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SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHIC ARCHITECTURE OF THE FRASNIAN CLINE CHANNEL, CENTRAL ALBERTA FRONT RANGES

By
P.K. Wong
P.K. Wong
2797 Dewdney Ave., Victoria, British Columbia V8R 3M3 Canada
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J.A.W. Weissenberger
J.A.W. Weissenberger
ATW Associates, 2427 Cherokee Dr. NW, Calgary, Alberta T2L 0X6 Canada
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M.G. Gilhooly
M.G. Gilhooly
Husky Energy, 707 8th Ave. SW, Calgary, Alberta T2P 3G7 Canada
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Published:
January 01, 2017
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Abstract

The southeast and northwest margins of the Frasnian (Upper Devonian) Cline Channel are preserved in excellent and continuous outcrop exposures at both Cripple Creek and Wapiabi Gap in the Alberta Rocky Mountains. Accretionary and interfingering platform margins allow detailed definition and correlation, from platform to basin, of significant sequence stratigraphic surfaces.

Eight Frasnian third-order composite sequences are defined using stratal and lithofacies stacking patterns, regional correlation of sequence boundaries, and maximum flooding surfaces, constrained by conodont biostratigraphy. They form part of an upper Givetian–Frasnian second-order transgressive–regressive depositional sequence. Most sequence boundaries observed show subaerial exposure. Others are inferred from stratal architecture, e.g., onlap of tidal-flat or reef margin deposits onto foreslope lithofacies.

The Cline Channel was filled asymmetrically from southeast to northwest along the described/studied transect. Progradation of platform margins is on a substrate of platform-derived fine-grained carbonates and extrabasinal clays that form argillaceous carbonates and calcareous shales. Stacking patterns of the composite sequences vary across the Cline Channel. On the southeast side, the second-order Givetian–Frasnian cycle is characterized by initial retrogradation followed by aggradation to retrogradation in the upper mid-Frasnian, and finally, progradation in the upper Frasnian. On the northwest side, the overall stacking pattern is aggradational.

With progressive basin filling, platform edges evolved from rimmed boundstone and/or grainstone to mainly grainstone. Foreslope declivity decreased from a minimum of 10° (WD3) to less than 1.5° (WI1) reflecting more ramp-like foreslopes. Coincident with this change, lowstand geometry evolved from wedge shaped to tabular. Where slope gradients were high, lowstands are wedges, less extensive and abutting antecedent highstands. With development of ramp-like geometries, lowstands became tabular and were detached from their antecedent shelf edges with even minor falls of relative sea level. Gentle slope gradients and larger areas for shallow-water carbonate production facilitated extensive lowstand development. Assignment of strata into systems tracts of ramp-like systems is facilitated by subregional correlation.

Decreasing accommodation within the second-order highstand is indicated by reduction in composite sequences (CSs) thickness and replacement of open marine with platform-interior strata as the basin shallowed and filled. Composite sequences became more asymmetric, developing thin, offlapping falling stage systems tracts in the late Frasnian, accompanied by a higher frequency of lowstands. Continuous outcrop exposures permitted the amount of relative sea-level fall to be estimated for the bounding surfaces of several CSs. Relative sea-level falls ranged from 9 to ~40 m.

INTRODUCTION

The Upper Devonian (Frasnian) carbonate outcrops of the Rocky Mountain fold and thrust belt in western Canada are some of the most spectacular in the world and comprise two large carbonate complexes, the Fairholme and the Southesk Cairn. These were separated through much of their depositional history by a basinal channel, termed the Cline Channel (Fig. 1). The Cline Channel connects the West Shale Basin with the proto-Pacific to the west and is 15 km across at its most narrow and was filled toward the end of the Frasnian. The Frasnian section is 425 m thick, consisting of dolostones and limestones with lateral equivalent argillaceous carbonates and shale. The margins of the Cline Channel are preserved in excellent and continuous outcrop exposures. Accretionary and interfingering platform margins occur at both Cripple Creek (Fairholme Complex) and Wapiabi Gap (Southesk Cairn Complex) locations (Fig. 2). Further southeast, at Burnt Timber, the southwest-oriented Cascade Channel separates the North from the South Fairholme Complex. The accretionary margins of the study area allow detailed platform to basin correlation of significant sequence stratigraphic surfaces, in contrast to the bypass-style margins at Miette and Ancient Wall (Whalen et al. 2000b).

This paper represents the first detailed sequence stratigraphic study of the Frasnian strata of the Rocky Mountains in west-central Alberta. It aims to

  1. 1.

    document the stratigraphic architecture of the major sequences and correlate them between the Cripple Creek, Wapiabi Gap, and North Burnt Timber areas;

  2. 2.

    investigate the influence of extrabasinal fine siliciclastics on the stratal stacking patterns of shallow-water carbonates and their foreslope geometry within the context of a second-order cycle;

  3. 3.

    document and explain differences in stratal and facies stacking patterns of coeval carbonate platforms from different parts of the study area; and

  4. 4.

    determine the amount of relative sea-level fall associated with some of the described sequence boundaries.

The present study builds on earlier work (reviewed below) by applying detailed facies and high-resolution sequence stratigraphic analysis.

Fig. 1

—Location map of the study area in the Rocky Mountain Front Ranges of west-central Alberta. Areas of carbonate platform and basin are indicated. The Cline Channel connects the West Shale Basin to proto-Pacific. The line of cross section is that of schematic shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 1

—Location map of the study area in the Rocky Mountain Front Ranges of west-central Alberta. Areas of carbonate platform and basin are indicated. The Cline Channel connects the West Shale Basin to proto-Pacific. The line of cross section is that of schematic shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 2

—Map of the study area showing line of cross-section A′–A in relation to the Frasnian Cline Channel, the Southesk Cairn, and the Fairholme complexes. This paleogeographic map is not palinspastically restored. Wapiabi Gap is located on the Big Horn thrust, whereas Cripple and Kiska creeks are on the McConnell thrust.

Fig. 2

—Map of the study area showing line of cross-section A′–A in relation to the Frasnian Cline Channel, the Southesk Cairn, and the Fairholme complexes. This paleogeographic map is not palinspastically restored. Wapiabi Gap is located on the Big Horn thrust, whereas Cripple and Kiska creeks are on the McConnell thrust.

Geological and Physiographic Setting

The Alberta Basin was located on the western margin of the North American craton during the Devonian. Numerous reefs and carbonate platforms developed within the basin, or were attached to low-relief landmasses (Fig. 1). Topographic features are the Canadian Shield to the east, the Peace River Arch to the northwest and the West Alberta Ridge that ran roughly parallel to the cratonic margin. Root (2001) interpreted this ridge as the distal forebulge of the Devonian Antler orogen.

In the late Devonian, the basin was located within 20° south of the equator, in the trade-wind belt. The dominant wind direction was from the northeast, consistent with a northeast–southwest orientation of the paleoequator (Witzke and Heckel 1989).

The Alberta Basin was filled asymmetrically (Fig. 3). Progradation of regional carbonate platforms was generally from east to west, on basin-filling strata composed of platform-derived fine-grained carbonates and extrabasinal clays (forming argillaceous carbonates and calcareous shale). Coeval carbonate buildups, which nucleated on regional carbonate platforms (e.g., Redwater) or the Western Alberta Ridge, mainly aggraded or backstepped. Fine extrabasinal clays provided a substrate for the progradation of shallow-water carbonates (Wendte and Uyeno 2005). Northeast- to southwest-oriented tradewinds, parallel or subparallel to the paleoequator, were a dominant control for the off-platform transportation of fine-grained carbonate (Wendte and Uyeno 2005). Equally important were storm-generated combined flows that moved sediment in a shoreline-parallel direction (Walker and Plint 1992). Stoakes (1980) invoked shoreline-parallel currents to account for the east to west progradation of the Ireton Formation shale.

Laramide tectonism affected the Frasnian strata so that the western part of the basin was ultimately buried under a thick foreland basin succession (up to 10 km thick). East-directed thrust faulting then carried the Devonian section to the surface in a series of thin-skinned thrust sheets (Porter et al. 1982). The margins of the Southesk Cairn and Fairholme complexes into the Cline Channel are exposed on the east–northeast facing eroded edges of successive thrust sheets; the Big Horn and McConnell thrusts respectively. The Burnt Timber outcrops described below also occur on the McConnell thrust.

The subsurface Devonian extends as a monocline from beneath the easternmost Laramide thrust, currently buried to approximately 6000 m, rising gradually to subcrop beneath Cretaceous strata, or outcrop adjacent to the Canadian Shield. These strata are essentially structurally undeformed and contain the aforementioned significant hydrocarbon reserves. Only small amounts of hydrocarbon have been discovered in these units in the fold and thrust belt.

Fig. 3

—Schematic sequence stratigraphic cross section of the Late Givetian to basal Famennian strata of Alberta showing the major third-order Frasnian CS of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Outcrop lithostratigraphic terms are indicated by circled letters. The Frasnian section is 425 m thick at Cripple Creek, in the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. A second-order late Givetian–Frasnian supersequence extends from the base of the Watt Mountain Formation to the base of the Wabamun Group. Basin fill is a mix of platform-derived carbonates and fine-grained extra basinal clay (forming argillaceous limestones and calcareous shale).

Fig. 3

—Schematic sequence stratigraphic cross section of the Late Givetian to basal Famennian strata of Alberta showing the major third-order Frasnian CS of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Outcrop lithostratigraphic terms are indicated by circled letters. The Frasnian section is 425 m thick at Cripple Creek, in the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. A second-order late Givetian–Frasnian supersequence extends from the base of the Watt Mountain Formation to the base of the Wabamun Group. Basin fill is a mix of platform-derived carbonates and fine-grained extra basinal clay (forming argillaceous limestones and calcareous shale).

Table 1.

—The main depositional environments, lithofacies, symbol legend, and color scheme for interpreted outcrop cross sections.r

Frasnian Depositional Environments and Lithofacies

Frasnian lithofacies and their environments of deposition have been extensively studied (in, e.g., Klovan 1964; Wendte 1994; Whalen et al. 2000a, 2000b; Wendte and Uyeno 2005) and are consequently well understood. Weissenberger (1994) proposed facies models, and idealized shoaling-upward cycles, for the major Frasnian formations in the Cline Channel area.

In the current study, 20 lithofacies (Table 1) are defined. The depositional environments and lithofacies model for Frasnian carbonate platform margins are shown in Figure 4. Most of the Frasnian carbonates of the Alberta front ranges are dolomitized, although sufficient detail of depositional texture and fabrics remain to allow facies definition.

Stratigraphic Terminology

Late Givetian to Famennian age strata are exposed in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, an extension of the hydrocarbon-bearing basin to the east. However, separate lithostratigraphic nomenclature for the outcrop and for the subsurface formations have been used (Fig. 3). In the manner of Taylor (1957) and Workum (1978), from 1989 onward we have applied the subsurface stratigraphic nomenclature across the entire province, including the outcrop belt. Subsurface lithostratigraphic names were preferred because, but for two or three lithostratigraphic names (e.g., Flume and Perdrix), the subsurface terms have precedence in the literature (Mountjoy 1980, fig. 4).

Fig. 4

—Depositional model for Frasnian reefal carbonate platform margins, Alberta.

Fig. 4

—Depositional model for Frasnian reefal carbonate platform margins, Alberta.

The cycle hierarchy terminology of Kerans (1991) and Kerans and Kempter (2002) is used herein. Therefore, high-frequency cycles (cycles) combine to form cycle sets, and cycle sets form highfrequency sequences (HFSs). High-frequency sequences form the building blocks of composite sequences (CS). This scheme is an attempt to be descriptive rather than assign specific durations to different levels of cycle hierarchy. However, an estimate follows: cycles = fifth-order sequences, HFS = fourth-order sequences, and composite sequences = third-order sequences (Mitchum and van Wagoner 1991). Systems tracts are used to describe the component strata deposited during a full cycle of sea-level rise and fall (Catuneanu et al. 2011).

The evolution of systems tract nomenclature between 1988 and 2000 is summarized in figures 3 and 4 of Catuneanu et al. (2011). We have used the following terms to describe the succession of systems tracts: lowstand (= lowstand wedge), transgressive, highstand (= early highstand), and falling stage (= lowstand fan, late highstand, forced regressive wedge) systems tract. Equivalent terms are in parentheses. Systems tract nomenclature used herein is derived from the following sources: Posamentier et al. 1988, van Wagoner et al. 1990, Hunt and Tucker 1992, and Plint and Nummedal 2000. In the current usage, the sequence boundary marks the end of falling relative sea level, capping either the highstand systems tract (HST) or falling stage systems tract (FSST), when developed.

Previous Work

The geological significance of the Cripple Creek area was first realized after the discovery of the Leduc oil field, in a Frasnian reef complex in February 1947. Industry geologists began to investigate the time-equivalent outcrops, including Imperial Oil, who described the Cripple Creek margin in the late 1940s (Fox 1951). The Geological Survey of Canada also undertook studies after the Leduc discovery (e.g., DeWit and McLaren 1950). Belyea (1954) described the platform margin at Wapiabi Gap.

Numerous papers describe the various Frasnian platforms and their margins in western Canada (see Moore 1989). Prior to the 1990s, most of the studies of the Alberta Frasnian were lithostratigraphic, paleontological, or sedimentological in nature. Previous work on Frasnian platform margins investigated in the Cline Channel area are at Cripple Creek (Dooge 1966, 1978; Workum 1978; Eliuk 1989) and Wapiabi Gap (Andrews 1988); and in the Burnt Timber area 90 km to the southeast (Dooge 1966, Tebbutt and Weissenberger 1987, Workum and Hedinger 1989, McLean and Mountjoy 1993). Some cyclostratigraphic and sequence stratigraphic concepts were used in the last three of these studies.

This paper continues and expands our previous work on the Frasnian geology of the Cline Channel area, including the Cripple Creek margin (Wong et al. 1989, Weissenberger et al. 1992, Weissenberger 1994, Wong et al. 1996). A slightly modified version of the sequence stratigraphic scheme of Potma et al. (2001) is used herein (Table 2). A more detailed discussion regarding similarities and differences arising from the sequence stratigraphic correlation of the different schemes for the Frasnian of Alberta Basin is provided in Wong et al. (2016).

Data and Methodology

The study area is located in the front ranges of west-central Alberta, 100 to 250 km northwest of Calgary (Figs. 1, 2). Thirty-one detailed sections (50–450 m thick) were measured from locations in the Burnt Timber, Boundary Creek, Cripple Creek, and Wapiabi Gap areas (Table 3) and are discussed in detail herein. These locations are characterized by accessible, vertically and/or laterally extensive exposures of Frasnian strata. Outcrop section descriptions were made from direct observation, with only a small number of samples taken for thin sections or polished slabs. Depositional cycles, sequences, and their component lithofacies were described. Samples were taken for conodont biostratigraphy, as discussed in Potma et al. (2001) and Wong et al. (2016).

At all locations, where platform to basin transitions were continuously exposed, cycle and sequence boundaries and lithofacies contacts from described sections were tied into photograph panoramas. These are located at North and South Burnt Timber, the Cripple Creek area (2 km wide), Wapiabi Creek, Wapiabi Skyline and Kiska Headwaters. The most detailed work was conducted in these outcrop “windows” and linked by further stratigraphic sections and reconnaissance work in intervening areas where outcrop continuity was poor. Typically these sections were one to several kilometers apart.

Table 2.

Comparison of the present and previous Givetian–Frasnian sequence stratigraphic schemes (Potma et al. 2001, 2002) of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.

In outcrop, dolomitization and recrystallization have removed some of the primary textures, fabrics, and subtle exposure features such as rhizoliths. Low-relief karst surfaces can therefore be easily over-looked. Also, present-day surface weathering can further obscure textures in the outcrops. However, depositional surfaces can be walked out; pronounced karst surfaces, facies, stratal stacking patterns, as well as cycle stacking patterns are readily documented.

Table 3.

—Location of measured sections.

Location name Latitude Longitude 
South Burnt Timber 1 51°26'5.14"N 115°25'36.81"W 
South Burnt Timber 2 51°26'11.18"N 115°25'44.36"W 
North Burnt Timber 1 51°29'19.88"N 115°29'14.58"W 
North Burnt Timber 2 51°29'25.95"N 115°29'5.09"W 
Boundary Creek 52° 6'22.13"N 115°58'42.23"W 
Nell Creek 52° 7'45.24"N 116° 1'35.58"W 
Ann Creek 52° 9'0.40"N 116° 3'34.75"W 
Cripple Creek Skyline 52° 9'21.19"N 116° 4'25.90"W 
Cripple Creek 1 52° 9'24.47"N 116° 4'28.40"W 
Cripple Creek 2 52° 9'23.64"N 116° 4'37.77"W 
Lunch Margin 52° 9'25.54"N 116° 4'45.34"W 
Fossil Corner 52° 9'27.26"N 116° 4'56.57"W 
Tina Creek 1 52° 9'33.17"N 116° 5'27.84"W 
Tina Creek 2 52° 9'41.26"N 116° 5'39.18"W 
North Tina 52° 9'53.14"N 116° 5'54.12"W 
Tina-North Ram 52°10'28.41"N 116° 6'37.61"W 
North Ram 52°11'17.42"N 116° 8'45.57"W 
Kiska Headwaters 1 52°13'59.01"N 116°13'47.49"W 
Kiska Headwaters 2 52°14'0.48"N 116°14'4.72"W 
Kiska Headwaters 3 52°14'6.80"N 116'14'28.84"W 
Kiska Creek 52°14'20.58"N 116°16'9.75"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 2 52°29'12.53"N 116°23'58.32"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 1 52°29'28.83"N 116°23'55.88"W 
Wapiabi Creek (3 sections] 52°29'23.22"N 116'25'8.76"W 
Wapiabi Gap Margin 52°29'22.23"N 116°25'15.28"W 
Wapiabi Gap Lag 52°29'47.02"N 116°2S'34.45"W 
Wapiabi Gap Revolution 52°29'53.96"N 116°25'35.86"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 1 52°30'12.92"N 116°26'5.29"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 2 52°30'17.09"N 116°267.99"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 3 52°30'53.68"N 116°26'50.18"W 
Location name Latitude Longitude 
South Burnt Timber 1 51°26'5.14"N 115°25'36.81"W 
South Burnt Timber 2 51°26'11.18"N 115°25'44.36"W 
North Burnt Timber 1 51°29'19.88"N 115°29'14.58"W 
North Burnt Timber 2 51°29'25.95"N 115°29'5.09"W 
Boundary Creek 52° 6'22.13"N 115°58'42.23"W 
Nell Creek 52° 7'45.24"N 116° 1'35.58"W 
Ann Creek 52° 9'0.40"N 116° 3'34.75"W 
Cripple Creek Skyline 52° 9'21.19"N 116° 4'25.90"W 
Cripple Creek 1 52° 9'24.47"N 116° 4'28.40"W 
Cripple Creek 2 52° 9'23.64"N 116° 4'37.77"W 
Lunch Margin 52° 9'25.54"N 116° 4'45.34"W 
Fossil Corner 52° 9'27.26"N 116° 4'56.57"W 
Tina Creek 1 52° 9'33.17"N 116° 5'27.84"W 
Tina Creek 2 52° 9'41.26"N 116° 5'39.18"W 
North Tina 52° 9'53.14"N 116° 5'54.12"W 
Tina-North Ram 52°10'28.41"N 116° 6'37.61"W 
North Ram 52°11'17.42"N 116° 8'45.57"W 
Kiska Headwaters 1 52°13'59.01"N 116°13'47.49"W 
Kiska Headwaters 2 52°14'0.48"N 116°14'4.72"W 
Kiska Headwaters 3 52°14'6.80"N 116'14'28.84"W 
Kiska Creek 52°14'20.58"N 116°16'9.75"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 2 52°29'12.53"N 116°23'58.32"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 1 52°29'28.83"N 116°23'55.88"W 
Wapiabi Creek (3 sections] 52°29'23.22"N 116'25'8.76"W 
Wapiabi Gap Margin 52°29'22.23"N 116°25'15.28"W 
Wapiabi Gap Lag 52°29'47.02"N 116°2S'34.45"W 
Wapiabi Gap Revolution 52°29'53.96"N 116°25'35.86"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 1 52°30'12.92"N 116°26'5.29"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 2 52°30'17.09"N 116°267.99"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 3 52°30'53.68"N 116°26'50.18"W 

Sequence Identification and Correlation: The stratigraphic framework is built on the detailed outcrop descriptions (Table 3) and further corroborated with additional data from the southern Jasper Basin (Weissenberger et al. 2016) and the subsurface (Potma et al. 2001, Wong et al. 2016). Stratigraphic correlations across the study area integrated biostratigraphy and sequence stratigraphy. Highfrequency and composite sequence boundaries and maximum flooding surfaces (MFS) were particularly useful for correlation.

Individual HFS were differentiated on the basis of pronounced lateral facies offset, either landward or basinward, stratal geometries, cycle stacking pattern, and, when developed, subaerial exposure surfaces. Equally important was correlation of these sequences from the carbonate complexes to their adjacent argillaceous basin-fill equivalents. Identification and correlation of HFS, CS, and their component systems tracts are best achieved in platform margin and slope strata, since minor changes in relative sea level are expressed in pronounced facies offset.

Table 4 summarizes the new CS and HFS stratigraphic framework, criteria used in sequence boundary recognition, their conodont ages (from Wong et al. 2016), lithostratigraphy, and stratigraphic evolution of the studied carbonate platforms and coeval basin fill.

SEQUENCE STRATIGRAPHIC FRAMEWORK

The strata between the base of the Givetian Gilwood Member (Watt Mountain Formation) and the top of the Blue Ridge Member (Graminia Formation) are interpreted as a second-order depositional sequence (Wong et al. 1992, Potma et al. 2001). This major episode of marine carbonate deposition in the Alberta Basin is bracketed by regional unconformities, with associated aerially extensive siliciclastic deposits. Ten CSs were defined within the second-order sequence (Wong et al. 1992, Potma et al. 2001) of which three have been redefined (Fig. 2; Wong et al. 2016).

Table 4.

Stratigraphic summary chart of the Cline Channel area: Composite and high-frequency sequences, bounding surfaces, component systems tracts, conodont biostratigraphy, and significant depositional events.

Cross-section A–A′ shows the sequence stratigraphy of the Cline Channel (Fig. 5). It depicts the Upper Givetian to Frasnian secondorder cycle previously described in Potma et al. (2001). Owing to the presence of the topographically high West Alberta Ridge, the BHL1, BHL2, and most of the BHL3 were not deposited in the study area.

The composite sequences are discussed below, in stratigraphic order. By convention, the sequences are named after the basal sequence boundary, and all figures are labeled accordingly. For example, the component high-frequency sequences of the WD2 composite sequence are the WD2.1, WD2.2, and WD2.3. Typically, the basal composite and oldest high-frequency sequence boundaries coincide so that, in this case, both would be referred to as the WD2.1. Where two superposed orders of HFS exist, the higher frequency subsets are noted with an additional number, e.g., WD2.1.1 and WD2.1.2. Cycle sets within a HFS are labeled with letters, for example, WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b. Detailed descriptions of the lithofacies observed in the study area are given in Table 1. Where high-frequency and composite sequence MFSs coincide, the composite MFS name is preferred, e.g., WD1 MFS (= WD1.4 MFS).

Two regional cross sections show the lithofacies and sequence stratigraphic evolution of the study area (Figs. 5, 6). Figure 6 documents the high-frequency cycles (cycles) and component lithofacies of the second-order late transgressive systems tract (TST), composed of the uppermost BHL3, WD1, and the lower WD2 CS. Correlation of nine measured sections, located between Boundary Creek and Wapiabi Gap, were made at the cycle set, HFS, and CS scale and forms the basis of the HFS stratigraphy depicted in Figure 5. A comparison of the lithostratigraphy and its relationship to the nine Frasnian CSs is illustrated in Tables 2 and 4.

Beaverhill Lake Composite Sequence 3

The Beaverhill Lake CS 3 (BHL3) is the oldest Frasnian CS within the outcrop study area. It unconformably overlies Cambrian strata (Lynx Group) and is of variable thickness related to topography on the underlying pre-Devonian unconformity. It is thickest (10 m) within the Frasnian Cline Channel in the Kiska area (Figs. 5, 6) and thins to the north and south, eventually onlapping the pre-Devonian unconformity. The sequence comprises upward shoaling meter-scale cycles of Amphipora-bulbous stromatoporoid packstone–wackestone to fenestral or cryptalgal laminites at the Wapiabi Gap and Kiska areas. It is well developed in the subsurface of Alberta but thins in the Front Range outcrops because of the presence of the West Alberta Ridge (Fig. 3).

Woodbend 1 Composite Sequence

Introduction: The Woodbend 1 (WD1) CS consists of four HFS: WD1.2, WD1.3, WD1.4, and WD1.5. Individual sequences are 20 to 25 m thick (Table 4). Subdivision of this CS into transgressive (WD1.2, WD1.3, and WD1.4 TST) and highstand (WD1.4 HST and WD1.5) systems tracts is based on a combination of stratal stacking and lithofacies patterns. At Wapiabi Gap, on the northwestern margin of the Cline Channel, Woodbend 1 strata, approximately 97 m thick, are continuously exposed over a 5-km distance (Figs. 2, 58). It is of similar thickness, 98 m, on the southeast margin of the Cline Channel, where it is more aerially extensive, but discontinuously exposed, over a 25-km transect. There is a distinct symmetry within the sequence, with comparable proportions of transgressive and highstand systems tracts.

Based on regional correlations (summarized in Wong et al. 2016) the WD1.1 HFS was deposited only in the Alberta subsurface as an onlapping unit. Consequently, the WD1.2 HFS is the oldest HFS of the WD1 CS in the study area. The WD1.1 and WD1.2 surfaces coincide to form the WD1.1/WD1.2 composite sequence boundary. Criteria used in defining HFS boundaries are summarized in Table 5 for all measured sections depicted in Figure 6. These include cycle stacking patterns, systematic variations in facies proportions, pronounced landward or basinward facies offset, and karst surfaces.

The base of WD1 (WD1.1/WD1.2 composite sequence boundary) is a bleached, low-relief karst surface developed over laminated mudstone at Wapiabi Gap. In the adjacent Jasper Basin, north of the current study area, Noble (1970) noted the distinctive “light weathering” coloration of limestones underlying this surface and named it the Utopia Member of the Flume Formation. He reported its widespread development at Ancient Wall, Miette, and Big Hill (Sunwapta Pass) localities (Fig. 1).

WD1 TST: The CS TST consists of HFSs WD1.2, WD1.3, and WD1.4 TST that form flat-lying aggradational to gently backstepping platform strata. The lowermost WD1.2 HFS is composed of meter-scale upward shoaling cycles in the study area. A typical cycle consists of Amphipora and bulbous-branching stromatoporoid packstone–wackestone overlain by Amphipora dominated pack-stone– wackestone, and (lastly, when developed) a cryptalgal laminite cap.

The overlying WD1.3 HFS initiated by retrogradation over one or two cycles within the carbonate complexes along the Cline Channel margins (Figs. 57). On the northeast margin at the Wapiabi Gap reef location, platform-interior meter-scale upward shoaling cycles of the WD1.2 HFS transition upsection into peloidal grainstone–packstone, reflecting landward retreat of platform-margin deposits. Similarly, on the southeast margin at North Ram River, skeletal grainstone overlies platform-interior strata and represents a landward shift of over 7.4 km. In the most landward locations at Boundary Creek and Cripple Creek Skyline, there is an abrupt vertical change from Amphipora dominated packstone–wackestone to hemispherical–bulbous and branching stromatoporoid packstone and represent change from restricted to open lagoon deposition.

At Wapiabi Gap, the succeeding WD1.4 TST is thin and consists of backstepping, shoaling-upward cycles of peloidal packstone reflecting allochthonous foreslope deposition. A distinctive oncolitic packstone unit is located below the WD1 MFS. The oncoids are very large, up to 10 cm in diameter, with nuclei of either crinoid, gastropod, brachiopod, or coral fragments. The unit is up to 3 m thick and constitutes a useful local marker bed. The MFS is recognized from the stratal stacking and lithofacies pattern, marking the turnaround from retrogradation to progradation (Figs. 7, 8). Figure 7 is a sequence stratigraphic cross section of the Wapiabi Gap area, and Figure 8 is an interpreted stratigraphy and lithofacies overlay of the area at measured section WCZ. Both figures show flat-laying peloidal packstone–wackestone of the WD1.4 TST overlain by forestepping strata of the WD1.4 HST.

A similar HFS is developed in the Fairholme Complex, on the southeast margin of the Cline Channel. Between Tina North and North Ram, cycles predating and postdating the WD1 MFS consist of peloidal packstone–grainstone representing reef-flat to proximal open lagoon environments near the platform edge (Fig. 6). The MFS is represented by 1 to 2 m of branching coral–peloidal packstone with open marine fauna of brachiopods and crinoids; or at Cripple Creek Skyline, by hemispherical and tabular stromatoporoid grainstone that abruptly overlies open lagoon strata of branching to bulbous stromatoporoid and branching coral packstone–wackestone.

Fig. 5

—Southeast to northwest cross section of the Cline Channel, from Cripple Creek to Wapiabi Gap. Line of cross section is located in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type. Boxes demarcate areas of continuous exposure and detailed study, where measured sections were supplemented by photomontages and field mapping.

Fig. 5

—Southeast to northwest cross section of the Cline Channel, from Cripple Creek to Wapiabi Gap. Line of cross section is located in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type. Boxes demarcate areas of continuous exposure and detailed study, where measured sections were supplemented by photomontages and field mapping.

Fig. 6

—Correlation of cycles, cycle sets, high-frequency, and composite sequences from Boundary Creek to Wapiabi Gap Reef. Line of cross section is shown in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type.

Fig. 6

—Correlation of cycles, cycle sets, high-frequency, and composite sequences from Boundary Creek to Wapiabi Gap Reef. Line of cross section is shown in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type.

Fig. 7

—Cross section showing the WD1 and WD2 CSs, their component HFSs, cycle sets and lithofacies composition at Wapiabi Gap.

Fig. 7

—Cross section showing the WD1 and WD2 CSs, their component HFSs, cycle sets and lithofacies composition at Wapiabi Gap.

WD1 HST: The WD1 CS HST consists of the following high frequency sequence systems tracts: WD1.4 HST, WD1.5 TST, and WD1.5 HST. At Wapiabi Gap, northwest margin Cline Channel, the WD1.4 HST is characterized by forestepping grainstone–packstone cycles, with dip gradients that progressively increase with progradation. A series of amalgamated tabular stromatoporoid buildups have initiated on the dipping foreslope of the overlying WD1.5 HFS (Figs. 7, 8). The buildups pinch-out upslope and are absent in the platform interior of the Southesk Cairn Complex, where the WD1.5 basal surface is recessively weathered. Instead, the same surface is karsted with a caliche crust (Cardinal River Headwaters area; Weissenberger et al. 2016) near the northwest margin of this platform.

Foreslope gradients of the WD1.5 HFS steepen from 22° to 35° during progradation (Fig. 8). When traced landward, the steeply dipping beds of in situ thin tabular and branching stromatoporiod and branching coral packstone–wackestone transition into the gently dipping strata of hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone margin and eventually into flat-lying platform-interior strata. The last phase of WD1.5 stromatoporoid margin progradation is over a distinctive grainstone foreslope wedge. This change from in situ middle and lower foreslope of tabular-wafer-branching stromatoporoid packstone–wackestone to allochthonous foreslope packstone–grainstone is sharp and related to a slip surface cutting across the hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone margin. The surface has a 25° dip. A postslip boundstone margin occupies much of the upper foreslope and is the source of this allochthonous grainstone.

On the southeast side of the Cline Channel, the CS highstand is represented by cyclic, meter-scale, cryptalgal laminite capped, Amphipora and bulbous-branching stromatoporoid packstone–wackestone strata. The margin is not exposed in outcrop.

Woodbend 2 Composite Sequence

Introduction: Within the Cline Channel, this CS is dominated by retrogradation, followed by aggradation and the onset of euxinic deposition related to the (Givetian–) Frasnian supersequence transgressive maximum. The WD2 is composed of three HFSs, each approximately 45 to 80 m thick and subdivided into component lowstand (WD2.1a and WD2.1b), transgressive (WD2.1c, WD2.1d, WD2.2, and WD2.3 TST), and highstand (WD2.3 HST) systems tracts (Table 4; Figs. 6, 7, 9, 10). The CS lowstand is extensively exposed at three separate locations allowing well constrained estimates of relative sea-level fall.

Excellent exposures of the WD2.1 sequence boundary occur on the northwest margin of the Cline Channel at Wapiabi Gap. The surface can be followed over a distance of 2.5 km. Its expression changes laterally. On the antecedent platform margin, it is karsted (and bleached) with a maximum relief of 15 m (Fig. 8). Underlying WD1 foresets of interbedded peloidal packstone–grainstone are truncated along the ravinement-modified sequence boundary. A 2.5 m thick unit of coarse-grained abraded stromatoporoid rubble to branching stromatoporoid grainstone overlies the marine ravinement surface (sensu Nummedal and Swift 1987) and is interpreted to be a transgressive lag. Stromatoporoid clasts, up to 5 cm in diameter, are well rounded (Fig. 11). The lag is extensive, over 200 m wide (Fig. 8), and eventually onlaps the WD2.1 sequence boundary. Overlying foresets of grainstone–packstone downlap onto the lag. One and a half kilometers southeast and basinward, the surface is developed over interlaminated packstone and grainstone, representing distal alloch-thonous foreslope deposits. It is sharp, undulatory, and overlain by red iron oxide stained siliciclastic mudstone (Fig. 12A).

Fig. 8

—Outcrop photograph and interpreted overlay of the WD1 CS showing systems tracts, component HFSs, cycle sets, stratal stacking patterns, lithofacies, ravinement truncation, and transgressive lag of stromatoporoid grainstone above the WD2.1 sequence boundary (extreme left). Note change in stratal patterns, from subhorizontal and aggradational to progradational, across the WD1 MFS. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 1 in Figure 9.

Fig. 8

—Outcrop photograph and interpreted overlay of the WD1 CS showing systems tracts, component HFSs, cycle sets, stratal stacking patterns, lithofacies, ravinement truncation, and transgressive lag of stromatoporoid grainstone above the WD2.1 sequence boundary (extreme left). Note change in stratal patterns, from subhorizontal and aggradational to progradational, across the WD1 MFS. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 1 in Figure 9.

Table 5.

High-frequency sequence boundary definition criteria for all measured sections depicted in Figure 6. These include cycle stacking patterns, systematic variations in facies proportions, and pronounced landward or basinward facies offset.

Location\HFS Boundary Creek Cripple Creek Skyline Tina North Tina North Ram North Ram River Kiska Headwaters Kiska Creek Wapiabi Gap off-reef Wapiabi Gap Reef 
WD2.2 by correlation by correlation top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles/by correlation by correlation basinal deposits basinal deposits basinal deposits section coveed pronounced backstep, top of thin platform-interior cycles 
WD2.1 top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles karst, iron oxide stained, thin bank-interior cycles section partly covered section covered upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced basinward facies offset basinal deposits karst, pronounced basinward facies offset karst, upward thinning of platform -interior cycles, pronounced backstep 
WD1.5 by correlation top of thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles section covered amalgamated (?) cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation basinal deposits by correlation top of upward shoaling facies succession 
WD1.4 by correlation, below WD1 mfs thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) by correlation, below WD1MFS top of upward shoaling fades succession section covered basinal deposits pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) 
WD1.3 upward thinning of platform-interior cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation upward thinning of platform-interior cycles thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of platform-interior cycles top of cryptalgal laminite, drowned platform top top of cryptalgal laminite top of cryptalgal laminite, close to overlying facies offset 
WD1.1/1.2 not deposited top of cryptalgal laminite karsted lime mudstone top of first cryptalgal laminite not deposited upward thinning of platform-interior cycles backstep (landward facies offset) karst on thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles top of cryptalgal laminite 
Location\HFS Boundary Creek Cripple Creek Skyline Tina North Tina North Ram North Ram River Kiska Headwaters Kiska Creek Wapiabi Gap off-reef Wapiabi Gap Reef 
WD2.2 by correlation by correlation top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles/by correlation by correlation basinal deposits basinal deposits basinal deposits section coveed pronounced backstep, top of thin platform-interior cycles 
WD2.1 top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles karst, iron oxide stained, thin bank-interior cycles section partly covered section covered upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced basinward facies offset basinal deposits karst, pronounced basinward facies offset karst, upward thinning of platform -interior cycles, pronounced backstep 
WD1.5 by correlation top of thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles section covered amalgamated (?) cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation basinal deposits by correlation top of upward shoaling facies succession 
WD1.4 by correlation, below WD1 mfs thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) by correlation, below WD1MFS top of upward shoaling fades succession section covered basinal deposits pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) 
WD1.3 upward thinning of platform-interior cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation upward thinning of platform-interior cycles thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of platform-interior cycles top of cryptalgal laminite, drowned platform top top of cryptalgal laminite top of cryptalgal laminite, close to overlying facies offset 
WD1.1/1.2 not deposited top of cryptalgal laminite karsted lime mudstone top of first cryptalgal laminite not deposited upward thinning of platform-interior cycles backstep (landward facies offset) karst on thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles top of cryptalgal laminite 

At the Cripple Creek Skyline and Boundary Creek locations within the Fairholme Complex, this surface is developed over platform-interior deposits and is expressed as a variably red-stained low-relief karst surface. The staining is not persistent laterally so that the surface is best identified in areas of continuous exposure.

WD2 LST: The WD2.1 HFS is subdivided it into transgressive (WD2.1a) and highstand (WD2.1b, c, and d) cycle sets. The lowermost cycle sets (WD2.1a and WD2.1b) were deposited below the antecedent WD1 shelf edge and form the onlapping lowstand systems tracts (Fig. 9). The most complete exposures are at Wapiabi Creek, where the WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b form an approximately 40 m thick wedge between measured sections located at WCX and WCY, 700 m north of Wapiabi Creek (Fig. 9). Similar onlapping lowstands are developed at Kiska Headwaters (southeast margin, Cline Channel) and South Burnt Timber (southeast margin, Cascade Channel) locations (Fig. 1).

The WD2.1.a cycle set is thin, consisting of two retrogradational cycles, each approximately 10 m thick. A flat-lying lower (basal) cycle onlaps antecedent WD1 peloidal wackestone–packstone (distal foreslope strata) between the sections at Wapiabi Off-Reef and Wapiabi Creek locations (Fig. 7). It thins north, and landward, to 1 m thick at Wapiabi Creek (Fig. 10). This lower cycle comprises Amphipora packstone–wackestone, bulbous and branching stromatoporoid packstone–wackestone, and stromatoporoid rubble (Fig. 12B). It represents a transgressive succession of lagoonal deposits overlain by reef-flat strata. The upper cycle is backstepped relative to the underlying basal cycle and is a skeletal grainstone shoal margin that onlaps the WD2.1 surface 300 m north, landward, of Wapiabi Creek, at location WCX (Fig. 9).

The overlying second cycle set (WD2.1.b), approximately 25 m thick, is a succession of grainstone, tabular stromatoporoid boundstone, and overlying hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone representing foreslope to reef margin strata. These are in gradational to sharp, erosional contact with underlying organic-rich basinal strata of gray lime mudstone and shale (Fig. 10). The foreslope is characterized by steep depositional dips of 25–30° that downlap onto the MFS at the base of the cycle set. Belyea (1954) previously described this platform to basin transition.

A similar onlapping wedge composed of cycle set WD2.1.b is developed at Kiska Headwaters, on the southeast margin of the Cline Channel (Fig. 13). The lowstand comprises two aggradational cycles. A lowermost cycle is composed of 12 m of peloidal–Amphipora packstone and cryptalgal laminite. These lagoon and tidal-flat strata terminate by onlap against the dipping (5–15°) WD2.1 sequence boundary. When traced basinward, the platform-interior strata transition to skeletal grainstone. The overlying cycle is 20 m thick, comprising similar margin and platform-interior deposits. Underlying the WD2.1 sequence boundary is a vertical succession of argillaceous nodular lime mudstone, wafer stromatoporoid–coral wackestone–packstone, and tabular stromatoporoid wackestone–boundstone representing basin to foreslope environments of the antecedent WD1 CS.

The South Burnt Timber outcrop is the southern margin of the large marine Cascade Channel in the Fairholme Complex (Fig. 1). Previous workers (Dooge 1966, Workum and Tebbutt 1984, Tebbutt and Weissenberger 1987, Workum and Hedinger 1989, McLean and Mountjoy 1993) have described this well-exposed, abrupt platform margin. Our interpretation of the outcrop traverses and photomontage has been aided by restoring several minor normal faults, yielding a better appreciation of the stratigraphic geometries (Fig. 14). Two important surfaces are recognized. A lower surface (basal surface of forced regression [BSFR]) follows the form of the underlying foreslope. An overlying basinward thinning grainstone unit is 8 m thick. The WD2.1 sequence boundary caps this grainstone. It is onlapped by the progradational WD2.1.b cycle set, ~30 m thick; consisting of horizontally bedded strata that change laterally into steeply dipping (20° dip) skeletal grainstone foresets. The age and stratigraphic position of this lowstand is well constrained by biostratigraphic data (Wong et al. 2016).

Fig. 9

—Interpreted photomontage of stratal stacking patterns within the WD1 and WD2 composite sequences showing onlapping and progradational geometries associated with the WD2 CS lowstand (WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b cycle sets). Underlying WD1 CS highstand foresets are truncated along the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary, as shown in box 1 and Figure 8. Progradation of the WD2.1.c cycle set (= WD2 CS TST) ends at the lowstand shelf edge, immediately south of Wapiabi Creek. North side of Wapiabi Creek, boxes 1 and 2 refer to Figures 8 and 10, respectively.

Fig. 9

—Interpreted photomontage of stratal stacking patterns within the WD1 and WD2 composite sequences showing onlapping and progradational geometries associated with the WD2 CS lowstand (WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b cycle sets). Underlying WD1 CS highstand foresets are truncated along the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary, as shown in box 1 and Figure 8. Progradation of the WD2.1.c cycle set (= WD2 CS TST) ends at the lowstand shelf edge, immediately south of Wapiabi Creek. North side of Wapiabi Creek, boxes 1 and 2 refer to Figures 8 and 10, respectively.

Fig. 10

—The WD2.1 HFS lowstand consists of prograding hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone overlying tabular stromatoporoid packstone–boundstone at Wapiabi Creek. Carbonate sand (lithofacies 6A) overlies the erosive contact (wavy black dashed/solid line) developed on organic-rich calcareous shale (lithofacies 10). Note the steep foreslope dips of 25–30°. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 2 in Figure 9.

Fig. 10

—The WD2.1 HFS lowstand consists of prograding hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone overlying tabular stromatoporoid packstone–boundstone at Wapiabi Creek. Carbonate sand (lithofacies 6A) overlies the erosive contact (wavy black dashed/solid line) developed on organic-rich calcareous shale (lithofacies 10). Note the steep foreslope dips of 25–30°. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 2 in Figure 9.

WD2 TST: The TST of this composite sequence displays aggradational and retrogradational strata of the following HFSs and their component cycle sets and systems tracts: WD2.1.c, WD2.1.d, WD2.2, and WD2.3 TST (Table 4). The oldest cycle sets (WD2.1.c and WD2.1.d) are aggradational or retrogradational at the northwest and southeast margins, respectively, of the Cline Channel (Figs. 58). On the northwest margin, the WD2.1.c cycle set is 20 m thick. This cycle set is exposed along a 700 m wide transect north of Wapiabi Creek and consists of peloidal–skeletal grainstone representing foreslope and platform-margin environments that change into meter-scale platform-interior cycles at Wapiabi Gap Reef (1.7 km northwest). It consists of strongly progradational skeletal–peloidal grainstone–packstone (progradation:aggradation ratio of 25; sensu Tinker 1998), best documented along a 150 m transect south of section WCZ (Fig. 9, solid horizontal bright blue arrow shows shelfedge trajectory). The dashed arrow ends at the last visible foresets. Succeeding younger margins are aggradational, forming the subvertical northwest platform margin of the Cline Channel at Wapiabi Gap (Fig. 5). Similarly, at South Burnt Timber on the southeast margin, Cascade Channel, this CS TST cycle set is 22 m thick and has prograded 90 m beyond the lowstand shelf edge (progradation:ag-gradation ratio of 4; Fig. 14). The initial cycle set (WD2.1.c) of the CS TST is aggradational to progradational above the lowstand margins of South Burnt Timber and Wapiabi Gap. In contrast at Kiska Headwaters, on the southeast margin of the Cline Channel, the first cycle set is stepped back from the preceding lowstand (Fig. 6).

The last cycle set of the WD2.1 HFS, the WD2.1.d, is approximately 18 m thick and consists of a series of retrogradational meter-scale platform-interior cycles with peloidal packstone–grain-stone that forms the southeast margin of the Cline Channel (Figs. 5, 6). At the northwest margin, the WD2.1d is aggradational.

Fig. 11

—(a) Bedded peloidal–skeletal packstone and grainstone underlie sequence boundary, 0.75 km north of Wapiabi Creek. (b) Branching stromatoporoid–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone transgressive lag overlying the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary.

Fig. 11

—(a) Bedded peloidal–skeletal packstone and grainstone underlie sequence boundary, 0.75 km north of Wapiabi Creek. (b) Branching stromatoporoid–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone transgressive lag overlying the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary.

The remainder of the WD2 TST, from Boundary Creek to Cripple Creek Skyline, is aggradational, consisting of the overlying WD2.2 and WD2.3 HFS that are approximately 50 m and 30 m thick, respectively. The WD2.2 basal sequence boundary is characterized by an abrupt landward facies shift of grainy packstone over bulbous and branching stromatoporoid packstone at Tina North. It reflects shoal margin overlying lagoonal environments. This is a conformable surface at the Boundary Creek to Cripple Creek Skyline locations and one of two conformable HFS boundaries in the study area (Table 4). In the subsurface at Redwater reef, it is an exposure surface (Wong et al. 2016).

From Boundary Creek to Cripple Creek Skyline, the WD2.2 HFS TST comprises a lower cycle set of retrograding meter-scale cryptalgal laminite capped cycles of Amphipora packstone–wackestone, a continuation of the backstepping motif observed in the underlying WD2.1 HFS. These are fronted by a peloidal–skeletal grainstone margin basinward. Small patch reefs of tabular and hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone overlie the grainstone at Cripple Creek. The reefs are up to 50 m in diameter and grow to a height of 30 m (Figs. 1517) in the ensuing WD2.2 HFS HST but do not persist into the overlying WD2.3 HFS. Growth was terminated by drowning or inundation by prograding foreslope sands. The patch reefs of the WD2.2 TST are developed within the same interval at Big Hill and Grassi Lakes; helpful for regional correlation (Wong et al. 2016).

Fig. 12

A) Red iron oxide stained shale (~1 cm thick) at the WD2.1 sequence boundary, underlain by laminated peloidal packstone–grainstone distal foreslope strata. Reef-flat stromatoporoid rubble grainstone overlies the sequence boundary. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef. Lens cap diameter is 7.5 cm. B) The WD2.1 sequence boundary (indicated by red arrows), separating red iron oxide stained thin-bedded packstone and grainstone foreslope strata from overlying backstepping Amphipora packstone–wackestone, skeletal grain-stone, and stromatoporoid rubble succession. Staining is derived from the red shale seam at the WD2.1 surface. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef.

Fig. 12

A) Red iron oxide stained shale (~1 cm thick) at the WD2.1 sequence boundary, underlain by laminated peloidal packstone–grainstone distal foreslope strata. Reef-flat stromatoporoid rubble grainstone overlies the sequence boundary. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef. Lens cap diameter is 7.5 cm. B) The WD2.1 sequence boundary (indicated by red arrows), separating red iron oxide stained thin-bedded packstone and grainstone foreslope strata from overlying backstepping Amphipora packstone–wackestone, skeletal grain-stone, and stromatoporoid rubble succession. Staining is derived from the red shale seam at the WD2.1 surface. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef.

The overlying WD2.3 HFS TST consists of an aggradational cycle set. It is characterized by wafer stromatoporoid to small branching coral packstone–wackestone of the lower foreslope that shoals upward into skeletal–peloidal grainstone of the margin.

At Wapiabi Gap, the platform to basin transitions of these and younger Woodbend Group sequences are poorly exposed. The platform-interior WD2.2 and WD2.3 HFS consists of meter-scale cycles dominated by Amphipora packstone or branching and bulbous stromatoporoid packstone. The lagoonal strata shoal into either cryptalgal laminite or grainy fenestral packstone.

Fig. 13

—The WD2 composite sequence LST at Kiska Creek, consisting of two aggradational cycle sets. Each cycle set is composed of peloidal and Amphipora packstone (platform-interior strata) with coeval grainstone margins. The lowstand is in sharp contact with and onlaps the antecedent WD1 CS comprised of dipping (5–15°) middle foreslope deposits.

Fig. 13

—The WD2 composite sequence LST at Kiska Creek, consisting of two aggradational cycle sets. Each cycle set is composed of peloidal and Amphipora packstone (platform-interior strata) with coeval grainstone margins. The lowstand is in sharp contact with and onlaps the antecedent WD1 CS comprised of dipping (5–15°) middle foreslope deposits.

The WD2 CS MFS = WD2.3 MFS and mark the turnaround from retrogradational to progradational stratal stacking of the Frasnian section at Cripple Creek and is interpreted to be the second-order MFS (Figs. 5, 15, 16).

WD2 HST: The HST of the WD2 CS and WD2.3 HFS coincide. At Cripple Creek Skyline, this HST is characterized by basal wafer stromatoporoid to small branching coral packstone–wackestone of a lower foreslope setting that shoal upward into skeletal–peloidal grainstone of the platform margin. Continuous exposure of the WD2.3 HFS top (= WD3.1 sequence boundary) allows correlation from the cryptalgal laminite cap to basinal strata over a distance of 700 m. The 18 m thick WD2.3 HST at Cripple Creek Skyline thins to less than 5 m of finely interbedded centimeter-thick siliciclastic mudstone and black shale, representing basinal lithofacies of the Duvernay Formation, at Fossil Corner. At Tina North, 1.4 km basinward, this unit is 6 m thick and consists of 2 m of black shale overlain by 4 m of finely interbedded centimeter-thick siliciclastic mudstone and black shale. Platform top to basin relief in the Cripple Creek area reached over 60 m at this time (Figs. 5, 15, 16). This relief resulted from upbuilding carbonate platforms at the level of the WD2.2 HFS MFS to the WD3.1 sequence boundary during starved basin conditions.

Woodbend 3 Composite Sequence

Introduction: The WD3 was deposited immediately above the transgressive maximum of the second-order (Givetian–) Frasnian depositional sequence and comprises two HFSs; subdivided into a thick CS TST (WD3.1 HFS and WD3.2 HFS LST–TST) and a thin, poorly developed CS HST (WD3.2 HST). Between Cripple Creek Skyline and Fossil Corner, on the southeastern margin of the Cline Channel, the WD3.1 basal sequence boundary is conformable (Figs. 15, 17). By contrast, in the subsurface (Grosmont Shelf, Golden Spike, and Redwater reefs; Potma et al. 2001,Wong et al. 2016), and in the Jasper Basin (Weissenberger et al. 2016) it is interpreted to be an exposure surface.

Fig. 14

—Onlapping composite sequence LST (WD2.1.b cycle set) at South Burnt Timber. Foresets downlap onto the WD2.1 high-frequency sequence MFS. The basal WD2.1 sequence boundary has eroded into the antecedent basal surface of forced regression. Location of restored normal faults indicated by the letter “F.”

Fig. 14

—Onlapping composite sequence LST (WD2.1.b cycle set) at South Burnt Timber. Foresets downlap onto the WD2.1 high-frequency sequence MFS. The basal WD2.1 sequence boundary has eroded into the antecedent basal surface of forced regression. Location of restored normal faults indicated by the letter “F.”

WD3 TST: Within the Cline Channel, the southeast margins are aggradational evolving into retrogradational as platform relief continues to increase with upbuilding. The WD3.1 HFS TST is a 5.5 m thick cycle of tabular stromatoporoid boundstone and associated grainstone. The overlying WD3.1 HFS highstand contain two cycle sets, 35 m thick, with coarse-grained skeletal–peloidal grainstone margins (Fig. 15). The first cycle set is aggradational and the second is stepped back 500 m.

At the Cripple Creek Skyline, the basal contact of the overlying WD3.2 HFS is a sharp surface upon which reef-flat grainstone (2.5 m thick; Fig. 18) with laminoid (beach bubble) fenestrae abruptly overlie branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone of the lower foreslope (Figs. 15, 17). This basal grainstone increases in thickness to 24 m thick at the Lunch Margin location. It forms an onlapping, wedge-shaped hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone, an in situ lowstand (labeled wedge; Fig. 17). The boundstone interfingers basinward with allochthonous foreslope grainstone containing layers of cobble-sized hemispherical stromatoporoid debris (Fig. 19).

Deposited basinward of this boundstone wedge is a series of cyclic, upward coarsening branching coral and skeletal–peloidal packstone–grainstone (Figs. 15, 17). Each cycle is 3 to 10 m thick, wavy to hummocky laminated at the base; becoming thicker, parallel laminated and lighter colored at the top. These form a second, but allochthonous, wedge of packstone–grainstone that ranges up to 36 m thick, thinning and lapping on the in situ boundstone wedge in a landward direction to the southeast. The uppermost 3 m of this grainstone–packstone wedge can be traced over and above the top of the onlapping in situ reef margin. When traced basinward, it appears to be coeval with the finely interbedded centimeter-thick lime mudstone and black shale of the Duvernay Formation source interval (Fig. 15). The overlying WD3.2 TST is 30 m thick at Boundary Creek and comprises four backstepping cycle sets of allochthonous skeletal–peloidal grainstone–packstone.

On the northwest margin of the Cline Channel at Wapiabi Gap, the basal WD3.2 sequence boundary caps the top of a 2 m thick fenestral packstone. Extensive dissolution vugs extend down from this surface, filled by dark, fossiliferous wackestone (figures 23 and 24 of Andrews 1989). Above the basal surface is a 9 m section consisting of four shoaling upward cycles of branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone, representing lower foreslope strata, each capped by thin-bedded peloidal packstone. The lowest cycle is 4 m thick and the remainder thin progressively upsection to the interpreted WD4.1 surface.

The MFS of this WD3.2 HFS is coincident with the WD3 CS MFS (Fig. 15) and is composed of small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone at the Cripple Creek Skyline location. At Tina North, 2.2 km basinward, the MFS is represented by 2 m of black shale that occurs immediately below the overlying WD4.1 sequence boundary.

Fig. 15

—Southeast to northwest cross section from Boundary Creek to North Tina, southeast margin, Cline Channel. Line of cross section is from Figure 2. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies. The location of composite and high-frequency sequence boundaries and MFSs are shown. Composite sequence MFSs are labeled.

Fig. 15

—Southeast to northwest cross section from Boundary Creek to North Tina, southeast margin, Cline Channel. Line of cross section is from Figure 2. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies. The location of composite and high-frequency sequence boundaries and MFSs are shown. Composite sequence MFSs are labeled.

WD3 HST: The uppermost cycle of the WD3.2 HFS consists of branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone overlain by thin tabular stromatoproid boundstone to coral, brachiopod, and crinoid wackestone to packstone. These represent lower to distal middle foreslope strata; as observed from the Cripple Creek Skyline to Boundary Creek. This 6 m thick interval represents the distal, progradational highstand of the WD3 CS.

Woodbend 4 Composite Sequence

Introduction: The WD4 CS displays an aggradational to retrogradational style of platform-margin evolution, best exposed at Cripple Creek (southeast margin, Cline Channel) and North Burnt Timber (Figs. 15, 17, 20, 21). North Burnt Timber is located on the northwest side of the Cascade Channel, which bisects the Fairholme Complex 90 km southeast of the Cripple Creek platform margin (Fig. 1). The WD4 contains two HFS and displays three distinct systems tracts, subdivided as follows: LST (WD4.1 LST), TST (WD4.1 TST–HST and WD4.2 LST–TST), and HST (WD4.2 HST). Table 4 summarizes the component systems tracts and HFSs of this CS.

At North Burnt Timber the outcrop displays both dip and strike oriented faces of a platform to basin transition (Fig. 21). The WD4.1 basal sequence boundary is characterized by the truncation of underlying tabular-bedded foreslope clinoforms with 20–30° slopes (Fig. 22A). A 2 m thick transgressive grainstone lag rests on this surface. When traced upslope onto the platform margin, the sequence boundary underlies 4 m of well rounded, oblate-shaped stromatoporoid and lithoclast conglomerate, interpreted as rocky shoreline deposits (Fig. 22B). At Cripple Creek, the basal WD4.1 sequence boundary is a very prominent surface developed on in situ lower foreslope deposits of small branching coral packstone–wackestone.

WD4 LST: The WD4 LST is represented by a poorly exposed, 5 m thick patch reef initiated on the WD4.1 surface at North Burnt Timber and by an extensive grainstone platform margin to basin transition at the Cripple Creek area (Fig. 20). Fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone, 6 to 15 m thick, sharply overlie and onlap lower foreslope strata between Cripple Creek Skyline and Boundary Creek (Fig. 23A, 23B). These lowstand deposits mark an abrupt basinward shift of lithofacies but display a retrogradational stacking pattern.

Fig. 16

—Frasnian second-order supersequence (late TST to late HST) at the Cripple Creek area, from Cripple Creek Skyline (left) to Fossil Corner (right) locations. The WD2 MFS (= supersequence MFS) marks the turnaround from aggradation to progradation. This surface can be traced from foreslope branching coral wackestone–packstone (left) into the high TOC lime mudstone and shale of the Duvernay Formation (right). The WB1.1 sequence boundary coincides approximately with the Frasnian–Famennian boundary.

Fig. 16

—Frasnian second-order supersequence (late TST to late HST) at the Cripple Creek area, from Cripple Creek Skyline (left) to Fossil Corner (right) locations. The WD2 MFS (= supersequence MFS) marks the turnaround from aggradation to progradation. This surface can be traced from foreslope branching coral wackestone–packstone (left) into the high TOC lime mudstone and shale of the Duvernay Formation (right). The WB1.1 sequence boundary coincides approximately with the Frasnian–Famennian boundary.

The abrupt shoaling can be traced northwest, basinward, to North Ram River, a distance of 5.7 km. At North Ram River, tabular-wafer stromatoporoid and branching coral wackestone–packstone interbedded with thin sheets of meter- to submeter-scale allochthonous grainstone–packstone overlie black shale and nodular-bedded lime mudstone. It represents middle foreslope juxtaposed over basinal settings. Individual reefs, up to 25 m thick and 100 to 200 m wide, have nucleated on the sequence boundary, in a foreslope setting (Figs. 5, 15; northwest of the Tina 1 Creek location). The patch reefs are overlain successively by lower foreslope strata and basinal greenish shale and argillaceous limestones of the Ireton Formation. This retrogradational succession is coeval with fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone overlying the sequence boundary, landward, between Cripple Creek Skyline and Boundary Creek. The change from shallow water to deep water environments above the sequence boundary coincide approximately with the slope break and associated rapid increase in depositional gradient due north, and basinward of the Lunch Margin location (Fig. 15).

WD4 TST: The WD4 composite sequence TST consists of the following HFS systems tracts: WD4.1 TST–HST and WD4.2 LST–TST (Table 4). It is notable as a distinctively asymmetric CS, dominated by the TST (Fig. 20). At North Burnt Timber, the WD4.1 TST–HST is 34 m thick and consists of three aggrading cycle sets of hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone and coarse-grained grainstone that represent the platform margin. These margin deposits transition downslope into branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone and gray argillaceous nodular-bedded lime mudstone of the lower foreslope and basin, respectively. The WD4.1 MFS is located at the base of the middle cycle set. An olistolith composed of bedded cemented grainstone, 10 m thick and triangular in outline, is encased in basinal strata of the youngest cycle set (Figs. 21, 22A).

Fig. 17

—Detailed view of the Cripple Creek reef margin, showing the composite and high-frequency sequence stratigraphy. Both composite and high-frequency MFSs are shown. Only composite sequence MFSs are labeled. A prominent patch reef horizon overlies the WD2.2 HFS boundary. The role of clay basin fill is shown by the evolution of foreslope gradients from the WD3.1 to the WI1.1 HFS. Foreslope dips decrease from 10–20° (red arrows) to less than 5° (light blue arrows) with influx of extrabasinal clays and the accompanying change to more ramp-like profiles. An abrupt increase in the gradient of the WD4.1 surface (dark blue arrow) coincides with the distally steepened segment of the underlying WD3 foreslope. Drape of strata over the antecedent WD4 slope break likely localized the margin of the WI1 CS.

Fig. 17

—Detailed view of the Cripple Creek reef margin, showing the composite and high-frequency sequence stratigraphy. Both composite and high-frequency MFSs are shown. Only composite sequence MFSs are labeled. A prominent patch reef horizon overlies the WD2.2 HFS boundary. The role of clay basin fill is shown by the evolution of foreslope gradients from the WD3.1 to the WI1.1 HFS. Foreslope dips decrease from 10–20° (red arrows) to less than 5° (light blue arrows) with influx of extrabasinal clays and the accompanying change to more ramp-like profiles. An abrupt increase in the gradient of the WD4.1 surface (dark blue arrow) coincides with the distally steepened segment of the underlying WD3 foreslope. Drape of strata over the antecedent WD4 slope break likely localized the margin of the WI1 CS.

At Boundary Creek (southeast margin, Cline Channel), the equivalent WD4.1 TST–HST is 35 m thick. It consists of aggradational cycle sets of in situ tabular-wafer stromatoporoid wackestone to boundstone and overlying skeletal–peloidal packstone to grainstone allochthonous foreslope strata (Fig. 20). Further basinward, from North Ram River northward, a significant feature of the WD4.1 HFS are the lowest beds, which form a significant marker bed. Termed the “basinal rusty marker” (Workum and Hedinger 1992) this is an ironrich, phosphatic mudstone to packstone bed with a well-developed ostracod fauna. Such phosphatic ironstones have been interpreted to represent relative lowstands of sea level (Hallam and Bradshaw 1979). We therefore place the base of the WD4 at the base of this unit and interpret the shale above to represent the subsequent TST of the WD4.1 HFS.

Fig. 18

—Parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae, WD3.2 lowstand at Cripple Creek Skyline. Lens cap diameter is 5 cm.

Fig. 18

—Parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae, WD3.2 lowstand at Cripple Creek Skyline. Lens cap diameter is 5 cm.

The WD4.2 HFS is best exposed at North Burnt Timber (NBT). A basal sequence boundary truncates underlying steeply dipping (25–30°), coarse-grained, crudely bedded stromatoporoid rubble grainstone, which is in part channelized (Figs. 21, 24A). This surface correlates downslope to the eroded base of a tabular-bedded, 12 m thick lowstand wedge. The basal part of the wedge, overlying the WD4.2 HFS boundary, is composed of stromatoporoid rubbleintraclast grainstone (Fig. 24B). Intraclasts are dark gray, angular, centimeter-scale and derived from the underlying small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone, which are in situ lower foreslope deposits. The wedge extends over 750 m in a dip direction to the end of the exposure. It terminates landward by onlap against the lower foreslope strata of the WD4.2 and probably forms a sand apron along strike. The unit displays an upward shoaling of lithofacies—from tabular-bedded packstone–grainstone to coarse grainstone. Gentle clinoforms (2–5° slope) are intermittently observed within the wedge. It forms a very distinct light-colored unit sandwiched between gray branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone and gray argillaceous nodular-bedded lime mudstone of lower foreslope and basinal settings, respectively.

At NBT1, the overlying WD4.2 TST is approximately 15 m thick and characterized by aggrading to retrograding cycle sets of platform margin to basinal strata capped by the MFS (Figs. 20, 21). At Cripple Creek Skyline, the WD4.2 TST is approximately 10 m thick. It is composed of foreslope and basinal strata between Nell Creek and North Ram. The WD4.2 MFS is located within the overlying, 7 m thick, argillaceous nodular lime mudstone basinal strata (Ireton Formation) that gradually thickens into the Cline Channel (Figs. 5, 20).

At the northwest margin of the Cline Channel at Wapiabi Gap, the WD4.1 sequence boundary is overlain by a 40 m thick, mostly screecovered interval of cherty nodular lime mudstone with crinoids and branching corals representing basinal deposits. Subdivision of this interval into TST and HST is based on stratal stacking patterns (Figs. 5, 25). The limited exposure precluded subdivision into the component HFS.

Fig. 19

—The WD3.2 lowstand reef margin with intertonguing of allochthonous foreslope sand and stromatoporoid rubble (arrowed) at the Cripple Creek Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 19

—The WD3.2 lowstand reef margin with intertonguing of allochthonous foreslope sand and stromatoporoid rubble (arrowed) at the Cripple Creek Lunch Margin location.

WD4 HST: In the study area, the uppermost cycle set of the WD4.2 HFS consists of thin tabular to branching stromatoporiod wackestone to boundstone and branching coral–crinoid wackestone–packstone, representing middle and lower foreslope deposits, respectively. These change into gray argillaceous nodular-bedded lime mudstone in a basinward direction. The interval represents a distal, progradational highstand of the WD4 CS.

Winterburn 1 Composite Sequence

Introduction: This CS represents the last major episode of Frasnian open marine deposition in the Cline Channel. It is thin, 40 to 50 m thick, at the Cripple Creek Skyline. The Winterburn 1 (WI1) consists of three HFSs that are subdivided into four distinct systems tracts: lowstand (WI1.1), transgressive (WI1.2.1 TST), highstand (WI1.2.1 HST), and falling stage (WI1.2.2 and WI1.3; Table 4). Two HFSs are onlapping and basinally restricted, the WI1.1 and WI1.3, established from regional correlation in the Cline Channel (Fig. 5 and Wong et al. 2016).

The base of the WI1 is a well-defined, regional surface across the Cline Channel. On the southeast margin at Cripple Creek, the WI1.1 basal sequence boundary is exposed laterally over 2 km. Tidal-flat strata onlap this surface, developed over lower foreslope to basinal mudstone, correlateable north into the center of the Cline Channel. At Tina Creek 1, the surface is sharp with erosional relief of 8 m into wafer stromatoporoid-branching coral packstone–wackestone lower foreslope of the preceding WD4 highstand. (Fig. 26). On the northwest margin of the Cline Channel, at Wapiabi Gap, the sequence boundary is exposed continuously over 300 m, truncating gray, cherty nodular lime mudstone foresets (Figs. 5, 25). A channel, 10 m deep, is incised into this surface.

A sharp contact, traceable from platform to basin at North Burnt Timber (northwest margin, Cascade Channel), marks the WI1.1 in the South Fairholme Complex, in the southern part of the outcrop belt (Fig. 20). The basal surface is sharp and developed over lower foreslope to basinal lime mudstone (Fig. 21). A significant facies offset is represented by the overlying succession of hummocky crossstratified grainstone (2 m), parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid (beach) fenestrae (6 m), and cyclic Amphipora dominated lagoon to tidal-flat meter-scale cycles (more than 6 m).

Fig. 20

—Correlation of North Burnt Timber and Cripple Creek areas showing the component HFS and systems tracts of the WD4 CS. Subdivision into systems tracts are at the composite and high-frequency scales. From this correlation, fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone that overlie the WD4.1 surface at the Cripple Creek area are interpreted as LST. The WD4 composite sequence MFS (= WD4.2 MFS) represents the approximate level of pronounced retrogradation or reef demise in the basin and is an important surface for regional correlation.

Fig. 20

—Correlation of North Burnt Timber and Cripple Creek areas showing the component HFS and systems tracts of the WD4 CS. Subdivision into systems tracts are at the composite and high-frequency scales. From this correlation, fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone that overlie the WD4.1 surface at the Cripple Creek area are interpreted as LST. The WD4 composite sequence MFS (= WD4.2 MFS) represents the approximate level of pronounced retrogradation or reef demise in the basin and is an important surface for regional correlation.

Fig. 21

—Sequence stratigraphic correlation and lithofacies of the WD3 and WD4 CS at North Burnt Timber. Note the direction of depositional dip and strike on the photomontage. A tabular LST onlaps the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Boxes 1 and 2 show the location of Figures 22A and 24A, respectively.

Fig. 21

—Sequence stratigraphic correlation and lithofacies of the WD3 and WD4 CS at North Burnt Timber. Note the direction of depositional dip and strike on the photomontage. A tabular LST onlaps the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Boxes 1 and 2 show the location of Figures 22A and 24A, respectively.

Fig. 22

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.1 composite sequence boundary at North Burnt Timber. The surface has been modified by marine ravinement. A 2 m thick transgressive grainstone lag (arrowed) sits above truncation surface. Olistolith (a) composed of bedded and early cemented skeletal–peloidal grainstone is encased in foreslope to basinal strata of gray nodular lime mudstone. A light-colored lowstand overlies the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Box 1 in Figure 21. B) Well abraded stromatoporoid–lithoclast pebble conglomerate above the WD4.1 sequence boundary–marine ravinement surface at measured section NBT1, North Burnt Timber. The underlying WD4.1 surface is not shown.

Fig. 22

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.1 composite sequence boundary at North Burnt Timber. The surface has been modified by marine ravinement. A 2 m thick transgressive grainstone lag (arrowed) sits above truncation surface. Olistolith (a) composed of bedded and early cemented skeletal–peloidal grainstone is encased in foreslope to basinal strata of gray nodular lime mudstone. A light-colored lowstand overlies the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Box 1 in Figure 21. B) Well abraded stromatoporoid–lithoclast pebble conglomerate above the WD4.1 sequence boundary–marine ravinement surface at measured section NBT1, North Burnt Timber. The underlying WD4.1 surface is not shown.

WI1 LST: On the southeast margin of the Cline Channel, between the Lunch Margin and Tina Creek locations, the WI1.1 HFS represents the CS LST and consists of skeletal–peloidal grainstone cycles (Fig. 15). The lowermost cycle fills a scour surface, 8 m deep and 200 m wide, representing the sequence boundary at this location (Fig. 26). At its distal edge, the grainstone intertongues laterally with lower foreslope strata over a distance of several tens of meters, as previously described by Eliuk et al. (1987) and is interpreted to be allochthonous. The overlying cycle is backstepped in relation to the basal grainstone and onlaps the dipping (about 1.5°) sequence boundary, developed over the antecedent lower foreslope. This upward shoaling cycle is composed of 12 m of Amphipora grainstone–packstone, overlain by parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae. Five meters of grainstone, representing downslope allochthonous deposits, cap this cycle.

The upper cycle set at Fossil Corner consists of two grainstone cycles, 3 and 4.5 m thick, respectively, that are located landward and stratigraphically higher at the break in the antecedent slope. Each cycle is capped by parallel or fenestral laminated grainstone. This cycle set thins to 1 m by progressive onlap onto the WI1.1 sequence boundary from Cripple Creek Skyline to Boundary Creek. Fenestral grainstone strata occur within 1 to 2 m above the flat-lying basal sequence boundary at Cripple Creek Skyline (Fig. 15).

Toward the central axis of the Cline Channel, at Kiska Creek, a 3 m thick bed of peloidal grainstone–packstone sharply overlies nodular argillaceous lime mudstone of the uppermost WD4 (Figs. 5, 27). The bed extends several hundred meters laterally along a depositional dip. Above the subhorizontal beds are 6 m of wafer stromatoporoid and branching coral wackestone to boundstone overlain by 36 m of branching coral and hemispherical–tabular stromatoporoid packstone, with dips of 30°, deposited as a discrete reefal buildup (~300 m wide). The reef has been described by several authors (e.g., Krause 1984, Workum 1989). Surrounding beds are composed of basinal lime mudstone with branching corals. The deposition of relatively shallow lithofacies (grainstone–packstone) in a basinal setting during baselevel lowering provided a necessary substrate for the localization and growth of the Kiska pinnacle reef during the subsequent transgression.

At Wapiabi Gap Skyline, the WI CS was mapped in considerable detail due to the relative accessibility and laterally continuous exposures. The WI1.1 HFS is up to 33 m thick. Transgressive and highstand systems tracts are defined from stratal stacking patterns within the cherty, nodular lime mudstone basinal strata (Fig. 25). Relief of about 10 m reflecting channel incision and truncation of the underlying WD4 basinal foresets characterizes the basal surface. The channel was subsequently infilled by nodular wackestone–mudstone interspersed with allochthonous grainstone–packstone. Two hundred meters landward and north of the incised channel, 4 m of tabularbedded allochthonous grainstone–packstone rests directly on the WI1.1 surface (Fig. 25). These were likely derived from an in situ lowstand nearby.

The overlying high-frequency highstand cycle set is 22 m thick and consists of basinal and distal slope deposits (up to 15° dips) that shoal into a hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone–grainstone reef margin. On the north and extreme right of the outcrop, a sharp basal surface of forced regression (BSFR, sensu Hunt and Tucker 1992) underlies the reef margin (box 1, right side, Figs. 25, 28A). The surface becomes progressively conformable within 10 m downslope (Fig. 28B). Crude internal bedding defines prograding foresets within the reef margin, which is capped by the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary displaying 1 m of relief and foreset truncation.

Fig. 23

A) Sharp WD4.1 sequence boundary separating foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a), Cripple Creek Skyline. First fenestral cryptalgal laminite is 1 m above this surface and not shown. B) Upper foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) overlying and separated from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a) by the WD4.1 sequence boundary, 100 m northeast (basinward) of the Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 23

A) Sharp WD4.1 sequence boundary separating foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a), Cripple Creek Skyline. First fenestral cryptalgal laminite is 1 m above this surface and not shown. B) Upper foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) overlying and separated from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a) by the WD4.1 sequence boundary, 100 m northeast (basinward) of the Lunch Margin location.

WI1 TST: This is a thin unit, equivalent to the TST of the WI1.2.1 HFS, and is characterized by the flat-lying stratal patterns of lower foreslope deposits at Wapiabi Gap (Fig. 25). In the Cripple Creek area, between Fossil Corner and Boundary Creek, laterally equivalent TST strata of the WI1.2 HFS are grainstones, 18 m thick; and stepped back from the underlying WI1.1 lowstand platform edge (Figs. 15, 17). Subdivision of the WI1.2 into higher frequency sequences was not possible from the limited exposure of this sequence on the southeast margin, Cline Channel.

WI1 HST: The WI1 CS HST (= WI1.2 HST) is defined from stratal stacking patterns at Wapiabi Gap: progradational, foresetting strata that downlap onto the WI1 MFS. It is up to 24 m thick and consists of gray argillaceous, cherty, nodular-bedded lime mudstone overlain by coarse-grained stromatoporoid rubble grainstone representing basinal to lower foreslope and upper foreslope settings, respectively. In this HFS, lower foreslope strata grade quickly upward into upper foreslope grainstone. The intervening middle foreslope is absent, suggesting facies compression. When traced laterally south and basinward, this facies transition is replaced by a sharp, gently dipping surface, interpreted to be a BSFR (right half, Fig. 25). This basinward-sloping surface, with dips of approximately 2–3°, has eroded into underlying distal foreslope deposits (Figs. 25, 28C). Overlying the BSFR are downstepping and downlapping grainstone foresets with dips that vary between 12° and 15° (Fig. 28C). When traced further south, basinward, the surface becomes subhorizontal and gradational again. The capping sequence boundary (WI1.2.2; Fig. 25), which is modified by later erosion truncation and possibly slumping, continues basinward as a dipping undulating surface.

WI1 FSST: The WI1 CS FSST consists of HFSs WI1.2.2 and WI1.3. The WI1.2.2 is dominated by clinoforming distal lower foreslope strata (left side, Fig. 25) that are capped by a sharp basinward-dipping BSFR, with dips of between 5° and 10°. Downstepping stromatoporoid and intraclast gravel grainstone downlap onto this surface. As originally defined, the base of the FSST is represented by the regressive surface of marine erosion (Plint and Nummedal 2000). However, this basal surface is poorly expressed in grainy foreslopes where extensive aprons of allochthonous packstone grainstone extend to the lower foreslope (Wong et al. 2016) or when little or no sediment is deposited because of bypass (Helland-Hansen and Martinsen 1996). Instead, the BSFR at Wapiabi Gap is a distinct surface that marks the onset of facies compression associated with falling relative sea level, and therefore, the base of the FSST.

The WI1.3 HFS is the final sequence of the WI1 CS. At Wapiabi Gap, the basal sequence boundary is generally subhorizontal with incised channels at two different locations, 270 m apart, along the Wapiabi Skyline (Figs. 25, 29). This HFS is 5 to 18 m thick and is deposited within the channels and as laterally extensive, tabularshaped grainstone units between channels. The northwest channel was eroded down to the level of the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary (18 m deep, Fig. 29B). Relief on the southern channel is approximately 15 m (box 3, Figs. 25, 29A). Prograding foresets of skeletal grainstone and stromatoporoid rubble shoal abruptly into reef-flat skeletal grain-stones; these deposits infill and onlap the channel edges (Fig. 29A–29C). Similar incised channels are described from the Late Cretaceous Natih Formation of Oman. They formed during subaerial exposure of the platform, when relative sea level fell (Grelaud et al. 2010).

On the southeast margin of the Cline Channel, from Cripple Creek Skyline to Kiska Creek, the WI1.3 sequence is approximately 15 m thick. The basal sequence boundary is a sharp surface developed on lower foreslope strata of branching coral and wafer stromatoproid wackestone–packstone. Overlying onlapping tabular-shaped deposits vary from thick-bedded to parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae that rest immediately upon the sequence boundary (Cripple Creek Skyline and Tina Creek North). These shelf-edge grainstones shoal upward into Amphipora packstone–wackestone capped by cryptalgal laminated wackestone–packstone, within 5 m. At Kiska Creek, laminated cryptalgal lime mudstone–wackestone rests on thick-bedded crinoid, branching, and rugose coral wackestone–packstone of the lower foreslope at the sequence boundary. The contact is brecciated with infill of the overlying unit extending down 15 cm.

Fig. 24

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.2 sequence boundary. View of exposure changes in direction from dip to strike, left to right, respectively. Dipping foresets (left) and a grainstone filled channel (right) are truncated at the level of the WD4.2 surface. Red arrows point to stromatoproid debris layers dipping basinward (oblique strike view). Foresets, right foreground, are from the WD3.2 HFS. Box 2 in Figure 21, North Burnt Timber. B) Sharp WD4.2 surface (arrowed) developed over small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone lower foreslope strata (a). Surface is overlain by allochthonous intraclast–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone (b). Some intraclasts are derived from the underlying deposits. Photograph is located approximately 10 m to the left of box 2 in Figure 21. Diameter of lens cap is 5 cm. North Burnt Timber.

Fig. 24

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.2 sequence boundary. View of exposure changes in direction from dip to strike, left to right, respectively. Dipping foresets (left) and a grainstone filled channel (right) are truncated at the level of the WD4.2 surface. Red arrows point to stromatoproid debris layers dipping basinward (oblique strike view). Foresets, right foreground, are from the WD3.2 HFS. Box 2 in Figure 21, North Burnt Timber. B) Sharp WD4.2 surface (arrowed) developed over small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone lower foreslope strata (a). Surface is overlain by allochthonous intraclast–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone (b). Some intraclasts are derived from the underlying deposits. Photograph is located approximately 10 m to the left of box 2 in Figure 21. Diameter of lens cap is 5 cm. North Burnt Timber.

Fig. 25

—Sequence stratigraphy and lithofacies of the WI1 to WI3 CS at the Wapiabi Gap skyline. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies type. The BSFR is represented by orange lines. Rapid facies change from cherty, nodular lime mudstone of the lower foreslope to overlying grainstone of the upper foreslope in the WD1.2.1 HFS is believed to be caused by falling relative sea level during progradation (forced regression). MFSs are defined from stratal stacking patterns that mark the turnaround from aggradation to progradation and is the main criterion for differentiating lowstand from highstand systems tracts in the lower foreslope to basinal deposits shown here. Boxes 1, 2, and 3 mark the locations of Figures 28A and B, 28C, and 29A, respectively.

Fig. 25

—Sequence stratigraphy and lithofacies of the WI1 to WI3 CS at the Wapiabi Gap skyline. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies type. The BSFR is represented by orange lines. Rapid facies change from cherty, nodular lime mudstone of the lower foreslope to overlying grainstone of the upper foreslope in the WD1.2.1 HFS is believed to be caused by falling relative sea level during progradation (forced regression). MFSs are defined from stratal stacking patterns that mark the turnaround from aggradation to progradation and is the main criterion for differentiating lowstand from highstand systems tracts in the lower foreslope to basinal deposits shown here. Boxes 1, 2, and 3 mark the locations of Figures 28A and B, 28C, and 29A, respectively.

Fig. 26

—The WI1.1 lowstand (left) is composed of parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae (red) that are projected to onlap the WI1.1 sequence boundary landward (toward the left). A grainstone filled scour, 8 m thick, is located to the right of the lowstand. The left scour edge is abrupt and eroded into the underlying lower foreslope strata. The right distal basinward edge has less relief. At this location, grainstone interfingers laterally into lower foreslope strata over a distance of several tens of meters. Lithofacies and stratigraphy of the section between the WI1.1 and WB1.1 sequence boundaries, at Tina 1 and Tina 2, are presented in Figure 15.

Fig. 26

—The WI1.1 lowstand (left) is composed of parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae (red) that are projected to onlap the WI1.1 sequence boundary landward (toward the left). A grainstone filled scour, 8 m thick, is located to the right of the lowstand. The left scour edge is abrupt and eroded into the underlying lower foreslope strata. The right distal basinward edge has less relief. At this location, grainstone interfingers laterally into lower foreslope strata over a distance of several tens of meters. Lithofacies and stratigraphy of the section between the WI1.1 and WB1.1 sequence boundaries, at Tina 1 and Tina 2, are presented in Figure 15.

Winterburn 2 Composite Sequence

By WI2 CS deposition, open marine conditions had ceased within the Cline Channel (Weissenberger 1994). Deposition was in broad, shallow restricted lagoons or restricted-marine coastal plain. The WI2.1 sequence boundary is a karst surface (Potma et al. 2001). In the study area, the surface is overlain by burrowed or laminated, orangecolored calcareous quartz siltstone or silty packstone. Generally, the contact itself is poorly exposed and is more commonly located by the presence of the overlying yellow colored siltstone. At the Cripple Creek Skyline, the surface is overlain by a breccia of clasts up to 8 cm in diameter, encased in a silty packstone. Carbonates that underlie this surface are extensively dolomitized, compared with younger CS boundaries such as the WI3.1 (Fig. 30) and WB1.1 (Potma and Wong 1995, Potma et al. 2001).

The CS is about 20 m thick and is composed entirely of meter-scale cycles of platform-interior strata. Each cycle consists of burrowed lime mudstone to peloidal packstone or burrowed to finely laminated quartz siltstone capped by wavy-laminated mudstone with quartz siltstone layers. Influx of silt into the area was periodic as discrete siltrich layers. The presence of salt casts indicate very restricted and arid conditions.

Winterburn 3 Composite Sequence

The last sequence of the Frasnian is about 25 m thick. The basal sequence boundary is a karst surface seen in most of the measured sections (Fig. 30). It is developed over burrowed peloidal packstone to lime mudstone. The overlying finely laminated, orange-colored calcareous siltstone or silty packstone is 1 to 3 m thick and is interpreted to be of coastal plain origin. Platform-interior cycles consist of burrowed or flat laminated lime mudstone capped by cryptalgal laminite. The mudstone is generally devoid of fossils. A collapse breccia of laminated carbonates occurs near the base of some cryptalgal laminite layers. These breccia and the presence of salt casts indicate arid conditions during deposition. The tidal-flat laminites are 1 to 2 m thick and commonly have siltstone lamina.

A distinctive feature of this sequence is the presence of a 3 to 5 m thick resistive unit that is visible and persistent through all the exposures of platform-interior strata measured. It varies from an Amphipora packstone to bioturbated or laminated lime mudstone and is interpreted to be the MFS of this sequence as it contains the most open marine indicators.

Fig. 27

—WI1.1 pinnacle reef at Kiska. The WI1.1 composite sequence boundary separates the underlying basinal deposits (a) of dark gray nodular to nodular-bedded wackestone to lime mudstone of the WD4 CS from the overlying grainstone (b). Pinnacle reef (r) is composed of dipping beds (30°) of tabular stromatoporoid boundstone grading upward into hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone.

Fig. 27

—WI1.1 pinnacle reef at Kiska. The WI1.1 composite sequence boundary separates the underlying basinal deposits (a) of dark gray nodular to nodular-bedded wackestone to lime mudstone of the WD4 CS from the overlying grainstone (b). Pinnacle reef (r) is composed of dipping beds (30°) of tabular stromatoporoid boundstone grading upward into hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone.

Fig. 28

A) Sigmoidal foresets within the hemispherical stromatoporoid reef margin boundstone are truncated by the capping WD1.2.1 HF sequence boundary (red triangles). A sharp BSFR (orange triangles) separates the boundstone from underlying foreslope deposits of the WI1.1 HFS. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25. B) A BSFR (orange triangles) below the stromatoporoid boundstone becomes progressively more conformable downslope (extreme left) within the WI1.1 HFS. C) Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets of the WD1.2.1 downlap the BSFR, which overlie lower foreslope strata. The sharp surface separates gray argillaceous, cherty, and nodular-bedded lime mudstone from the overlying skeletal grainstone and continues toward the skyline on the upper right. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25.

Fig. 28

A) Sigmoidal foresets within the hemispherical stromatoporoid reef margin boundstone are truncated by the capping WD1.2.1 HF sequence boundary (red triangles). A sharp BSFR (orange triangles) separates the boundstone from underlying foreslope deposits of the WI1.1 HFS. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25. B) A BSFR (orange triangles) below the stromatoporoid boundstone becomes progressively more conformable downslope (extreme left) within the WI1.1 HFS. C) Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets of the WD1.2.1 downlap the BSFR, which overlie lower foreslope strata. The sharp surface separates gray argillaceous, cherty, and nodular-bedded lime mudstone from the overlying skeletal grainstone and continues toward the skyline on the upper right. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25.

DISCUSSION

Summary: The Second-Order Sequence

The present study improves understanding of the second-order (Givetian–) Frasnian depositional sequence proposed by Potma et al. (2001). The basic transgressive–regressive architecture of the Alberta Frasnian, while understood for many years (Maiklem et al. 1972, Wendte 1992, Stoakes 1992), is now examined at the higher resolution HF and CS scales.

The supersequence (SS) is subdivided into component systems tracts based on average CS thickness variations of platform strata within the Alberta Basin. These are interpreted to reflect systematic changes in accommodation (Wong et al. 2016). Accordingly, they are subdivided into the following systems tracts: early supersequence TST: BHL1 to BHL3; late supersequence TST: WD1 to WD2 TST; early supersequence HST: WD2 HST and WD3 to WD4, and late supersequence HST: WI1 to WI3 (Table 4).

  1. 1.

    Interval BHL1 to BHL3, early supersequence TST: Most of the early supersequence TST onlaps the Western Alberta Ridge. The BHL3 is the oldest Frasnian CS within the outcrop study area and is of variable thickness related to topography on the underlying pre-Devonian unconformity. It is thickest (10 m) within the Frasnian Cline Channel in the Kiska area (Figs. 5, 6) and thins to the north and south.

  2. 2.

    Interval WD1 and WD2 TST, late supersequence TST: Widespread shallow-water carbonate sedimentation was established over the previously exposed West Alberta Ridge. Continued aggradation and retreat of the platform margins marked a widening of the Cline Channel, which subsequently separated the Fairholme and South-esk Cairn carbonate complexes through much of the Frasnian. The channel was over 30 km wide during the time of WD1 maximum flooding.

    The WD1 highstand platform margin at Wapiabi Gap is stepped back from its older, transgressive margin over a distance greater than 1.5 km (Fig. 7). Platform margins of the late supersequence TST display a dominantly aggradational to retrogradational style of stacking. Starved, deeper water (> 150 m) conditions developed in the Cline Channel with basinal strata enriched in total organic carbon (TOC) during the second-order transgressive maximum, corresponding to the WD2.3 MFS (Table 4).

  3. 3.

    Interval WD2 HST, WD3 and WD4, early SS HST: source rock deposition continued in the Cline Channel, along with increasing basinal bathymetry of coeval upbuilding carbonate platforms and reefs to the end of WD3.2. Steeper margins developed. At the onset of WD4 deposition, source rock accumulation ceased in the Cline Channel as a result of relative sea-level fall, ending anoxia and increasing dilution from basinal clay influx (Fig. 5; Table 4). This large influx of extrabasinal clay, mostly during WD4, filled the Cline Channel, and paleobathymetry was reduced to less than 100 m. The southeast and northwest margins of the Cline Channel are characterized by retrogradation in the WD4.

  4. 4.

    Interval WI1, WI2, and WI3, late SS HST: Progressive basin filling continued with influx of extrabasinal clays from the east. Prograding low gradient carbonate-clay ramp systems fill the Cline Channel, from southeast to northwest, with deposition of accommodation-filling extrabasinal clays. The lack of accommodation favored thin CS on antecedent platform tops, dominated by restricted marine conditions, and offlapping to onlapping stratal geometries.

Fig. 29

A) Channel erosion into (a) the lower foreslope deposits of the WI1.2.2 HFS, to a depth of approximately 15 m. Erosion originated from the WI1.3 surface and extends halfway down to the level of the older WI1.2.1–WI1.2.2 composite HF sequence boundary. Note foreset truncation. (b) Prograding stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone infill the channel. (c) Strata overlying the WI2.1 sequence boundary are composed of meter-scale cyclic platform-interior lime mudstone to cryptalgal laminite. (d) Locally disrupted beds are likely from collapse associated with gypsum dissolution. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 3 in Figure 25. B) Second channel along the WI1.3 sequence boundary. Down-cutting extends approximately to the level of the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary (SB). The feature is filled by stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone. It is approximately 18 m deep and located 270 m northwest of the previous example shown in A. Note: the WI1.2 MFS and WI1 MFS coincide. C) Axial view of the WI1.3 channel (from B) showing progradation toward the northeast (left). Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets are overlain by flat bedded grainstone of the reef-flat.

Fig. 29

A) Channel erosion into (a) the lower foreslope deposits of the WI1.2.2 HFS, to a depth of approximately 15 m. Erosion originated from the WI1.3 surface and extends halfway down to the level of the older WI1.2.1–WI1.2.2 composite HF sequence boundary. Note foreset truncation. (b) Prograding stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone infill the channel. (c) Strata overlying the WI2.1 sequence boundary are composed of meter-scale cyclic platform-interior lime mudstone to cryptalgal laminite. (d) Locally disrupted beds are likely from collapse associated with gypsum dissolution. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 3 in Figure 25. B) Second channel along the WI1.3 sequence boundary. Down-cutting extends approximately to the level of the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary (SB). The feature is filled by stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone. It is approximately 18 m deep and located 270 m northwest of the previous example shown in A. Note: the WI1.2 MFS and WI1 MFS coincide. C) Axial view of the WI1.3 channel (from B) showing progradation toward the northeast (left). Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets are overlain by flat bedded grainstone of the reef-flat.

Deposition of siliciclastics occurred intermittently. Terrigenous silt was likely transported across the exposed platform tops by ephemeral river systems at both CS and HFS boundaries. Silty carbonates commonly occur in the peritidal to shallow subtidal platform environments of the WI2 and younger strata.

Basin Evolution and Sequence Stratigraphy of the Cline Channel

Spatial variability in Sequence Architecture: Composite sequence architecture was controlled both by position in the second-order sequence and paleogeography. For example, the WD2 at Wapiabi Gap developed three distinct systems tracts—lowstand, transgressive, and highstand. However, the WD4 at the Nikanassin Range (Weissenberger et al. 2016) and the WI1 at Wapiabi Gap display four systems tracts—lowstand, transgressive, highstand, and falling stage. The development of falling stage geometries is likely due to diminishing accommodation near the top of the supersequence.

Toward the end of WI1.2 HFS deposition, the Cline Channel was rapidly filled as highstand and falling stage deposits prograded into the remaining basinal areas. Offlapping forced regressive deposits of the WI1.2.1 and WI1.2.2 HFS represent the falling stage systems tract of Plint and Nummedal (2000). Within the Cline Channel (and South Jasper Basin), the falling stage systems tracts are often associated with basal surfaces of forced regression (BSFR, sensu Hunt and Tucker 1992). Each HFS is composed of basinal nodular lime mudstone–wackestone overlain by progradational, downstepping (forced regressive) grainstone foresets. The foresets downlap onto the BSFR and are capped/truncated by the overlying sequence boundary, for example within the WI1.2 HFS at Wapiabi Gap, northwest margin of the Cline Channel (Figs. 25, 28A28C, 31). The stratal architecture of the forced regressive deposits is similar to the models proposed by Helland-Hansen and Martinsen (1996) and described from the Upper Pliocene–Lower Pleistocene Calcarenite di Gravina of Southern Italy (Pomar and Kendall 2007).

Fig. 30

—WI3.1 CS boundary at Cripple Creek Skyline. A karst surface is developed over slightly dolomitized laminated lime mudstone. Thinly interbedded dolomitic siltstone and lime mudstone drape the small karst sinkhole. A quartz siltstone filled karst pipe is located below sinkhole. Scale in inches.

Fig. 30

—WI3.1 CS boundary at Cripple Creek Skyline. A karst surface is developed over slightly dolomitized laminated lime mudstone. Thinly interbedded dolomitic siltstone and lime mudstone drape the small karst sinkhole. A quartz siltstone filled karst pipe is located below sinkhole. Scale in inches.

At Wapiabi Gap, coeval platform-interior strata are absent in the WI1.2.2, and probably the WD1.2.1, as accommodation was only available on the foreslope during forced regression.

Figure 31 is a schematic showing the development of the BSFR, forced regressive deposits, and associated capping WI1.3 sequence boundary. Table 6 summarizes our interpretation of the relative sea-level changes and the resultant systems tracts and bounding surfaces for the two component HFSs of the WI1.2. The two HFSs (WI1.2.1 and WI1.2.2) are likely short lived (~150–250 thousand years) with moderate amplitude (15 m) relative sea-level changes. This estimate is based on the duration of the Frasnian, the number of CSs, the two orders of HFS, and the elevation difference between the top of the lowest truncated foresets and the highest (WI2.1) sequence boundary.

The WI1.3 HFS onlaps the basal WI1.3 surface. It was deposited after erosion of deep channels by falling relative sea level. The maximum amount of incision into the WI1.3 surface is along the north channel (Fig. 29B), where it is approximately 18 m deep. Grainstone filled channels probably represent the proximal landward extension of this HFS. It grades basinward into tabular-shaped shoal margin complexes (Fig. 25, extreme left). The interval represented by the WI1.3 HFS is too thin to allow subdivision into component HFS-scale systems tracts. The WI2.1 surface is interpreted as the master composite surface where three sequence boundaries merge (Fig. 25) and is the level from which relative sea level fell.

Sequence Boundary Recognition: Of the 10 Frasnian third-order CSs defined in Alberta Basin, eight are represented within the Cline Channel and Burnt Timber areas. Most HFS and CS boundaries within the study area are subaerial exposure surfaces, observed in outcrop or inferred from onlap of tidal-flat or reef margin deposits on lower foreslope deposits (implying subaerial exposure upslope; Table 4). Sequence boundaries are also interpreted with thinning of meter-scale platform-interior cycles, increasing proportions of tidal-flat laminite caps, and/or restricted lagoon strata. These features record decreasing accommodation and HST progradation. By contrast, increasing cycle thickness and landward migration of platform-margin carbonate sands (grainstone and packstone) and retrogradation represent increasing accommodation associated with the TST.

At South Burnt Timber, the BSFR is direct evidence of a falling sea level. It is associated with the WD2.1 sequence boundary. The onlapping wedge (WD2.1.b) is an in situ lowstand deposited after the sequence boundary formed; during the ensuing sea-level rise. Subsequent rising relative sea level is indicated by progradation and upbuilding within the lowstand. At North Burnt Timber, the WD4.1 basal sequence boundary is marked by foreslope truncation and overlain by a transgressive lag of grainstone and rubble, representing wave ravinement during relative sea-level rise.

Regional Correlation, Cline Channel: The WD1 CS is characterized by the following features which aid in regional correlation: (1) A distinct symmetry within the sequence, with comparable proportions of transgressive and highstand systems tracts. (2) The MFS of the CS coincides with the WD1.4 MFS (Figs. 7, 8) and is recognizable due to the good exposures. (3) Last, the WD1.5 and the overlying WD2.1 are exposure surfaces, with karst and/or caliche development. This CS has been correlated along the front ranges, from the Cline Channel (Southesk Cairn and Fairholme complexes) to the Miette reef (South Jasper Basin) and into the subsurface at the Redwater reef of central Alberta (Wong et al. 2016).

The Cline Channel is progressively filled during supersequence highstand and late highstand, many sequence stratigaphic surfaces are easily correlated as stratigraphy becomes more “layer-cake” like. These include the following: WD4.1, WD4 MFS, WI1.1, WI1.3, WI2.1, and WI3 MFS. For example, the entire WD4 CS is dominantly aggradational to retrogradational toward the MFS, which is located near the top of the sequence, forming an asymmetric sequence (Fig. 15). The WD4 MFS is a level at which many of the reefs in the subsurface were terminated by drowning (e.g., Redwater; Wong et al. 2016) and, in outcrop, is a recessive, argillaceous unit.

Regional platform-wide correlation of HFS can best be achieved with a dataset of numerous stratigraphic sections. Cycle frequency and thicknesses can vary between platform interior and margins due to lateral facies changes and variation in the rates of sediment production/accumulation (Fig. 6). For example, cycle frequency within the WD1.3 HFS varies from eight (platform interior, Wapiabi Gap Off-Reef section) to four (platform margin, Wapiabi Gap Reef and North Ram River sections). Higher carbonate productivity on the platform margins allows a keep-up with minor increments of relative sea-level rise. By contrast, minor increases of relative sea level are recorded in the platform interior because of lower carbonate sediment productivity (Wendte 1992). The significant cross-platform variation of stacking patterns within individual sequences suggests that relative sea level was not the only control on margin architecture.

Fig. 31

—Evolution of the WI1 and WI2 CS at Wapiabi Gap Skyline. 1) Within the WI1.2.2 highstand, a lithofacies boundary evolves into a BSFR with falling relative sea level (RSL). 2) With continued fall of RSL, a basinward dipping BSFR and the associated WI1.3 HFS boundary sequence boundary developed, with 3) areas of channel down-cutting (RSL 1–2). 4) RSL rise initiates carbonate production, grainstone deposition, and progradation (RSL 3). 5) Erosion (of grainstone) with renewed RSL fall formed the regionally extensive WI2.1 CS boundary (RSL 4). 6) RSL rise arrests erosion and starts deposition of the restricted platform-interior facies. Erosive modification of the grainstone could have occurred during transgression, although that is less likely as the ensuing platform interior is within a low wave energy setting.

Fig. 31

—Evolution of the WI1 and WI2 CS at Wapiabi Gap Skyline. 1) Within the WI1.2.2 highstand, a lithofacies boundary evolves into a BSFR with falling relative sea level (RSL). 2) With continued fall of RSL, a basinward dipping BSFR and the associated WI1.3 HFS boundary sequence boundary developed, with 3) areas of channel down-cutting (RSL 1–2). 4) RSL rise initiates carbonate production, grainstone deposition, and progradation (RSL 3). 5) Erosion (of grainstone) with renewed RSL fall formed the regionally extensive WI2.1 CS boundary (RSL 4). 6) RSL rise arrests erosion and starts deposition of the restricted platform-interior facies. Erosive modification of the grainstone could have occurred during transgression, although that is less likely as the ensuing platform interior is within a low wave energy setting.

Lowstands and Magnitude of Relative Sea-Level Falls: The WD2 was deposited in the late TST of the second-order super-sequence. Overall retrogradational stratigraphic architecture, begun in the WD1, persisted in the basin. This transgression was interrupted by the widespread development of a shallow-water lowstand at the base of the CS, which onlaps the antecedent, steep-rimmed platform margins at many exposures in the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains.

WD2.1 lowstand deposits that developed at Wapiabi Gap, Kiska, and South Burnt Timber have many similarities. All three are 30 to 40 m thick. Kiska and Wapiabi Gap are laterally extensive and, in a dip direction, over 500 and 700 m wide, respectively. In contrast, South Burnt Timber is 120 m wide. The lowstands are wedge shaped and developed over antecedent carbonate foreslope, at a time of finegrained siliciclastic (mainly clay) starvation within the study area. A notable feature is the termination by onlap of the WD2.1 MFS against the underlying sequence boundary (Fig. 7). Differences in stratal stacking and lateral extent, observed between different localities, may be related to preexisting foreslope declivity. This likely affected the aerial extent of the carbonate factory as controlled by water depths, physiography, basin circulation, and/or siliciclastic influx.

Sea-level falls of > 25 m (South Burnt Timber), 30 m (Kiska), and ~40 m (Wapiabi Gap) are interpreted, based on the difference in elevation between the wedge top (transgressive surface; Posamentier and Vail 1988) and the lowest cryptalgal laminite (Kiska) or lagoon/reef-flat grainstone (Wapiabi Gap) or lowest onlapping topset (South Burnt Timber) within the lowstand (Table 6). All estimates indicate a significant fall of relative sea level at the WD2.1 sequence boundary, which is dated as conodont zone mid-MN 6 (Table 4). Conodont faunas recovered from below and above the LST at Kiska Headwaters and South Burnt Timber yield quite similar ages, suggesting a relatively short duration of lowered relative sea level (Wong et al. 2016, appendices 3, 4).

The conodont age of the transgressive surface correlates to the abrupt negative excursion in the punctata Zone: from 5.85 ‰ to –1.20 ‰ (negative shift of –7.05 ‰) reported by Yans et al. (2007). This negative shift ends the “punctata event,” a long-lasting positive δ13C excursion, extending through much of the Middle Frasnian Palmatolepis punctata conodont zone. The negative shift is global in nature. Yans et al. (2007) suggest the cause to be a sudden initiation of global warming and/or meteorite impact. A global warming and sea-level rise could explain the data presented in our study.

Table 6.

Frasnian composite and high-frequency sequence lowstand geometry and magnitude of associated relative sea-level falls.

We document these lowstands in outcrop, but similar stratal relationships are difficult to interpret in the subsurface. The lowstands are relatively narrow in a dip sense, generally less than 1 km wide, so that well spacing may simply not allow them to be easily defined. Similarly, at less than 50 m in thickness, these deposits may be interpreted as “normal” platform margins in wells or on seismic areas, if the stratal geometries are not resolvable.

Lowstand development may have been favored by the relatively shallow bathymetry of the basin at the end of the WD1 so that, upon base-level fall at the WD2.1 surface, a relatively broad area was bathymetrically suitable for lowstand development. Such a scenario was repeated at the onset of WI1 deposition, when basin topography was drastically reduced by WD4 siliciclastic influx and widespread shallow-water lowstand carbonate deposition ensued.

The lowermost HFS of the Nisku Formation (WI1.1) is a lowstand that onlaps the underlying sequence boundary at Cripple Creek, a relationship observed in the West Pembina area (Anderson 1985, figure 10, reinterpreted by us; Potma et al. 2001). Exposures at the Ancient Wall reef complex in the front ranges of Alberta display a similar relationship (Geldsetzer 1989). The vertical distance between the WI1.1 sequence boundary at the Lunch Margin location to the laminoid fenestral grainstone of the Tina Creek 1 lowstand is 25 m. This represents the minimum amount of relative sea-level fall at this surface. While evidence of subaerial exposure was not observed, possibly due to an ensuing erosive transgression, it is implied by the onlapping tidal-flat strata at Tina Creek 1. Erosion along this basal sequence boundary is observed on both margins of the Cline Channel, at Tina Creek 1, and Wapiabi Gap Skyline. At Tina Creek 1, downcutting into the lower foreslope of the underlying highstand ramp is interpreted to result from erosion by gravity-driven concentrated density flows (sensu Mulder and Alexander 2001). These reflect carbonate grain margins migrating basinward during falling sea level associated with the WI1.1 surface.

Timing of Source Rock Deposition: Platform to basin relief in the Cline Channel continued to increase with upbuilding of the platform margins such that at the level of the WD3.2 surface, it was approximately 90 m, compared with 60 m at the WD3.1 surface (between Cripple Creek Skyline and Tina Creek). Along the axis of the Cline Channel, located between Kiska Creek and Wapiabi Gap, maximum platform to basin relief is 160 m at the WD3.1 surface. The deep, starved basin conditions favored continued deposition of organic-rich black shale of the Duvernay Formation, which is the richest source interval of the Frasnian in Alberta (Chow et al. 1995). It is associated with the turnaround from retrogradational to progradational stratal stacking in the Cline Channel, representing the second-order MFS, that coincide with the WD2.3/WD2 MFS at Cripple Creek (Fig. 16).

Fig. 32

—Lowstand development in the Cripple Creek area (Boundary Creek to Kiska Headwaters), showing geometry (wedge or tabular) and frequency in relation to the second-order Givetian–Frasnian supersequence. Lowstands (orange-colored) are identified from the onlap of platform-margin grainstone or tidal-flat deposits onto foreslope strata. Second-order supersequence systems tract subdivision is shown on the extreme left. Figure 15 is a colored version of this figure.

Fig. 32

—Lowstand development in the Cripple Creek area (Boundary Creek to Kiska Headwaters), showing geometry (wedge or tabular) and frequency in relation to the second-order Givetian–Frasnian supersequence. Lowstands (orange-colored) are identified from the onlap of platform-margin grainstone or tidal-flat deposits onto foreslope strata. Second-order supersequence systems tract subdivision is shown on the extreme left. Figure 15 is a colored version of this figure.

Evolution of Foreslope Declivity and Timing of Basin Fill: Infill of the southern portion of Cline Channel, in the Cripple Creek area, was initiated during HFS WD3.2, following the second-order MFS. The influx of extrabasinal clays provided a substrate for the expansion of foreslope carbonates. At Wapiabi Gap, on the northern margin, basin-infill was later, during HFS WD4.1 and WI1, which is one HFS later than the southern margin.

It was during WD4 deposition that the largest volume of basinal argillaceous limestones and calcareous shale (Ireton Formation) were deposited, representing approximately half of the total basin fill within the Cline Channel. The WD4 CS falls within one conodont zone (MN 11), another indication of the high rate of deposition (Wong et al. 2016). It continues the trend of increased influx and deposition of extrabasinal clays initiated after the WD3 MFS (Fig. 15). The following observations are made for the WD3 and WD4 CS:

  • Platform edges evolved from rimmed boundstone and/or grain-stone to mainly grainstone,

  • Foreslope declivity decreased from 20° (WD3) to less than 1.5° (WI1) with progressive infilling of the basin and the shelf margin profiles become more ramp-like (Fig. 17),

  • Change in lowstand geometry from narrow (WD2.1, WD3.2) to more extensive wedges or tabular geometries (WD4.1, WI1.1), as summarized in Table 6 and Figure 32; and in the model proposed by Hunt and Tucker (1992),

  • More aerially extensive sequences, of tens of kilometers, developed upon ramp-like slopes (WD4, WI1, WI2, and WI3),

  • Systems tracts differentiation of ramp-like sequences require regional correlation for separation of lowstand from transgressive systems tracts due to lowstand detachment, e.g., for the WD4.1 between Cripple Creek and North Burnt Timber (Fig. 20),

  • With greater basin infill, platform to basin relief decreased and extensive lowstands were deposited (WD4 and WI1) as the area of the carbonate productivity expanded, and

  • Increased differential compaction with higher proportion of extrabasinal shale make paleobathymetric estimates for the mixed carbonate–siliciclastic ramps more uncertain.

Platform to Basin Relief: Role in Foreslope Grain Composition and Geometry: The maximum platform to basin relief for the WD3 CS between the North Fairholme Complex, Miette, and Ancient Wall reefs was 90, 114, and 180 m, respectively. (Ancient Wall and Miette data are from Whalen et al. 2000b.) On the southeast margin of the Cline Channel, platform to basin transition is accretionary, consisting of interfingering in situ foreslope and allochthonous grainstone–packstone. By contrast, the same transition at Miette and Ancient Wall displays erosional bypass margins characterized by onlapping wedges of debris flow deposits. The frequency of conglomerates and breccias is greatest in the WD3 CS at Ancient Wall. Platform to basin relief was reduced by the later influx of extrabasinal clays. The influx occurred during the WD4 on the southeast margin, Cline Channel, and at Miette, but later, during the WI1, at Ancient Wall (Whalen et al. 2000). In the three areas described, the progressive higher frequency of slope failure apparently results from greater platform to basin relief related to degree of basin fill. A similar observation was made by Whalen et al. (2000) between Miette and Ancient Wall. Similarly, Playton and Kerans (2015a) noted an increased frequency of reef margin collapse, producing onlapping debris wedges with increasing platform to basin relief.

Much of the basin topography in the Alberta Basin had been filled by the deposition of the Ireton Formation shale during WD4. Carbonate platforms were subsequently dominated by ramps or shelf margin shoals rather than rimmed margins, except for the Jasper Basin, where greater bathymetry persisted. Progradation was inhibited at some margins by lack of regional basin fill and off-platform transport of carbonate sediment.

CONCLUSIONS

In the Cripple Creek area, the second-order Frasnian supersequence is characterized by initial retrogradation in the late TST, followed by aggradation and retrogradation of the early HST, and, finally, progradation and forced regression during the late HST. Platform to basin relief start to increase at the onset of the WD2.2 HFS with the upbuilding of platform margins. At the level of the WD3.1 sequence boundary, relief was approximately 60 m, increasing approximately to 90 m at the WD3.2 surface.

Subsequent progradation of shallow-water carbonates into the Cline Channel was controlled by the influx of coeval fine extrabasinal clays and platform-derived fine-grained carbonates. This is best exemplified by the development of the WD4.1 lowstand at Cripple Creek, in contrast to its absence within the sediment starved area at Wapiabi Gap. With progressive basin infilling during the second-order highstand, platform edges evolved from boundstone and/or grainstone to mainly grainstone. Simultaneously, foreslope gradient decreased from a minimum of 10° (WD3.1) to less than 1.5° (WD4.1) as the margins became more ramp-like. Lowstand geometries changed from wedge to tabular. Where slope angles were high, lowstands are less extensive and abut the antecedent highstand (Fig. 32; Table 6). Because of gentle slope gradients and the larger areas of carbonate production on the ramp-like slopes, lowstands are more extensive— tens of kilometers in extent. WD4 CS deposition was characterized by very high siliciclastic clay input into the basin. Basinal bathymetry was significantly reduced.

Accommodation decrease within the second-order highstand is reflected by thinning of the CSs. With greater basin infill, platform to basin relief decreased and the open marine environments of CS WD4 were replaced by the restricted platform interior of the WI1. Composite sequences become more asymmetric, with greater frequency of well-developed lowstands (Fig. 32) and TSTs overlain by thin, offlapping falling stage systems tracts. The tripartite character (lowstand–transgressive–highstand) of CS in the lower and middle part of the Frasnian is followed by the appearance of a distinct falling stage component in the upper part.

The amount of relative sea-level fall in a number of CSs has been estimated (Table 6), with relative sea-level changes varying from 9 to ~40 m. The best documented examples are at the WD2.1 surface: greater than 25 m (North Burnt Timber), greater than 30 m (Kiska), and ~40 m (Wapiabi Gap). The relative sea-level fall is estimated from the elevation between the wedge top (the transgressive surface) and the lowest tidal-flat (Kiska) or lagoon/reef-flat grainstone (Wapiabi Gap), or lowest onlapping topset (South Burnt Timber). Pronounced facies offsets (Fig. 5) with tidal-flats and grainstone margins onlapping lower foreslope strata occur at the WD3.2, WD4.1, WD4.2, WI1.1, and WD1.3 basal surfaces, and accompanying thinning of HFS may signal the onset of high amplitude relative sea-level change toward the Frasnian–Famennian boundary.

The Duvernay Formation is the richest source interval (highest TOC) of the Frasnian in Alberta (Chow et al. 1995). It was deposited at a time of starved basin conditions, when bathymetry was great, within the WD2 and WD3 CS. It is marked by the turnaround from retrogradational to progradational stratal stacking of Cline Channel basin fill and is therefore interpreted to be the second-order MFS.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We wish to thank all our colleagues who have contributed to this work. First the management at our current and previous companies, including Imperial, Encana, and Husky Energy. All those who assisted in the field are much appreciated. These include (in alphabetical order): S. Becker, C. Brintnell, I. Deniset, M. Dennis, J. Fabian, J. Gordon, L. Hunt, D. Mans, M. McMurray, K. Meyer, I. Muir, A. Politylo, K. Potma, L. Regier, M. Shaw, B. Vielleux, M. Warren, L. West, R. Younker, W. Zantvoort, and C. Zinkan. Thanks also to Alpine Helicopters for their professionalism in allowing us to access most of the outcrops. The aesthetic quality of our figures is due to the diligence and patience of Phil Argatoff. We appreciated the helpful comments of reviewers Robert Loucks, Iain Muir, Ken Potma, and Charlotte Sullivan. Special thanks to editors, Ted Playton and Charlie Kerans, who have improved the paper with numerous suggestions and comments. Any merits in this work could not have been achieved without the help of these and other colleagues. Any errors remain our own.

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Figures & Tables

Fig. 1

—Location map of the study area in the Rocky Mountain Front Ranges of west-central Alberta. Areas of carbonate platform and basin are indicated. The Cline Channel connects the West Shale Basin to proto-Pacific. The line of cross section is that of schematic shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 1

—Location map of the study area in the Rocky Mountain Front Ranges of west-central Alberta. Areas of carbonate platform and basin are indicated. The Cline Channel connects the West Shale Basin to proto-Pacific. The line of cross section is that of schematic shown in Figure 3.

Fig. 2

—Map of the study area showing line of cross-section A′–A in relation to the Frasnian Cline Channel, the Southesk Cairn, and the Fairholme complexes. This paleogeographic map is not palinspastically restored. Wapiabi Gap is located on the Big Horn thrust, whereas Cripple and Kiska creeks are on the McConnell thrust.

Fig. 2

—Map of the study area showing line of cross-section A′–A in relation to the Frasnian Cline Channel, the Southesk Cairn, and the Fairholme complexes. This paleogeographic map is not palinspastically restored. Wapiabi Gap is located on the Big Horn thrust, whereas Cripple and Kiska creeks are on the McConnell thrust.

Fig. 3

—Schematic sequence stratigraphic cross section of the Late Givetian to basal Famennian strata of Alberta showing the major third-order Frasnian CS of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Outcrop lithostratigraphic terms are indicated by circled letters. The Frasnian section is 425 m thick at Cripple Creek, in the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. A second-order late Givetian–Frasnian supersequence extends from the base of the Watt Mountain Formation to the base of the Wabamun Group. Basin fill is a mix of platform-derived carbonates and fine-grained extra basinal clay (forming argillaceous limestones and calcareous shale).

Fig. 3

—Schematic sequence stratigraphic cross section of the Late Givetian to basal Famennian strata of Alberta showing the major third-order Frasnian CS of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. Outcrop lithostratigraphic terms are indicated by circled letters. The Frasnian section is 425 m thick at Cripple Creek, in the Front Ranges of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta. A second-order late Givetian–Frasnian supersequence extends from the base of the Watt Mountain Formation to the base of the Wabamun Group. Basin fill is a mix of platform-derived carbonates and fine-grained extra basinal clay (forming argillaceous limestones and calcareous shale).

Fig. 4

—Depositional model for Frasnian reefal carbonate platform margins, Alberta.

Fig. 4

—Depositional model for Frasnian reefal carbonate platform margins, Alberta.

Fig. 5

—Southeast to northwest cross section of the Cline Channel, from Cripple Creek to Wapiabi Gap. Line of cross section is located in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type. Boxes demarcate areas of continuous exposure and detailed study, where measured sections were supplemented by photomontages and field mapping.

Fig. 5

—Southeast to northwest cross section of the Cline Channel, from Cripple Creek to Wapiabi Gap. Line of cross section is located in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type. Boxes demarcate areas of continuous exposure and detailed study, where measured sections were supplemented by photomontages and field mapping.

Fig. 6

—Correlation of cycles, cycle sets, high-frequency, and composite sequences from Boundary Creek to Wapiabi Gap Reef. Line of cross section is shown in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type.

Fig. 6

—Correlation of cycles, cycle sets, high-frequency, and composite sequences from Boundary Creek to Wapiabi Gap Reef. Line of cross section is shown in Figure 2. Owing to scale constraints, the platform-interior strata are colored according to their dominant lithofacies type.

Fig. 7

—Cross section showing the WD1 and WD2 CSs, their component HFSs, cycle sets and lithofacies composition at Wapiabi Gap.

Fig. 7

—Cross section showing the WD1 and WD2 CSs, their component HFSs, cycle sets and lithofacies composition at Wapiabi Gap.

Fig. 8

—Outcrop photograph and interpreted overlay of the WD1 CS showing systems tracts, component HFSs, cycle sets, stratal stacking patterns, lithofacies, ravinement truncation, and transgressive lag of stromatoporoid grainstone above the WD2.1 sequence boundary (extreme left). Note change in stratal patterns, from subhorizontal and aggradational to progradational, across the WD1 MFS. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 1 in Figure 9.

Fig. 8

—Outcrop photograph and interpreted overlay of the WD1 CS showing systems tracts, component HFSs, cycle sets, stratal stacking patterns, lithofacies, ravinement truncation, and transgressive lag of stromatoporoid grainstone above the WD2.1 sequence boundary (extreme left). Note change in stratal patterns, from subhorizontal and aggradational to progradational, across the WD1 MFS. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 1 in Figure 9.

Fig. 9

—Interpreted photomontage of stratal stacking patterns within the WD1 and WD2 composite sequences showing onlapping and progradational geometries associated with the WD2 CS lowstand (WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b cycle sets). Underlying WD1 CS highstand foresets are truncated along the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary, as shown in box 1 and Figure 8. Progradation of the WD2.1.c cycle set (= WD2 CS TST) ends at the lowstand shelf edge, immediately south of Wapiabi Creek. North side of Wapiabi Creek, boxes 1 and 2 refer to Figures 8 and 10, respectively.

Fig. 9

—Interpreted photomontage of stratal stacking patterns within the WD1 and WD2 composite sequences showing onlapping and progradational geometries associated with the WD2 CS lowstand (WD2.1.a and WD2.1.b cycle sets). Underlying WD1 CS highstand foresets are truncated along the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary, as shown in box 1 and Figure 8. Progradation of the WD2.1.c cycle set (= WD2 CS TST) ends at the lowstand shelf edge, immediately south of Wapiabi Creek. North side of Wapiabi Creek, boxes 1 and 2 refer to Figures 8 and 10, respectively.

Fig. 10

—The WD2.1 HFS lowstand consists of prograding hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone overlying tabular stromatoporoid packstone–boundstone at Wapiabi Creek. Carbonate sand (lithofacies 6A) overlies the erosive contact (wavy black dashed/solid line) developed on organic-rich calcareous shale (lithofacies 10). Note the steep foreslope dips of 25–30°. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 2 in Figure 9.

Fig. 10

—The WD2.1 HFS lowstand consists of prograding hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone overlying tabular stromatoporoid packstone–boundstone at Wapiabi Creek. Carbonate sand (lithofacies 6A) overlies the erosive contact (wavy black dashed/solid line) developed on organic-rich calcareous shale (lithofacies 10). Note the steep foreslope dips of 25–30°. North side of Wapiabi Creek, box 2 in Figure 9.

Fig. 11

—(a) Bedded peloidal–skeletal packstone and grainstone underlie sequence boundary, 0.75 km north of Wapiabi Creek. (b) Branching stromatoporoid–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone transgressive lag overlying the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary.

Fig. 11

—(a) Bedded peloidal–skeletal packstone and grainstone underlie sequence boundary, 0.75 km north of Wapiabi Creek. (b) Branching stromatoporoid–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone transgressive lag overlying the ravinement-modified WD2.1 sequence boundary.

Fig. 12

A) Red iron oxide stained shale (~1 cm thick) at the WD2.1 sequence boundary, underlain by laminated peloidal packstone–grainstone distal foreslope strata. Reef-flat stromatoporoid rubble grainstone overlies the sequence boundary. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef. Lens cap diameter is 7.5 cm. B) The WD2.1 sequence boundary (indicated by red arrows), separating red iron oxide stained thin-bedded packstone and grainstone foreslope strata from overlying backstepping Amphipora packstone–wackestone, skeletal grain-stone, and stromatoporoid rubble succession. Staining is derived from the red shale seam at the WD2.1 surface. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef.

Fig. 12

A) Red iron oxide stained shale (~1 cm thick) at the WD2.1 sequence boundary, underlain by laminated peloidal packstone–grainstone distal foreslope strata. Reef-flat stromatoporoid rubble grainstone overlies the sequence boundary. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef. Lens cap diameter is 7.5 cm. B) The WD2.1 sequence boundary (indicated by red arrows), separating red iron oxide stained thin-bedded packstone and grainstone foreslope strata from overlying backstepping Amphipora packstone–wackestone, skeletal grain-stone, and stromatoporoid rubble succession. Staining is derived from the red shale seam at the WD2.1 surface. Wapiabi Gap Off Reef.

Fig. 13

—The WD2 composite sequence LST at Kiska Creek, consisting of two aggradational cycle sets. Each cycle set is composed of peloidal and Amphipora packstone (platform-interior strata) with coeval grainstone margins. The lowstand is in sharp contact with and onlaps the antecedent WD1 CS comprised of dipping (5–15°) middle foreslope deposits.

Fig. 13

—The WD2 composite sequence LST at Kiska Creek, consisting of two aggradational cycle sets. Each cycle set is composed of peloidal and Amphipora packstone (platform-interior strata) with coeval grainstone margins. The lowstand is in sharp contact with and onlaps the antecedent WD1 CS comprised of dipping (5–15°) middle foreslope deposits.

Fig. 14

—Onlapping composite sequence LST (WD2.1.b cycle set) at South Burnt Timber. Foresets downlap onto the WD2.1 high-frequency sequence MFS. The basal WD2.1 sequence boundary has eroded into the antecedent basal surface of forced regression. Location of restored normal faults indicated by the letter “F.”

Fig. 14

—Onlapping composite sequence LST (WD2.1.b cycle set) at South Burnt Timber. Foresets downlap onto the WD2.1 high-frequency sequence MFS. The basal WD2.1 sequence boundary has eroded into the antecedent basal surface of forced regression. Location of restored normal faults indicated by the letter “F.”

Fig. 15

—Southeast to northwest cross section from Boundary Creek to North Tina, southeast margin, Cline Channel. Line of cross section is from Figure 2. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies. The location of composite and high-frequency sequence boundaries and MFSs are shown. Composite sequence MFSs are labeled.

Fig. 15

—Southeast to northwest cross section from Boundary Creek to North Tina, southeast margin, Cline Channel. Line of cross section is from Figure 2. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies. The location of composite and high-frequency sequence boundaries and MFSs are shown. Composite sequence MFSs are labeled.

Fig. 16

—Frasnian second-order supersequence (late TST to late HST) at the Cripple Creek area, from Cripple Creek Skyline (left) to Fossil Corner (right) locations. The WD2 MFS (= supersequence MFS) marks the turnaround from aggradation to progradation. This surface can be traced from foreslope branching coral wackestone–packstone (left) into the high TOC lime mudstone and shale of the Duvernay Formation (right). The WB1.1 sequence boundary coincides approximately with the Frasnian–Famennian boundary.

Fig. 16

—Frasnian second-order supersequence (late TST to late HST) at the Cripple Creek area, from Cripple Creek Skyline (left) to Fossil Corner (right) locations. The WD2 MFS (= supersequence MFS) marks the turnaround from aggradation to progradation. This surface can be traced from foreslope branching coral wackestone–packstone (left) into the high TOC lime mudstone and shale of the Duvernay Formation (right). The WB1.1 sequence boundary coincides approximately with the Frasnian–Famennian boundary.

Fig. 17

—Detailed view of the Cripple Creek reef margin, showing the composite and high-frequency sequence stratigraphy. Both composite and high-frequency MFSs are shown. Only composite sequence MFSs are labeled. A prominent patch reef horizon overlies the WD2.2 HFS boundary. The role of clay basin fill is shown by the evolution of foreslope gradients from the WD3.1 to the WI1.1 HFS. Foreslope dips decrease from 10–20° (red arrows) to less than 5° (light blue arrows) with influx of extrabasinal clays and the accompanying change to more ramp-like profiles. An abrupt increase in the gradient of the WD4.1 surface (dark blue arrow) coincides with the distally steepened segment of the underlying WD3 foreslope. Drape of strata over the antecedent WD4 slope break likely localized the margin of the WI1 CS.

Fig. 17

—Detailed view of the Cripple Creek reef margin, showing the composite and high-frequency sequence stratigraphy. Both composite and high-frequency MFSs are shown. Only composite sequence MFSs are labeled. A prominent patch reef horizon overlies the WD2.2 HFS boundary. The role of clay basin fill is shown by the evolution of foreslope gradients from the WD3.1 to the WI1.1 HFS. Foreslope dips decrease from 10–20° (red arrows) to less than 5° (light blue arrows) with influx of extrabasinal clays and the accompanying change to more ramp-like profiles. An abrupt increase in the gradient of the WD4.1 surface (dark blue arrow) coincides with the distally steepened segment of the underlying WD3 foreslope. Drape of strata over the antecedent WD4 slope break likely localized the margin of the WI1 CS.

Fig. 18

—Parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae, WD3.2 lowstand at Cripple Creek Skyline. Lens cap diameter is 5 cm.

Fig. 18

—Parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae, WD3.2 lowstand at Cripple Creek Skyline. Lens cap diameter is 5 cm.

Fig. 19

—The WD3.2 lowstand reef margin with intertonguing of allochthonous foreslope sand and stromatoporoid rubble (arrowed) at the Cripple Creek Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 19

—The WD3.2 lowstand reef margin with intertonguing of allochthonous foreslope sand and stromatoporoid rubble (arrowed) at the Cripple Creek Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 20

—Correlation of North Burnt Timber and Cripple Creek areas showing the component HFS and systems tracts of the WD4 CS. Subdivision into systems tracts are at the composite and high-frequency scales. From this correlation, fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone that overlie the WD4.1 surface at the Cripple Creek area are interpreted as LST. The WD4 composite sequence MFS (= WD4.2 MFS) represents the approximate level of pronounced retrogradation or reef demise in the basin and is an important surface for regional correlation.

Fig. 20

—Correlation of North Burnt Timber and Cripple Creek areas showing the component HFS and systems tracts of the WD4 CS. Subdivision into systems tracts are at the composite and high-frequency scales. From this correlation, fenestral laminated grainstone and Amphipora packstone–grainstone that overlie the WD4.1 surface at the Cripple Creek area are interpreted as LST. The WD4 composite sequence MFS (= WD4.2 MFS) represents the approximate level of pronounced retrogradation or reef demise in the basin and is an important surface for regional correlation.

Fig. 21

—Sequence stratigraphic correlation and lithofacies of the WD3 and WD4 CS at North Burnt Timber. Note the direction of depositional dip and strike on the photomontage. A tabular LST onlaps the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Boxes 1 and 2 show the location of Figures 22A and 24A, respectively.

Fig. 21

—Sequence stratigraphic correlation and lithofacies of the WD3 and WD4 CS at North Burnt Timber. Note the direction of depositional dip and strike on the photomontage. A tabular LST onlaps the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Boxes 1 and 2 show the location of Figures 22A and 24A, respectively.

Fig. 22

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.1 composite sequence boundary at North Burnt Timber. The surface has been modified by marine ravinement. A 2 m thick transgressive grainstone lag (arrowed) sits above truncation surface. Olistolith (a) composed of bedded and early cemented skeletal–peloidal grainstone is encased in foreslope to basinal strata of gray nodular lime mudstone. A light-colored lowstand overlies the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Box 1 in Figure 21. B) Well abraded stromatoporoid–lithoclast pebble conglomerate above the WD4.1 sequence boundary–marine ravinement surface at measured section NBT1, North Burnt Timber. The underlying WD4.1 surface is not shown.

Fig. 22

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.1 composite sequence boundary at North Burnt Timber. The surface has been modified by marine ravinement. A 2 m thick transgressive grainstone lag (arrowed) sits above truncation surface. Olistolith (a) composed of bedded and early cemented skeletal–peloidal grainstone is encased in foreslope to basinal strata of gray nodular lime mudstone. A light-colored lowstand overlies the WD4.2 HFS boundary. Box 1 in Figure 21. B) Well abraded stromatoporoid–lithoclast pebble conglomerate above the WD4.1 sequence boundary–marine ravinement surface at measured section NBT1, North Burnt Timber. The underlying WD4.1 surface is not shown.

Fig. 23

A) Sharp WD4.1 sequence boundary separating foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a), Cripple Creek Skyline. First fenestral cryptalgal laminite is 1 m above this surface and not shown. B) Upper foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) overlying and separated from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a) by the WD4.1 sequence boundary, 100 m northeast (basinward) of the Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 23

A) Sharp WD4.1 sequence boundary separating foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a), Cripple Creek Skyline. First fenestral cryptalgal laminite is 1 m above this surface and not shown. B) Upper foreslope skeletal grainstone (b) overlying and separated from lower foreslope branching coral packstone and wackestone (a) by the WD4.1 sequence boundary, 100 m northeast (basinward) of the Lunch Margin location.

Fig. 24

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.2 sequence boundary. View of exposure changes in direction from dip to strike, left to right, respectively. Dipping foresets (left) and a grainstone filled channel (right) are truncated at the level of the WD4.2 surface. Red arrows point to stromatoproid debris layers dipping basinward (oblique strike view). Foresets, right foreground, are from the WD3.2 HFS. Box 2 in Figure 21, North Burnt Timber. B) Sharp WD4.2 surface (arrowed) developed over small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone lower foreslope strata (a). Surface is overlain by allochthonous intraclast–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone (b). Some intraclasts are derived from the underlying deposits. Photograph is located approximately 10 m to the left of box 2 in Figure 21. Diameter of lens cap is 5 cm. North Burnt Timber.

Fig. 24

A) Foreset truncation along the WD4.2 sequence boundary. View of exposure changes in direction from dip to strike, left to right, respectively. Dipping foresets (left) and a grainstone filled channel (right) are truncated at the level of the WD4.2 surface. Red arrows point to stromatoproid debris layers dipping basinward (oblique strike view). Foresets, right foreground, are from the WD3.2 HFS. Box 2 in Figure 21, North Burnt Timber. B) Sharp WD4.2 surface (arrowed) developed over small branching coral, crinoid, and brachipod lime mudstone–wackestone lower foreslope strata (a). Surface is overlain by allochthonous intraclast–stromatoporoid rubble grainstone (b). Some intraclasts are derived from the underlying deposits. Photograph is located approximately 10 m to the left of box 2 in Figure 21. Diameter of lens cap is 5 cm. North Burnt Timber.

Fig. 25

—Sequence stratigraphy and lithofacies of the WI1 to WI3 CS at the Wapiabi Gap skyline. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies type. The BSFR is represented by orange lines. Rapid facies change from cherty, nodular lime mudstone of the lower foreslope to overlying grainstone of the upper foreslope in the WD1.2.1 HFS is believed to be caused by falling relative sea level during progradation (forced regression). MFSs are defined from stratal stacking patterns that mark the turnaround from aggradation to progradation and is the main criterion for differentiating lowstand from highstand systems tracts in the lower foreslope to basinal deposits shown here. Boxes 1, 2, and 3 mark the locations of Figures 28A and B, 28C, and 29A, respectively.

Fig. 25

—Sequence stratigraphy and lithofacies of the WI1 to WI3 CS at the Wapiabi Gap skyline. Platform-interior strata are colored according to the dominant lithofacies type. The BSFR is represented by orange lines. Rapid facies change from cherty, nodular lime mudstone of the lower foreslope to overlying grainstone of the upper foreslope in the WD1.2.1 HFS is believed to be caused by falling relative sea level during progradation (forced regression). MFSs are defined from stratal stacking patterns that mark the turnaround from aggradation to progradation and is the main criterion for differentiating lowstand from highstand systems tracts in the lower foreslope to basinal deposits shown here. Boxes 1, 2, and 3 mark the locations of Figures 28A and B, 28C, and 29A, respectively.

Fig. 26

—The WI1.1 lowstand (left) is composed of parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae (red) that are projected to onlap the WI1.1 sequence boundary landward (toward the left). A grainstone filled scour, 8 m thick, is located to the right of the lowstand. The left scour edge is abrupt and eroded into the underlying lower foreslope strata. The right distal basinward edge has less relief. At this location, grainstone interfingers laterally into lower foreslope strata over a distance of several tens of meters. Lithofacies and stratigraphy of the section between the WI1.1 and WB1.1 sequence boundaries, at Tina 1 and Tina 2, are presented in Figure 15.

Fig. 26

—The WI1.1 lowstand (left) is composed of parallel laminated grainstone with laminoid fenestrae (red) that are projected to onlap the WI1.1 sequence boundary landward (toward the left). A grainstone filled scour, 8 m thick, is located to the right of the lowstand. The left scour edge is abrupt and eroded into the underlying lower foreslope strata. The right distal basinward edge has less relief. At this location, grainstone interfingers laterally into lower foreslope strata over a distance of several tens of meters. Lithofacies and stratigraphy of the section between the WI1.1 and WB1.1 sequence boundaries, at Tina 1 and Tina 2, are presented in Figure 15.

Fig. 27

—WI1.1 pinnacle reef at Kiska. The WI1.1 composite sequence boundary separates the underlying basinal deposits (a) of dark gray nodular to nodular-bedded wackestone to lime mudstone of the WD4 CS from the overlying grainstone (b). Pinnacle reef (r) is composed of dipping beds (30°) of tabular stromatoporoid boundstone grading upward into hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone.

Fig. 27

—WI1.1 pinnacle reef at Kiska. The WI1.1 composite sequence boundary separates the underlying basinal deposits (a) of dark gray nodular to nodular-bedded wackestone to lime mudstone of the WD4 CS from the overlying grainstone (b). Pinnacle reef (r) is composed of dipping beds (30°) of tabular stromatoporoid boundstone grading upward into hemispherical stromatoporoid boundstone.

Fig. 28

A) Sigmoidal foresets within the hemispherical stromatoporoid reef margin boundstone are truncated by the capping WD1.2.1 HF sequence boundary (red triangles). A sharp BSFR (orange triangles) separates the boundstone from underlying foreslope deposits of the WI1.1 HFS. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25. B) A BSFR (orange triangles) below the stromatoporoid boundstone becomes progressively more conformable downslope (extreme left) within the WI1.1 HFS. C) Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets of the WD1.2.1 downlap the BSFR, which overlie lower foreslope strata. The sharp surface separates gray argillaceous, cherty, and nodular-bedded lime mudstone from the overlying skeletal grainstone and continues toward the skyline on the upper right. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25.

Fig. 28

A) Sigmoidal foresets within the hemispherical stromatoporoid reef margin boundstone are truncated by the capping WD1.2.1 HF sequence boundary (red triangles). A sharp BSFR (orange triangles) separates the boundstone from underlying foreslope deposits of the WI1.1 HFS. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25. B) A BSFR (orange triangles) below the stromatoporoid boundstone becomes progressively more conformable downslope (extreme left) within the WI1.1 HFS. C) Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets of the WD1.2.1 downlap the BSFR, which overlie lower foreslope strata. The sharp surface separates gray argillaceous, cherty, and nodular-bedded lime mudstone from the overlying skeletal grainstone and continues toward the skyline on the upper right. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 2 in Figure 25.

Fig. 29

A) Channel erosion into (a) the lower foreslope deposits of the WI1.2.2 HFS, to a depth of approximately 15 m. Erosion originated from the WI1.3 surface and extends halfway down to the level of the older WI1.2.1–WI1.2.2 composite HF sequence boundary. Note foreset truncation. (b) Prograding stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone infill the channel. (c) Strata overlying the WI2.1 sequence boundary are composed of meter-scale cyclic platform-interior lime mudstone to cryptalgal laminite. (d) Locally disrupted beds are likely from collapse associated with gypsum dissolution. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 3 in Figure 25. B) Second channel along the WI1.3 sequence boundary. Down-cutting extends approximately to the level of the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary (SB). The feature is filled by stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone. It is approximately 18 m deep and located 270 m northwest of the previous example shown in A. Note: the WI1.2 MFS and WI1 MFS coincide. C) Axial view of the WI1.3 channel (from B) showing progradation toward the northeast (left). Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets are overlain by flat bedded grainstone of the reef-flat.

Fig. 29

A) Channel erosion into (a) the lower foreslope deposits of the WI1.2.2 HFS, to a depth of approximately 15 m. Erosion originated from the WI1.3 surface and extends halfway down to the level of the older WI1.2.1–WI1.2.2 composite HF sequence boundary. Note foreset truncation. (b) Prograding stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone infill the channel. (c) Strata overlying the WI2.1 sequence boundary are composed of meter-scale cyclic platform-interior lime mudstone to cryptalgal laminite. (d) Locally disrupted beds are likely from collapse associated with gypsum dissolution. Wapiabi Gap Skyline, box 3 in Figure 25. B) Second channel along the WI1.3 sequence boundary. Down-cutting extends approximately to the level of the WI1.2.1 sequence boundary (SB). The feature is filled by stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone. It is approximately 18 m deep and located 270 m northwest of the previous example shown in A. Note: the WI1.2 MFS and WI1 MFS coincide. C) Axial view of the WI1.3 channel (from B) showing progradation toward the northeast (left). Stromatoporoid rubble and grainstone foresets are overlain by flat bedded grainstone of the reef-flat.

Fig. 30

—WI3.1 CS boundary at Cripple Creek Skyline. A karst surface is developed over slightly dolomitized laminated lime mudstone. Thinly interbedded dolomitic siltstone and lime mudstone drape the small karst sinkhole. A quartz siltstone filled karst pipe is located below sinkhole. Scale in inches.

Fig. 30

—WI3.1 CS boundary at Cripple Creek Skyline. A karst surface is developed over slightly dolomitized laminated lime mudstone. Thinly interbedded dolomitic siltstone and lime mudstone drape the small karst sinkhole. A quartz siltstone filled karst pipe is located below sinkhole. Scale in inches.

Fig. 31

—Evolution of the WI1 and WI2 CS at Wapiabi Gap Skyline. 1) Within the WI1.2.2 highstand, a lithofacies boundary evolves into a BSFR with falling relative sea level (RSL). 2) With continued fall of RSL, a basinward dipping BSFR and the associated WI1.3 HFS boundary sequence boundary developed, with 3) areas of channel down-cutting (RSL 1–2). 4) RSL rise initiates carbonate production, grainstone deposition, and progradation (RSL 3). 5) Erosion (of grainstone) with renewed RSL fall formed the regionally extensive WI2.1 CS boundary (RSL 4). 6) RSL rise arrests erosion and starts deposition of the restricted platform-interior facies. Erosive modification of the grainstone could have occurred during transgression, although that is less likely as the ensuing platform interior is within a low wave energy setting.

Fig. 31

—Evolution of the WI1 and WI2 CS at Wapiabi Gap Skyline. 1) Within the WI1.2.2 highstand, a lithofacies boundary evolves into a BSFR with falling relative sea level (RSL). 2) With continued fall of RSL, a basinward dipping BSFR and the associated WI1.3 HFS boundary sequence boundary developed, with 3) areas of channel down-cutting (RSL 1–2). 4) RSL rise initiates carbonate production, grainstone deposition, and progradation (RSL 3). 5) Erosion (of grainstone) with renewed RSL fall formed the regionally extensive WI2.1 CS boundary (RSL 4). 6) RSL rise arrests erosion and starts deposition of the restricted platform-interior facies. Erosive modification of the grainstone could have occurred during transgression, although that is less likely as the ensuing platform interior is within a low wave energy setting.

Fig. 32

—Lowstand development in the Cripple Creek area (Boundary Creek to Kiska Headwaters), showing geometry (wedge or tabular) and frequency in relation to the second-order Givetian–Frasnian supersequence. Lowstands (orange-colored) are identified from the onlap of platform-margin grainstone or tidal-flat deposits onto foreslope strata. Second-order supersequence systems tract subdivision is shown on the extreme left. Figure 15 is a colored version of this figure.

Fig. 32

—Lowstand development in the Cripple Creek area (Boundary Creek to Kiska Headwaters), showing geometry (wedge or tabular) and frequency in relation to the second-order Givetian–Frasnian supersequence. Lowstands (orange-colored) are identified from the onlap of platform-margin grainstone or tidal-flat deposits onto foreslope strata. Second-order supersequence systems tract subdivision is shown on the extreme left. Figure 15 is a colored version of this figure.

Table 1.

—The main depositional environments, lithofacies, symbol legend, and color scheme for interpreted outcrop cross sections.r

Table 2.

Comparison of the present and previous Givetian–Frasnian sequence stratigraphic schemes (Potma et al. 2001, 2002) of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.

Table 3.

—Location of measured sections.

Location name Latitude Longitude 
South Burnt Timber 1 51°26'5.14"N 115°25'36.81"W 
South Burnt Timber 2 51°26'11.18"N 115°25'44.36"W 
North Burnt Timber 1 51°29'19.88"N 115°29'14.58"W 
North Burnt Timber 2 51°29'25.95"N 115°29'5.09"W 
Boundary Creek 52° 6'22.13"N 115°58'42.23"W 
Nell Creek 52° 7'45.24"N 116° 1'35.58"W 
Ann Creek 52° 9'0.40"N 116° 3'34.75"W 
Cripple Creek Skyline 52° 9'21.19"N 116° 4'25.90"W 
Cripple Creek 1 52° 9'24.47"N 116° 4'28.40"W 
Cripple Creek 2 52° 9'23.64"N 116° 4'37.77"W 
Lunch Margin 52° 9'25.54"N 116° 4'45.34"W 
Fossil Corner 52° 9'27.26"N 116° 4'56.57"W 
Tina Creek 1 52° 9'33.17"N 116° 5'27.84"W 
Tina Creek 2 52° 9'41.26"N 116° 5'39.18"W 
North Tina 52° 9'53.14"N 116° 5'54.12"W 
Tina-North Ram 52°10'28.41"N 116° 6'37.61"W 
North Ram 52°11'17.42"N 116° 8'45.57"W 
Kiska Headwaters 1 52°13'59.01"N 116°13'47.49"W 
Kiska Headwaters 2 52°14'0.48"N 116°14'4.72"W 
Kiska Headwaters 3 52°14'6.80"N 116'14'28.84"W 
Kiska Creek 52°14'20.58"N 116°16'9.75"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 2 52°29'12.53"N 116°23'58.32"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 1 52°29'28.83"N 116°23'55.88"W 
Wapiabi Creek (3 sections] 52°29'23.22"N 116'25'8.76"W 
Wapiabi Gap Margin 52°29'22.23"N 116°25'15.28"W 
Wapiabi Gap Lag 52°29'47.02"N 116°2S'34.45"W 
Wapiabi Gap Revolution 52°29'53.96"N 116°25'35.86"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 1 52°30'12.92"N 116°26'5.29"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 2 52°30'17.09"N 116°267.99"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 3 52°30'53.68"N 116°26'50.18"W 
Location name Latitude Longitude 
South Burnt Timber 1 51°26'5.14"N 115°25'36.81"W 
South Burnt Timber 2 51°26'11.18"N 115°25'44.36"W 
North Burnt Timber 1 51°29'19.88"N 115°29'14.58"W 
North Burnt Timber 2 51°29'25.95"N 115°29'5.09"W 
Boundary Creek 52° 6'22.13"N 115°58'42.23"W 
Nell Creek 52° 7'45.24"N 116° 1'35.58"W 
Ann Creek 52° 9'0.40"N 116° 3'34.75"W 
Cripple Creek Skyline 52° 9'21.19"N 116° 4'25.90"W 
Cripple Creek 1 52° 9'24.47"N 116° 4'28.40"W 
Cripple Creek 2 52° 9'23.64"N 116° 4'37.77"W 
Lunch Margin 52° 9'25.54"N 116° 4'45.34"W 
Fossil Corner 52° 9'27.26"N 116° 4'56.57"W 
Tina Creek 1 52° 9'33.17"N 116° 5'27.84"W 
Tina Creek 2 52° 9'41.26"N 116° 5'39.18"W 
North Tina 52° 9'53.14"N 116° 5'54.12"W 
Tina-North Ram 52°10'28.41"N 116° 6'37.61"W 
North Ram 52°11'17.42"N 116° 8'45.57"W 
Kiska Headwaters 1 52°13'59.01"N 116°13'47.49"W 
Kiska Headwaters 2 52°14'0.48"N 116°14'4.72"W 
Kiska Headwaters 3 52°14'6.80"N 116'14'28.84"W 
Kiska Creek 52°14'20.58"N 116°16'9.75"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 2 52°29'12.53"N 116°23'58.32"W 
Wapiabi Gap off-Reef 1 52°29'28.83"N 116°23'55.88"W 
Wapiabi Creek (3 sections] 52°29'23.22"N 116'25'8.76"W 
Wapiabi Gap Margin 52°29'22.23"N 116°25'15.28"W 
Wapiabi Gap Lag 52°29'47.02"N 116°2S'34.45"W 
Wapiabi Gap Revolution 52°29'53.96"N 116°25'35.86"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 1 52°30'12.92"N 116°26'5.29"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 2 52°30'17.09"N 116°267.99"W 
Wapiabi Gap Reef 3 52°30'53.68"N 116°26'50.18"W 
Table 4.

Stratigraphic summary chart of the Cline Channel area: Composite and high-frequency sequences, bounding surfaces, component systems tracts, conodont biostratigraphy, and significant depositional events.

Table 5.

High-frequency sequence boundary definition criteria for all measured sections depicted in Figure 6. These include cycle stacking patterns, systematic variations in facies proportions, and pronounced landward or basinward facies offset.

Location\HFS Boundary Creek Cripple Creek Skyline Tina North Tina North Ram North Ram River Kiska Headwaters Kiska Creek Wapiabi Gap off-reef Wapiabi Gap Reef 
WD2.2 by correlation by correlation top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles/by correlation by correlation basinal deposits basinal deposits basinal deposits section coveed pronounced backstep, top of thin platform-interior cycles 
WD2.1 top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles karst, iron oxide stained, thin bank-interior cycles section partly covered section covered upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced basinward facies offset basinal deposits karst, pronounced basinward facies offset karst, upward thinning of platform -interior cycles, pronounced backstep 
WD1.5 by correlation top of thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles section covered amalgamated (?) cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation basinal deposits by correlation top of upward shoaling facies succession 
WD1.4 by correlation, below WD1 mfs thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) by correlation, below WD1MFS top of upward shoaling fades succession section covered basinal deposits pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) 
WD1.3 upward thinning of platform-interior cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation upward thinning of platform-interior cycles thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of platform-interior cycles top of cryptalgal laminite, drowned platform top top of cryptalgal laminite top of cryptalgal laminite, close to overlying facies offset 
WD1.1/1.2 not deposited top of cryptalgal laminite karsted lime mudstone top of first cryptalgal laminite not deposited upward thinning of platform-interior cycles backstep (landward facies offset) karst on thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles top of cryptalgal laminite 
Location\HFS Boundary Creek Cripple Creek Skyline Tina North Tina North Ram North Ram River Kiska Headwaters Kiska Creek Wapiabi Gap off-reef Wapiabi Gap Reef 
WD2.2 by correlation by correlation top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles/by correlation by correlation basinal deposits basinal deposits basinal deposits section coveed pronounced backstep, top of thin platform-interior cycles 
WD2.1 top of thin Amphipora packstone cycles karst, iron oxide stained, thin bank-interior cycles section partly covered section covered upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced basinward facies offset basinal deposits karst, pronounced basinward facies offset karst, upward thinning of platform -interior cycles, pronounced backstep 
WD1.5 by correlation top of thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles section covered amalgamated (?) cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation basinal deposits by correlation top of upward shoaling facies succession 
WD1.4 by correlation, below WD1 mfs thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) by correlation, below WD1MFS top of upward shoaling fades succession section covered basinal deposits pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) pronounced backstep (landward facies offset) 
WD1.3 upward thinning of platform-interior cycles upward thinning of cryptalgal laminite capped cycles by correlation upward thinning of platform-interior cycles thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles upward thinning of platform-interior cycles top of cryptalgal laminite, drowned platform top top of cryptalgal laminite top of cryptalgal laminite, close to overlying facies offset 
WD1.1/1.2 not deposited top of cryptalgal laminite karsted lime mudstone top of first cryptalgal laminite not deposited upward thinning of platform-interior cycles backstep (landward facies offset) karst on thin cryptalgal laminite capped cycles top of cryptalgal laminite 
Table 6.

Frasnian composite and high-frequency sequence lowstand geometry and magnitude of associated relative sea-level falls.

Contents

Society for Sedimentary Geology

NEWADVANCES IN DEVONIAN CARBONATES: OUTCROP ANALOGS, RESERVOIRS AND CHRONOSTRATIGRAPHY

Society for Sedimentary Geology
Volume
107
ISBN electronic:
9781565763456
Publication date:
January 01, 2017

GeoRef

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