The Great American Carbonate Bank in Eastern Canada: An Overview
Denis Lavoie, André Desrochers, George Dix, Ian Knight, Osman Salad Hersi, 2012. "The Great American Carbonate Bank in Eastern Canada: An Overview", Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia, James Derby, Richard Fritz, Susan Longacre, William Morgan, Charles Sternbach
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The postrifted margin of Laurentia in eastern Canada had a rugged paleomorphology, with major salients and recesses formed during the long-lasting (Ediacaran to late Early Cambrian) breakup of Rodinia. After short-lived carbonate production during the Early Cambrian, the great American carbonate bank (GACB) was firmly established in the earliest Middle Cambrian as the last rift-related event (Hawke Bay event, late Early Cambrian), and was followed by mostly passive thermal subsidence of the continental crust of Laurentia.
Middle to Upper Cambrian carbonates are well preserved in the Port au Port Group in western Newfoundland (St. Lawrence promontory). Scattered outcrops of upper Middle to Upper Cambrian sedimentary rocks are found in southern and eastern Quebec (Quebec reentrant), although most of the preserved Upper Cambrian facies in the reentrant consist of nearshore to fluvial clastics unconformably overlying the Grenvillian basement. The Cambrian shallow-marine carbonates are dominated by high-energy facies with significant thrombolite reefs at the platform margin. The succession consists of large-scale transgressive-regressive cycles known as Cambrian grand cycles. Some anomalies in stacking patterns are suggestive of local tectonic events that were hypothesized based on the nature (facies and age) of carbonate clasts that accumulated on the continental slope. The Cambrian–Ordovician transition occurred at a time of a major sea level lowstand that resulted in a significant unconformity in southern Quebec and Ontario. In western Newfoundland, this sea level fall is recorded in the regressive facies of the last Cambrian grand cycle but did not culminate in subaerial exposure.
The duration of the depositional hiatus at the Cambrian–Ordovician transition increases toward the west from an early Skullrockian gap in the Philipsburg thrust slice in southeastern Quebec; the hiatus covered the entire Skullrockian in eastern Ontario. A major sea level rise at or near the base of the Ordovician resulted in sedimentation on an extensive peritidal, mud-dominated, low-energy carbonate platform. This platform is known as the St. George Group (western Newfoundland), the Beekmantown Group (southwestern Quebec and Ontario), the School House Hill Group (southeastern Quebec), and the Romaine Formation (Anticosti Island). The carbonate facies are characterized by large- and small-scale depositional cycles. Two third-order cycles are well documented inwestern Newfoundland. The presence of such cycles is also proposed farther south, although their precise character still has to be documented. Multiple fifth-order meter-scale peritidal-dominated cycles have been documented in the Lower Ordovician carbonates.
A diachronous change in depositional style occurred along the margin of Laurentia near the base of the Middle Ordovician. Facies patterns became controlled by faulting and accumulation rates increased significantly. These changes occurred first in the late Ibexian in southeastern Quebec and in the early Whiterockian elsewhere. At most localities, this transition is also expressed in a significant subaerial unconformity that is recognized along the entire eastern (paleosouthern) margin of Laurentia. This subaerial event is interpreted as resulting from lithosphere upwarping in front of the migrating Taconic orogenic wedge. The west-directed migration of the tectonic peripheral bulge resulted in the final destruction of the GACB as sedimentation resumed in a tectonically active foreland basin.
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Great American Carbonate Bank: The Geology and Economic Resources of the Cambrian—Ordovician Sauk Megasequence of Laurentia
The Great American Carbonate Bank (GACB) comprises the carbonates (and related siliciclastics) of the Sauk megasequence, which were deposited on and around the Laurentian continent during Cambrian through earliest Middle Ordovician, forming one of the largest carbonate-dominated platforms of the Phanerozoic. The Sauk megasequence, which ranges upwards of several thousand meters thick along the Bank's margin, consists of distinctive Lithofacies and fauna that are widely recognized throughout Laurentia. A refined biostratigraphic zonation forms the chronostratigraphic framework for correlating disparate outcrops and subsurface data, providing the basis for interpreting depositional patterns and the evolution of the Bank. GACB hydrocarbon fields have produced 4 BBO and 21 TCFG, mostly from reservoirs near the Sauk-Tippecanoe unconformity. The GACB is also a source of economic minerals and construction material and, locally, serves as either an aquifer or repository for injection of waste material. This Memoir comprises works on biostratigraphy, ichnology, stratigraphy, depositional facies, diagenesis, and petroleum and mineral resources of the GACB. It is dedicated to James Lee Wilson who first conceived of this publication and who worked on many aspects of the GACB during his long and illustrious career.