Abstract

The Kamouraska Formation is a quartz-arenitic unit of latest Cambrian – earliest Ordovician age in the Quebec Appalachians that was deposited by hyperconcentrated to concentrated density flows in a meandering submarine canyon on the continental slope bordering the Iapetus Ocean, as outlined in a companion paper. Detailed petrographic study of the quartz arenites of the Kamouraska Formation combined with scanning electron microscopy of grain surface textures suggests that the quartz sands are of eolian origin having been derived from an inland desert or, less likely, a barrier beach dune system. Transport of the mature quartz-arenitic sand onto the shelf and deposition into the deep sea was not accompanied by substantial mixing with material from other sources thus preserving the inherited eolian characteristics. A modern analogue for the eolian interpretation of the deep-sea quartz-arenite beds is as follows: thick, Late Pleistocene eolian sand beds on a modern abyssal plain in the East Atlantic referred to as eolian-sand turbidites that were deposited in the deep sea during glacial sea level lowstands when eolian sand transport to canyon heads was enabled by an exposed and shortened shelf. Similarly, an established sea level lowstand at the Cambro–Ordovician boundary would have facilitated the introduction of eolian sand of the Kamouraska Foundation into canyon heads on the upper slope from where turbidity currents and related density flows were triggered. Correlation of the Kamouraska Formation with the quartz arenites of the Cairnside Formation of Quebec (Keeseville Formation in northern New York State, Nepean Formation in southern Ontario) links the deep-sea deposits with remnants of an inland dune system.

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