Onshore drilling by Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Legs 150X and 174AX and offshore drilling by Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 313 provides continuous cores and logs of seismically imaged Lower to Middle Miocene sequences. We input ages and paleodepths of these sequences into one-dimensional backstripping equations, progressively accounting for the effects of compaction, Airy loading, and thermal subsidence. The resulting difference between observed subsidence and theoretical thermal subsidence provide relative sea-level curves that reflect both global average sea level and non-thermal subsidence. In contrast with expectations, backstripping suggests that the relative sea-level maxima in proximal onshore sites were lower than correlative maxima on the shelf. This requires that the onshore New Jersey coastal plain has subsided relative to the shelf, which is consistent with models of relative epeirogeny due to subduction of the Farallon plate. These models predict subsidence of the coastal plain relative to the shelf. Although onshore and offshore sea-level estimates are offset by epeirogeny, the amplitude of million-year–scale Early to Middle Miocene sea-level changes seen at the New Jersey margin is generally 5–20 m and occasionally as great as 50 m. These events are interpreted to represent eustatic variations, because they occur on a shorter time frame than epeirogenic influences. Correction for epeirogenic effects largely reconciles differences between onshore and offshore relative sea-level estimates and suggests that backstripping provides a testable eustatic model for the Early to Middle Miocene.
- Received 31 July 2015.
- Revision received 9 May 2016.
- Accepted 3 August 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America