Abstract

In west-central and southwestern Alberta, the lower and upper tongues of the marine mudstone-dominated Bearpaw Formation have a complex lateral relationship with marginal marine and non-marine strata of the Horseshoe Canyon and Blood Reserve formations. Wireline log, core and outcrop data permit the establishment of a regional transgressive-regressive (T-R) sequence stratigraphic framework for the upper Campanian Bearpaw strata. This provides a context within which lithostratigraphic boundaries of the Bearpaw tongues with laterally equivalent and overlying strata can be more rigorously mapped. Maximum flooding (MFS) and transgressive (TS) surfaces were defined on the basis of stratal stacking patterns and inferred lapout relationships wherever possible. Lower Bearpaw tongue and laterally equivalent strata are assigned to four regionally mappable T-R sequences. In the study area the top of the underlying Belly River Group is placed at the MFS in the lowermost of these sequences. In the overlying lower Bearpaw sequences, the TS is generally considered to coincide with the MFS within the limits of wireline log resolution, and the succession consists mainly of stacked regressive systems tracts which usually show a near-parallel internal stratal geometry. Upper Bearpaw tongue and laterally equivalent strata are assigned to three regionally mappable T-R sequences. The basal upper Bearpaw sequence has a well-developed transgressive systems tract consisting of backstepping, individually regressive parasequences, and southeast-prograding clinoform geometry is clear in each of the upper Bearpaw tongue regressive systems tracts. The lithostratigraphic upper boundaries of the lower and upper Bearpaw tongues are time-transgressive facies contacts that step up-section to the southeast (paleoseaward) through the respective regressive systems tracts. The base of the upper Bearpaw tongue steps up-section from the basal TS of the lowermost sequence in the southeast, through the overlying transgressive systems tract, to coincide with the maximum flooding surface to the northwest (paleolandward).

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