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Gulf Coast Geology

The Gulf of Mexico formed approximately 200 million years ago when North America broke away from South America and Africa. Then for a long period of time the Gulf accumulated thousands of feet of sediment. Mixed with this sediment was organic matter, that under the heat and pressure of burial, turned into petroleum and natural gas. About two million years ago, great ice sheets spread out from Canada and covered much of the Midwestern and Eastern United States. The repeated advance and retreat of these glaciers had a major impact upon the geology and ecology of what we now see on the Gulf Coast. As the last glacier retreated, man crossed from Asia to North America and populated the New World. Mother Nature still alters the geology of the Gulf Coast with her floods, ocean currents, and hurricanes, but now man is also changing the region.

Gulf of Mexico Map

The Ice Age (Pleistocene Epoch)

Geology Links

Gulf of Mexico Program Office
Mail Code: EPA/GMPO
Stennis Space Center, MS 39529-6000
FAX: 228-688-2709

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