Abstract

The West Indian Road pit is the only large outcrop in Nova Scotia of the Chaswood Formation, the terrestrial equivalent of the offshore Missisauga and Logan Canyon formations. It provides outcrop information on sedimentology, gravel petrology, and structures for a formation that is otherwise known from a few small overgrown pits and from boreholes. The Chaswood Formation in the pit is > 60 m thick and consists principally of sorted sand and gravel with three thinner clay units. Successions of sedimentary structures indicate deposition from a coarse-bedload river flowing to the east-southeast. Gravel consists principally of vein quartz, quartz arenite, and subarkose, together with minor igneous lithologies that can be matched to sources in the Cobequid Highlands to the north. Quartz arenite and subarkose appear derived from Carboniferous Horton Group. Single-crystal 40Ar/39Ar dates of detrital muscovite are a little older than the muscovite ages for the South Mountain batholith, interpreted to mean that the muscovite is second cycle from the Horton Group, which records the earliest unroofing of the batholith. The Chaswood Formation accumulated during progressive tectonic deformation along NNE-trending strike-slip faults in basement rocks, resulting in syn-sedimentary faulting and local unconformities. Sedimentation kept pace with the creation of accommodation. Unrelated younger deformation folded the Chaswood Formation at the pit into an east–west-trending syncline. The Early Cretaceous paleogeography of the Maritime Provinces is interpreted to have consisted of fault-bound horsts shedding coarse detritus surrounded by an interconnected series of basins that accumulated fluvial sands and gravels and overbank muds with well-developed paleosols.

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