Abstract

The youngest formations of the Neoproterozoic Windermere Supergroup in northwestern Canada (Gametrail, Blueflower, and Risky formations) record the transition from slope to shelf deposition on a prograding passive margin. Eleven facies associations are recognized, representing environments ranging from carbonate- and siliciclastic-dominated continental slope to open carbonate shelf and siliciclastic shoreface. Seven simple sequences are recognized, which can be grouped into three composite sequences. Combination of the data presented here with previous work on underlying and overlying formations indicates that the sequence-stratigraphic record is least detailed in the deepest-water facies and most detailed in shelf facies, reflecting the relative inability of high-frequency relative sea-level oscillations to affect deposition in deep-water settings. Falling-stage deposits are especially common in the upper slope region. Several major sequence boundaries (unconformities) are clustered in the interval a short distance below the Precambrian–Cambrian boundary. The most significant of these occurs high in the Blueflower Formation, not at the top of the Risky Formation as commonly inferred. This interval containing several surfaces may reflect thermal uplift related to the rifting recorded in rocks of this age in the southern Canadian Cordillera. Renewed subsidence (thermal relaxation) commenced just prior to the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian boundary, giving rise to a thick succession of shelf to nonmarine basal-Cambrian deposits. Ediacaran body fossils previously reported from the studied units occur in a range of slope to shoreface environments, including some facies that were deposited below the photic zone. The most common taxa occur across a spectrum of facies and were apparently ecological generalists.

You do not currently have access to this article.