The Pennsylvanian Springhill Mines Formation: sedimentological framework for a portion of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Michael C. Rygel Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
  • Erin P. Sheldon Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
  • Matthew R. Stimson Department of Geology Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie St. Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3C3, Canada
  • John H. Calder Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources P.O. Box 698 Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 2T9, Canada
  • Kyle T. Ashley Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
  • Jamie L. Salg Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
Keywords: Sedimentology, Stratigraphy, Paleontology

Abstract

This is the first detailed study of the coastal exposure of the Springhill Mines Formation within the Joggins Fossil Cliffs World Heritage Site. A 16.9-m-thick interval of dark laminated mudrocks and sharpbased sandstones at the base of our section is reassigned to the top of the Joggins Formation. This interval records a rapid, presumably widespread flooding event and the temporary establishment of a marginalmarine to brackish bay. The overlying 697 m of strata represent deposition in poorly drained and well-drained environments, and are assigned to the Springhill Mines Formation. Strata reflecting poorly drained environments contain green and grey mudrocks, thin coals, sheet sandstones, and channel bodies interpreted to have been deposited in coastal swamps and low-lying parts of a floodplain. Intervals reflecting well-drained conditions contain reddish brown mudrocks, sheet sandstones, and channel bodies interpreted to have been deposited on a vegetated floodplain that was periodically exposed to oxidizing conditions. Strata reflecting poorly drained conditions are thick and abundant in the lower half of the formation and well-drained intervals become thick and more abundant in the upper half. The shift in facies abundance is accompanied by an interpreted evolution in fluvial style from predominantly anastomosed channels (below 376 m) to sheet-like channel bodies (376–449 m) and ultimately to predominantly meandering-channel bodies (449–697 m). The formation-scale changes in drainage conditions and fluvial style records decreased halokinetic subsidence and aggradation of the alluvial surface as sediments shed from the Caledonia Highlands prograded into this part of the basin.

Author Biographies

Michael C. Rygel, Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
Associate Professor, Department of Geology
Erin P. Sheldon, Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
Former undergraduate student, Department of Geology
Matthew R. Stimson, Department of Geology Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie St. Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 3C3, Canada
Undergraduate student, Department of Geology
Kyle T. Ashley, Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
Former undergraduate student, Department of Geology
Jamie L. Salg, Department of Geology State University of New York, College at Potsdam 44 Pierrepont Ave. Potsdam, NY 13676 USA
Former undergraduate student, Department of Geology
Published
2014-11-27
How to Cite
Rygel, M. C., Sheldon, E. P., Stimson, M. R., Calder, J. H., Ashley, K. T., & Salg, J. L. (2014). The Pennsylvanian Springhill Mines Formation: sedimentological framework for a portion of the Joggins Fossil Cliffs UNESCO World Heritage Site. Atlantic Geology, 50, 249 - 289. https://doi.org/10.4138/atlgeol.2014.013
Section
Articles