A new Lower to Middle Devonian basinal unit of the Road River Group, herein formally named the Deserters Formation, contains argillaceous, crinoidal limestone and black shale deposited in a linear sub-basin of the Ospika Embayment, southern Kechika Trough. The abrupt lateral facies changes in the region, facies thickness, and occurrence of volcanics indicate a period of extensional tectonism. A total of 53 (4–5 kg each) samples from the Deserters Formation yielded 7766 conodont elements assigned to 14 genera representing 33 species. The formation ranges from the Lochkovian (eleanorae Zone, or lower part of the delta Zone of the Cordilleran Region) to Eifelian (australis Zone). The temporal constraints established by conodont biostratigraphy allow correlation to the Grizzly Bear Formation, a regionally restricted Lower to Middle Devonian unit in the Selwyn Basin to the north.

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