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Field trip to examine Montney Formation analogs: Exposures of the Sulphur Mountain Formation around Canmore and Kananaskis, western Alberta, Canada

Jon Noad
Jon Noad
Sedimental Services, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and Adjunct Professor, Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, 1-26 Earth Sciences Building, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2E3
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January 01, 2017
Publication history
03 March 2017


The Canadian Rockies are famous for their outstanding scenery, and also for the associated oil and gas production in the foothills and eastern plains. Outcrops ranging from Devonian to Quaternary, stretching from 400 million years to less than a million years, provide analogs to many producing formations. Most of our knowledge regarding the Triassic Montney Formation has been garnered in the subsurface, but there are excellent age-equivalent outcrops, such as the Sulphur Mountain Formation, which provide valuable data and discussion points.

The Montney Formation occurs over a wide area, and may reach 360 m in thickness. It is dominated by silt grade sediment, with relatively low total organic carbon values. It was deposited primarily as a series of prograding clinoforms, with deposition influenced by underlying reefal deposits and older structures. Facies in the subsurface range from upper shoreface sandstones, through lower shoreface hummocky cross-stratified sandstones and coarse siltstones, to finely laminated lower shoreface sandstone and offshore siltstone beds, as well as turbidites. There are also coquinas in updip eastern settings. Equivalent deposits related to many of these depositional settings can be observed in the Sulphur Mountain Formation in outcrops in Canmore and Kananaskis. The rocks display a wide variety of sedimentary structures and a suite of body and trace fossils, and provide a valuable window into the subsurface, with the outcropping facies acting as direct analogs to those seen in Montney cores.

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GSA Field Guide

Geologic Field Trips of the Canadian Rockies: 2017 Meeting of the GSA Rocky Mountain Section

Geological Society of America
ISBN print:
Publication date:
January 01, 2017



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