Abstract

Clastic strata preserved on Sidney Island, Barnes Island, and adjacent islands of the southernmost Gulf Islands of British Columbia and the northern San Juan Islands of Washington State are assigned to new stratigraphic units: the Sidney Island Formation and the Barnes Island Formation. The Sidney Island Formation consists of basal conglomerate and sandstone that grades upward through planar-stratified sandstone into hummocky cross-stratified sand-stone and siltstone, all of which are deposited in relatively shallow-marine environments. The Barnes Island Formation, in contrast, consists of deep-marine conglomerate, sandstone, and mudstone that was deposited in a submarine-fan setting. Mollusk fossils from the Sidney Island Formation are of Early to Middle Turonian age, whereas ammonites and foraminifers from the Barnes Island Formation indicate a Late Turonian age. The Sidney Island Formation thus records initial marine transgression and inundation of basement rocks, followed by basin deepening that is transitional to the deep-marine submarine-fan deposits of the Barnes Island Formation. Sidney Island Formation strata have been considered previously as derived from uplift along the nearby San Juan thrust system in mid-Cretaceous time. However, the shallow-marine strata are internally well organized, and the facies succession is persistent across the formation’s out-crop area. In addition, the formation lacks the distinctive detrital metamorphic mineral assemblages that are characteristic of older rocks of the San Juan Islands. These observations suggest that strata of the Sidney Island Formation did not accumulate immediately adjacent to active thrusting but rather in a more distal setting relative to the thrust system.

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