DOI: 10.1111/bre.12830 ISSN: 0950-091X

Stratigraphy, palaeogeography and evolution of the lower Nanaimo Group (Cretaceous), Georgia Basin, Canada

Kristian Girotto, Shahin E. Dashtgard, Chuqiao Huang, James A. MacEachern, H. Daniel Gibson, Gwyneth Cathyl‐Huhn
  • Geology


The Cretaceous lower Nanaimo Group in the Georgia Basin, Canada comprises multiple depositional phases with distinct depocentres that accumulated in a tectonically active forearc basin setting. Basal coarse‐clastic strata are preserved in paleotopographic depressions and grade upwards into coal‐bearing coastal plains and shallow‐marine deposits. Coal‐bearing and shallow‐marine strata grade laterally into and are overlain by, regionally extensive mudstones and turbidites deposited in deep water. A glauconitic sandstone bed within the deep‐water strata is interpreted as a condensed section and underlies a major disconformity that developed during a pause in the deposition of the lower Nanaimo Group. A second major coarse‐clastic succession occurs hundreds of metres above the glauconite bed in the central Georgia Basin and comprises conglomerate, sandstone, mudstone and coal deposited in continental depositional environments. The shift in sedimentation from the northern Georgia Basin to the central Georgia Basin is interpreted to record the emergence of an island (Nanoose Uplift) in the central Georgia Basin that acted as a major sediment source to the adjacent depocentres. The stratigraphic break between the coal‐bearing coarse‐clastic strata in the northern Georgia Basin and the significantly younger coal‐bearing coarse‐clastic strata in the central Georgia Basin indicates that the lower Nanaimo Group was deposited in distinct depocentres. Between the older, coarse‐clastic strata in the north and younger, coarse‐clastic strata in the central Georgia Basin, we hypothesize that a major deepwater canyon system (Qualicum Canyon) existed and transferred sediment from the semi‐restricted Georgia Basin to the Pacific Ocean to the west. Development of the Qualicum Canyon and exposure of the Nanoose Uplift during deposition of the younger, central coarse‐clastic strata suggests that syntectonic activity drove basin uplift and erosion and this occurred throughout the deposition of the lower Nanaimo Group.

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