Abstract

Industrial-grade limestone is found in both the Lower Silurian La Vieille Formation and Upper Silurian LaPlante Formation of the Chaleurs Group in northern New Brunswick. Currently, between 150 000 and 200 000 tonnes of limestone are produced per year from the proximal facies of the LaPlante Formation at the Sormany quarry of Elmtree Resources Ltd., located west of Bathurst.

The proximal facies of the LaPlante Formation was deposited on the margins of tectonically uplifted Ordovician terranes. This facies comprises stromatoporoidal-algal bindstone intercalated with wackestone, packstone, and floatstone in variable proportions. The distal facies comprises calcareous shale and minor limestone deposited deeper offshore.

Folding and faulting related to Middle Devonian Acadian tectonism have caused an increase in the apparent thickness of the limestone sequences, especially adjacent to the regional Rocky Brook–Millstream fault. Structural and stratigraphic observations indicate that some of the limestone bodies in the area have been tectonically displaced from their site of deposition.

A variety of prospecting techniques was used to locate new limestone resources, including geological mapping, airborne and ground electromagnetic surveys, and satellite remote sensing. Clastic rock units above and below the LaPlante Formation have distinctive properties that help to trace the intervening limestone along strike. Because of water-saturated glacial cover, thick vegetation, and the small size of targets, airborne geophysical methods did not prove effective in delineating limestone beds, but aeromagnetic surveys helped map the underlying clastic unit. The remote-sensing data and especially high-resolution digital elevation models helped in identification of karst topography related to limestone.

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