Abstract

The Kamouraska Formation is an uppermost Cambrian – lowermost Ordovician quartz-arenite-dominated unit of controversial origin deposited on the southeastern slope of Laurentia bordering the Iapetus Ocean. It is exposed in the Quebec Appalachians on the south shore of the St. Lawrence Estuary. The formation consists of basal polymictic conglomerate and overlying massive sheet-like quartz arenite. The conglomerate beds are reversely and reversely to normally graded. The quartz arenite beds are generally massive, although they may show coarse-tail grading. Beds containing full or partial Bouma sequences are rare. Paleoflow directions from ripple-cross lamination, ripple marks on bed surfaces, and sole marks point towards southeast, south, and southwest. The clastic sediments of the Kamouraska were transported into the deep sea by sediment gravity flows that evolved from hyperconcentrated to concentrated density flows, and then to turbidity currents. The depositional environment is interpreted to have been a southwest-trending meandering submarine canyon. The exposed part of the canyon deposits is slightly oblique to the strike of slope. If correct, our interpretation establishes the preservation of continental-slope deposits in more distal deep-water siliciclastic sedimentary rocks of the Taconian orogen in Quebec, which traditionally have been interpreted as submarine-fan and (or) basin-plain deposits. The orientation of a canyon near parallel-to strike of the slope may have been controlled by syn-depositional growth faults. The coarsest hyperconcentrated flows, which deposited the conglomerate, were restricted to the deepest parts of the canyon during its early stages of development, whereas the concentrated density flows that deposited the massive quartz-arenite beds covered a wider area.

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