Abstract

The Upper Ordovician Queenston Formation constitutes the westernmost part of the Taconic clastic wedge of eastern North America. In Ontario, the Queenston Formation consists of a mixed terrigenous-carbonate succession composed primarily of red silty shales, which are locally gypsiferous, alternating, in the middle and lower parts of the formation, with thin grey shales, calcareous siltstone and sandstone, and bioclastic limestone. Brachiopods, some ostracodes, and, in the lower beds, bryozoans constitute the body fossil assemblage. Diplocraterion, Skolithos, Chondrites, and occasional large vertical burrows of unknown origin form the ichnofauna. Plane beds, ripple marks, and occasional swaley and hummocky cross-stratifications are present in the calcareous units. Mudcracks, gypsum nodules, occasional halite hopper casts, and gilgai-like structures typically occur in horizons where shales alternate with siltstone and limestone. These features are indicative of prograding muddy and storm- and tide-affected shores. In southernmost Ontario, the upper part of the formation is mostly composed of a red shale, with local recognizable shale-filled channels. This shale is of paralic origin, and it is truncated by the unconformity separating the Ordovician from the Silurian units in this region. This last event may, in part, be related to a eustatic sea-level drop due to the contemporaneous Saharan glaciation, if not exclusively due to tectonic movements.

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