New biostratigraphic data and revised lithostratigraphic correlations reveal that the current stratigraphic nomenclature for the Lower Jurassic portions of the Fernie Formation in the subsurface of west-central Alberta is inadequate. This paper introduces a new member, the Gordondale Member, for highly radioactive, fine-grained strata previously referred to as either the lower Fernie Formation, the Lower Fernie shelf limestone and clastics, the Nordegg Member, or the “Nordegg Member”. A new occurrence of a late Toarcian ammonite, which constrains the age of the top of the Gordondale Member, is also reported.
The Hettangian to upper Toarcian Gordondale Member is an important hydrocarbon source rock and consists of dark brown, finely laminated, organic-rich, phosphatic and highly radioactive calcitic mudstones, calcilutites and fine-grained calcarenites. Fish fragments, pectinoid bivalves, Ostrea, belemnoids, ammonites, coccoliths and radiolarians are abundant. The Gordondale Member is laterally extensive and thins westward from a maximum thickness of approximately 50 m in the subsurface of west-central Alberta to 19 m at Pink Mountain in northeastern British Columbia.