Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Marine Science

Major Professor

Albert C. Hine, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stanley Locker, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Harry Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Eugene Shinn, Ph.D.


Sediment drifts, seismic stratigraphy, ocean gateways, Panamanian seaway


A Neogene contourite depositional system was identified and mapped along the DeSoto Slope in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, U.S.A. A series of drift deposits comprising the larger contourite depositional system were interpreted from a 2-D industry seismic data set. The now subsurface drift deposits are adjacent to the anomalous seabed feature, the DeSoto Canyon, and these data suggest contourite deposition and ocean currents are in integral part of the canyon’s depositional history. The contourite depositional system is underlain by an extensive, middle Miocene aged, erosional unconformity formed by ocean currents. The timing of this erosional surface is in alignment with the widely accepted premise that the Miocene represented a transitional period in Gulf of Mexico basin circulation. The discovery of this contourite depositional system adds to an established list of Miocene-aged features pointing to the onset of enhanced Loop Current circulation in the Neogene Gulf of Mexico.