Extensive deposits of Eocene conglomerate, sandstone, shale, and sub-bituminous coal occur within a half-graben at Princeton, British Columbia. These strata comprise ∼2000 m of fluvial sediment interbedded with tephra and volcanic flows. Near the southeast margin of the basin, ∼200 m of rhythmically bedded strata are exposed along the Similkameen River. Cyclic deposition resulted from repeated episodes of hydrologic and topographic change related to seismic activity along the Boundary Fault on the east flank of the Princeton Basin, where Allenby Formation sediments are juxtaposed against metamorphic and metavolcanic rocks of the Upper Triassic Nicola Group. Interbedded carbonaceous shale and tuffaceous sandstone record influxes of distal lahar deposits into a lowland swamp. Coal–breccia transitions originated when debris flows along the scarp carried volcanic debris into adjacent wetlands. Coal–chert rhythmites are inferred to be evidence of hydrologic changes associated with floodplain tilt events that caused lowland to repeatedly alternate between a stagnant pond (“fen”) and a stream-fed lake. During fen stages, peat was silicified in situ from percolation of groundwater carrying silica dissolved from underlying tuffaceous beds. Episodic influxes of stream flow reduced dissolved silica concentrations and caused increases in dissolved oxygen levels. These geochemical changes caused organic matter that accumulated during these conditions of open water circulation to remain unsilicified and susceptible to partial maceration. Diagenesis eventually converted these deposits to alternating beds of sub-bituminous coal intercalated with chert horizons.

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