Abstract

The late Campanian (∼73 Ma) Dorothy bentonite outcrops in the marine Bearpaw Shale for 20 km along the Red Deer River valley east of Drumheller, Alberta, and is up to 13.5 m thick. An isopach map based upon 230 subsurface and surface thickness measurements illustrates an elongated southwest–northeast lobe with maximum dimensions of about 300 km by 50 km. The volume is ∼57 km3 distributed within an area of ∼11 000 km2. This bentonite is the altered product of what is believed to be a short-lived Plincan-type eruption from part of the Howell Creek Instrusives in southeastern British Columbia. Fortuitous preservation of the original ash in an up to 2.5 m thick calcite-cemented tuffaceous zone near the middle of the bentonite shows the original ash to have been >99% glass shards and pumice. The remainder of the ash is a crystal component consisting mostly of plagioclase and biotite. The silica content of the isotropic glass shards of about 77%, and a refractive index of 1.503 ± 0.001, suggest a magma of rhyolitic composition.

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