Abstract

The Jurassic section of the upper Fernie Formation and lower Kootenay Group exposed in road-cuts near Banff, Alberta, formerly known as the "Banff Traffic Circle" section, is a frequently visited outcrop owing to its locality along the Trans-Canada Highway and the excellent quality of exposure in an overall regressive foreland succession from relatively deep marine shales to fluvial sandstones. Our observations suggest that previous interpretations of this outcrop are over-simplified in three ways: (1) the blanket term "turbidite" has been used previously to describe units which may have been driven by mechanisms other than density currents, such as storm surge return flows or inertially driven flows from fluvial channels; (2) the marine-to-nonmarine transition may be more complex than previously envisioned; and (3) the lower third of the outcrop is much more heavily deformed than previously recognized, throwing into doubt interpretations of stratigraphic thickness, facies changes, and paleocurrent directions. Our observations and interpretations are presented with a view toward use as a field guide, to augment existing field guides, and to provoke discussion on the outcrop.

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