The Precambrian Lorrain Quartzite is exposed on Manitoulin, Great Cloche, and Birch islands in Lake Huron off the mainland of Ontario. Metamorphism created a massive unit, which later formed a resistant angular unconformity overlain by a succession of strata deposited from Middle to Late Ordovician times. At the start of Ordovician sedimentation, topographic relief was at least 125 m when the quartzite hills formed an archipelago of small, rocky islands. The Ordovician–Precambrian unconformity provides insight on a changing series of depositional environments over rocky bottoms and rocky shores. Four Ordovician units are well represented. The Swift Current Formation includes some red beds, while the younger Cloche Island and Cobourg formations are carbonates. The Collingwood Formation is a black shale. The first three include eroded quartzite clasts typical of a rocky-shore setting. The unconformity marked by the Collingwood Formation indicates a rapid transgression with little time for the accumulation of eroded quartzite clasts. A rich trilobite and orthid brachiopod fauna was recovered from the Collingwood Formation immediately above the Lorrain Quartzite and it represents a rare association that lived in a rocky-bottom setting. This fauna includes the first-reported occurrence of the genus Triarthrus from Manitoulin Island. The Collingwood transgression is equated with a major rise in sea level widely recognized elsewhere in North America and Scandinavia.

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