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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

CSPG Bulletin


Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology
Vol. 67 (2019), No. 2. (June), Pages 71-116

High-frequency sequences, paleogeography, and syn-depositional tectonism on a shallow clastic ramp: Doe Creek and Pouce Coupe members of the Late Cenomanian Kaskapau Formation, Western Canada Foreland Basin

A. Guy Plint, Michael A. Kreitner


The great Late Cenomanian transgression of the Greenhorn Sea is recorded in western Alberta and adjacacent British Columbia by shallow-marine deposits of the lower Kaskapau Formation that blanket underlying deltaic deposits of the Dunvegan Formation. Overlying the basal ‘A-X unit’ of the Kaskapau are the allostratigraphically-defined Doe Creek and Pouce Coupe units, each of which forms a SW-thickening wedge up to about 100 m thick. The Doe Creek and Pouce Coupe units comprise, respectively, 10 and 8 allomembers, each defined by a marine flooding surface. Doe Creek facies are organized in upward-shoaling successions less than about 10 m thick. Shallow-water marginal-marine facies prevail in the west and north, with transgressive mudstones overlain by thin, sharp-based shoreface sandstones that, in places, contain roots and dinosaur tracks. In some instances, marine mudstone grades directly upward into a rooted, muddy paleosol. Mapped regionally, these facies define a broad, shallow, SE-facing embayment approximately 200 × 200 km. Trace and molluscan fossils suggest that salinity was below normal marine level, and benthic fauna were, at times, stressed by high turbidity and sedimentation rate. The central part of the embayment is dominated by offshore mudstone that encloses isolated, sharp-based lenticular bodies of clean sandstone up to 9 m thick. Sandstones are ovoid to elongate in plan view, and commonly extend many tens of km N-S or NE-SW. These sandstones are interpreted as top-truncated lowstand delta and strandplain deposits that became isolated on the outer ramp following marine transgression. The sharp base of most shoreface sandstones implies that deposition took place during relative sea-level fall. All Doe Creek allomembers thicken into the foredeep, with the tectonically-flexed surface inclined to the SW. Palaeogeographic maps show, however, that lowstand shorelines were oriented approximately NE-SW, and that the depositional surface sloped to the SE. This geometric relationship implies that, despite tectonic subsidence increasing to the SW, the rate of sediment supply and efficiency of redistribution were able to maintain a wave-graded surface sloping to the SE. Because shorelines migrated across, rather than up and down tectonic dip, allomembers are interpreted to have been controlled primarily by high-rate, high-frequency eustatic cycles, rather than by tectonic movements. The Pouce Coupe unit represents a complete reversal of basin paleogeography relative to the Doe Creek. Pouce Coupe shoreface sandstones are stacked in a linear belt just west of 120°W and grade westward into offshore muddy facies that thicken to the WSW The entire unit is truncated eastward by the K1 unconformity and is absent over most of Alberta. It is postulated that the Proterozoic Kiskatinaw domain acted as a crustal weak zone, forming a hinge that defined the eastern margin of the Pouce Coupe flexural depocentre.

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