Abstract

The Late Ordovician Geogian Bay Formation of southern Ontario, Canada, comprises up to 250 m of grey to blue–grey shales interbedded with highly fossiliferous calcareous sandstones. These strata were deposited in equatorial paleolatitudes after 448 Ma in a shallow foreland basin created by overthrusting along the eastern margin of North America (the Taconic orogeny). The Georgian Bay Formation comprises the middle part of an upward-shallowing progradational sequence from deep-water transgressive shales of the underlying Whitby Formation to muddy tidal-flat sequences of the overlying Queenston Formation. Exposures in brickyard and river cuts near Toronto, and northwards along a narrow outcrop belt along the foot of the Niagara Escarpment, show laterally extensive (100 m+), sharp-based sheets of sandstone up to 1 m thick, with gutter casts and washed-out (hypichnial) trace fossils (dominantly Planolites and Paleophycus) on their lower bedding surfaces. Detailed examination of sandstone beds in outcrop and in three boreholes that penetrate the formation shows that the beds are composed internally of a basal fossil hash layer overlain by flat, hummocky, and wave-rippled divisions. Bed tops show a variety of wave-ripple forms and are heavily bioturbated (dominantly Bifungites, Conostichus, Diplocraterion, Didymaulichnus, Teichichnus). Sandstone sheets are interpreted as storm deposits (tempestites) resulting from tropical storms (hurricanes) transporting fine-grained suspended sediment from a delta plain onto a muddy shelf to the west.

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