Abstract

Albian foraminiferal assemblages from three wells in northwestern (Imperial Spirit River No. 1, 12-20-78-6W6), central (AngloHome C&E Fort Augustus No. 1, 7-29-55-21W4), and southern Alberta (Amoco B1 Youngstown, 6-34-30-8W4) provide the basis to track a fluctuating sea-level history in western Canada. Two global second-order marine cycles (Kiowa – Skull Creek and Greenhorn) were punctuated by higher frequency relative sea-level cycles expressed during the time of the Moosebar–Clearwater, Hulcross, Joli Fou, and Mowry seas. A total of 34 genera and 93 subgeneric taxa are recognized in these Albian-age strata. Foraminiferal abundance and species diversity of the latest Albian Mowry Sea were higher than in the early to middle Albian Moosebar–Clearwater and Hulcross seas. The two earliest paleo-seas were shallow embayments of the Boreal Sea, and relative sea-level fluctuations caused variable marine to brackish conditions expressed in a variety of faunal assemblages. Towards the late Albian, relative sea level rose, deepening the basin and establishing increased marine conditions and more favourable habitats for foraminifera. In the deeper Joli Fou Seaway and Mowry Sea, however, reduced bottom water oxygen through stratification or stagnant circulation caused times of diminished benthic faunas. The Bluesky Formation in northwestern Alberta contains the initial transgression of the early Albian Moosebar–Clearwater Sea and is marked by a sudden faunal increase. In contrast, transgression by the late late Albian Mowry Sea was associated with a gradual increase of foraminiferal faunas. Numerous agglutinated species range throughout the entire Albian, absent only at times of basin shallowing. However, each major marine incursion throughout the Albian introduced new taxa.

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