Proximal braidplain deposits in the Middle Devonian Malbaie Formation of Eastern Gaspé, Quebec, Canada



The Middle Devonian Malbaie Formation of Eastern Gaspé, Canada, comprises sharply alternating conglomerate and sandstone units. Their petrography suggests derivation from the same source, but palaeocurrents indicate different dispersal systems for the sand and gravel. The principal conglomerate facies is horizontally stratified, with well-developed imbrication, characteristic of deposition on a high-energy, proximal braidplain. Minor cross-stratified conglomerate shows well-defined size sorting, attributed to avalanching down foresets and sorting within minor bedforms on bar tops. The sandstone units mainly comprise erosion surfaces overlain by mudstone intraclasts, alternating with lineated low-angle to horizontally stratified sandstone or trough cross-stratified sandstone. The sandstone units were deposited on a proximal braidplain with highly variable discharge, but the absence of calcrete indicates that dry periods were not prolonged.

The Malbaie is the coarsest, uppermost formation of a Devonian clastic wedge formed during the Acadian Orogeny. The uniformity of facies association and palaeocurrents, particularly in conglomerate units, indicates derivation from a broad upwarp to the south. This implies that the Acadian uplands resulted from straight compression, in contrast to the localized uplifts formed by strike-slip faulting during the Carboniferous.