or strata of different ages, indicating that sediment deposition was not continuous. In general, the older layer was exposed to erosion for an interval of time before deposition of the younger, but the term is used to describe any break in the sedimentary geologic record. The significance of angular unconformity was shown by James Hutton, who found examples of Hutton's Unconformity at Jedburgh in 1787 and at Siccar Point in 1788.

Sequence stratigraphy is a branch of geology that attempts to subdivide and link sedimentary deposits into unconformity bound units on a variety of scales and explain these stratigraphic units in terms of variations in sediment supply and variations in the rate of change in accommodation space. The essence of the method is mapping of strata based on identification of surfaces which are assumed to represent time lines, and therefore placing stratigraphy in chronostratigraphic framework. Sequence stratigraphy is a useful alternative to a lithostratigraphic approach, which emphasizes similarity of the lithology of rock units rather than time significance.

Acadian orogeny

The Acadian orogeny is a long-lasting mountain building event which began in the Middle Devonian, reaching a climax in the early Late Devonian. It was active for approximately 50 million years, beginning roughly around 375 million years ago, with deformational, plutonic, and metamorphic events extending into the Early Mississippian. The Acadian orogeny is the third of the four orogenies that created the Appalachian orogen and subsequent basin. The preceding orogenies consisted of the Potomac and Taconic orogeny, which followed a rift/drift stage in the Late Neoproterozoic. The Acadian orogeny involved the collision of a series of Avalonian continental fragments with the Laurasian continent. Geographically, the Acadian orogeny extended from the Canadian Maritime provinces migrating in a southwesterly direction toward Alabama. However, the Northern Appalachian region, from New England northeastward into Gaspé region of Canada, was the most greatly affected region by the collision.

Taconic orogeny A mountain building period that affected most of New England

The Taconic orogeny was a mountain building period that ended 440 million years ago and affected most of modern-day New England. A great mountain chain formed from eastern Canada down through what is now the Piedmont of the East coast of the United States. As the mountain chain eroded in the Silurian and Devonian periods, sediments from the mountain chain spread throughout the present-day Appalachians and midcontinental North America.

The Zuñi sequence was the major cratonic sequence after the Absaroka sequence that began in the latest Jurassic, peaked in the late Cretaceous, and ended by the start of the following Paleocene. Though it was not the final major transgression, it was the last complete sequence to cover the North American craton; the following Tejas sequence was much less extensive.

The Tejas sequence was the last major marine transgression across the North American craton. Following the late Cretaceous regression that ended the Zuñi sequence, the oceans advanced again early in the Cenozoic, peaking during the Paleocene and Eocene epochs. There were no dramatic epeiric seas in North America; indeed, the Atlantic coast advanced only as far as the Mississippi Embayment. The Tejas was deeper in Eurasia and Africa, which experienced widespread carbonate deposition during the Eocene. There was a final transgression before the end of the Oligocene, the end of which marked the end of the Tejas sequence.

Geology of West Virginia

West Virginia's geologic history stretches back into the Precambrian, and includes several periods of mountain building and erosion. At times, much of what is now West Virginia was covered by swamps, marshlands, and shallow seas, accounting for the wide variety of sedimentary rocks found in the state, as well as its wealth of coal and natural gas deposits. West Virginia has had no active volcanism for hundreds of millions of years, and does not experience large earthquakes, although smaller tremors are associated with the Rome Trough, which passes through the western part of the state.

Geological history of the Precordillera terrane

The Precordillera terrane of western Argentina is a large mountain range located southeast of the main Andes mountain range. The evolution of the Precordillera is noted for its unique formation history compared to the region nearby. The Cambrian-Ordovian sedimentology in the Precordillera terrane has its source neither from old Andes nor nearby country rock, but shares similar characteristics with the Grenville orogeny of eastern North America. This indicates a rift-drift history of the Precordillera in the early Paleozoic. The Precordillera is a moving micro-continent which started from the southeast part of the ancient continent Laurentia. The separation of the Precordillera started around the early Cambrian. The mass collided with Gondwana around Late Ordovician period. Different models and thinking of rift-drift process and the time of occurrence have been proposed. This page focuses on the evidence of drifting found in the stratigraphical record of the Precordillera, as well as exhibiting models of how the Precordillera drifted to Gondwana.

The geology of Western Sahara includes rock units dating back to the Archean more than two billion years old, although deposits of phosphorus formed in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic have helped to prompt the current Moroccan occupation of most of the country.

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 Ohio formed beginning more than one billion years ago in the Proterozoic eon of the Precambrian. The igneous and metamorphic crystalline basement rock is poorly understood except through deep boreholes and does not outcrop at the surface. The basement rock is divided between the Grenville Province and Superior Province. When the Grenville Province crust collided with Proto-North America, it launched the Grenville orogeny, a major mountain building event. The Grenville mountains eroded, filling in rift basins and Ohio was flooded and periodically exposed as dry land throughout the Paleozoic. In addition to marine carbonates such as limestone and dolomite, large deposits of shale and sandstone formed as subsequent mountain building events such as the Taconic orogeny and Acadian orogeny led to additional sediment deposition. Ohio transitioned to dryland conditions in the Pennsylvanian, forming large coal swamps and the region has been dryland ever since. Until the Pleistocene glaciations erased these features, the landscape was cut with deep stream valleys, which scoured away hundreds of meters of rock leaving little trace of geologic history in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

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 Utah includes rocks formed at the edge of the proto-North American continent during the Precambrian. A shallow marine sedimentary environment covered the region for much of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, followed by dryland conditions, volcanism and the formation of the basin and range terrain in the Cenozoic. Utah is a state in the western United States.

The geology of New York is made up 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 Dakota includes thick sequences oil and coal bearing sedimentary rocks formed in shallow seas in the Paleozoic and Mesozoic, as well as terrestrial deposits from the Cenozoic on top of ancient Precambrian crystalline basement rocks. The state has extensive oil and gas, sand and gravel, coal, groundwater and other natural resources.

The geology of Denmark includes 12 kilometers of unmetamorphosed sediments lie atop the Precambrian Fennoscandian Shield, the Norwegian-Scottish Caledonides and buried North German-Polish Caledonides. The stable Fennoscandian Shield formed from 1.45 billion years ago to 850 million years ago in the Proterozoic. The Fennoscandian Border Zone is a large fault, bounding the deep basement rock of the Danish Basin—a trough between the Border Zone and the Ringkobing-Fyn High. The Sorgenfrei-Tornquist Zone is a fault-bounded area displaying Cretaceous-Cenozoic inversion.

The geology of the United Arab Emirates includes very thick Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic marine and continental sedimentary rocks overlying deeply buried Precambrian. The region has extensive oil and gas resources and was deformed during the last several million years by more distant tectonic events.


  1. Monroe, James S., and Reed Wicander. The Changing Earth: Exploring Geology and Evolution, 2nd ed. Belmont: West Publishing Company, 1997. ISBN   0-314-09577-2 pp. 533-4
  2. 1 2 Monroe and Wicander, pp. 534-5
  3. Monroe and Wicander, p. 537
  4. Monroe and Wicander, pp. 537-8