The Moosebar and Gates Formations crop out in the deformed Foothills belt south of Fort St. John, British Columbia. They permit examination of the depositional environments of sandstones and conglomerates that are gas-bearing in the equivalent Wilrich-Falher interval of the Deep basin of Alberta and British Columbia.
The Moosebar-Gates interval consists of several upward-coarsening and marine to nonmarine sequences. Moosebar bioturbated shales pass upward into turbidites and offshore storm deposits. Flow directions indicate a north-dipping paleoslope. A second coarsening-upward sequence at the top of the Moosebar and base of the Gates terminates in a lenticular fluvial conglomerate up to 30 m thick, which is overlain by coals, carbonaceous mudstones, and sandstones.
Above the carbonaceous zone, a major lateral facies change is observed. Fluvial conglomerates in the south grade into beach conglomerates northward. The upper part of the beach conglomerate consists of exposed three-dimensional storm berms, at least 500 m long, up to 1.5 m high, with wavelengths of 12 to 24 m. The berms trend east-west. Seaward of the conglomerate beach are herringbone cross-bedded (tidal) sandstones with a marine trace fauna. Graded sharp-based conglomerates also are present, probably washed out to sea by storms. Farther north, at the same stratigraphic level, is a series of partly overlapping conglomerate bars up to 5 m thick and 40 to 50 m across. The tops of these bars are covered with storm-formed symmetric conglomeratic dunes.
Details of the orientation and geometry of these conglomerate bodies, along with their internal structure and pebble fabrics, suggest that four major environments (fluvial, beach, offshore conglomerate bars, and off-shore graded storm conglomerates) should be identifiable and predictable in the subsurface.