Carboniferous calcretes in the Canadian Arctic

Authors

  • P. THERIAULT,

    1. Centre Géoscientifique Ottawa-Carleton, Département de Géologie, Université d'Ottawa, 161 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5
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    • *

      Geological Institute, Avd. A, University of Bergen, 5007 Bergen, Norway.

  • A. DESROCHERS

    1. Centre Géoscientifique Ottawa-Carleton, Département de Géologie, Université d'Ottawa, 161 Louis Pasteur, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 6N5
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ABSTRACT

Calcrete palaeosols have been found in the Upper Carboniferous Canyon Fiord Formation of southwestern Ellesmere Island, Canadian Arctic. These calcretes were developed in fluvial and shallow marine sediments that accumulated within two adjacent subbasins, in which the tectono-sedimentary environment led to the deposition of five different sedimentary facies: (i) floodbasin sandstones; (ii) alluvial fan sandstones; (iii) alluvial fan conglomerates; (iv) braided fluvial sandstones; and (v) shallow marine limestones.

Nodular/massive palaeosol profiles, consisting of cryptic, nodular, massive and laminar horizons, occur within the floodbasin sandstone and alluvial fan sandstone facies. Plugged palaeosol profiles, consisting of cryptic, plugged and laminar horizons, are restricted to the alluvial fan conglomerate facies. Massive/brecciated palaeosol profiles, consisting of cryptic, massive/brecciated and laminar horizons, occur essentially within the shallow marine limestone facies.

The relationships between calcrete profiles and sedimentary facies suggest that profile types were controlled mainly by the texture and composition of the parent material: nodular/massive profiles are restricted to silicate-rich sandstone hosts, plugged profiles are restricted to carbonate-rich conglomerate hosts and massive/brecciated profiles are restricted to limestone hosts. Important relationships also exist between the maturity levels of nodular/massive profiles and sedimentary facies: profiles are generally mature in the floodbasin sandstones, invariably immature in the alluvial fan sandstones and absent from the braided fluvial sandstones. These different maturity levels were probably controlled mainly by exposure time, vegetation and substrate composition.

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