Upper Cretaceous strata in the Pasquia Hills of the northern Manitoba Escarpment, eastern Saskatchewan, Canada provide a detailed paleoenvironmental and sea-level record of the eastern margin of the Western Interior Seaway. Sediments deposited during the Cenomanian/Turonian Greenhorn marine cycle are dominantly black mudstones deposited in a stratified water column, with bottom-water anoxia recurrently reaching into the photic zone. A middle Cenomanian sea-level lowstand event followed by transgression left a series of bonebeds within the Belle Fourche Member of the Ashville Formation, indicating a sedimentary environment starved of coarse siliciclastics. Maximum sea level resulted in the formation of limestone beds within the Favel Formation, further favoured by reduced terrigenous sediment input compared to the western margin. Limestone sedimentation was followed by a phase of increased freshwater input under lower sea level conditions, and reducing zoo- and phytoplankton diversities. During final Greenhorn regression, eastern Saskatchewan probably turned into a restricted basin severely limiting marine circulation. Poor or absent benthic foraminiferal assemblages and biomarker analysis suggest prevailing watermass stratification throughout the Cenomanian/Turonian transgressive/regressive cycle. This was caused either by a freshwater lid, stratification of Boreal and Tethyan-derived watermasses, or both, to various intensities affected by changing sea level. Basin oxygenation during Niobrara time varies between localities along the eastern margin as documented by presence/absence of benthic and planktic foraminifera.

Anoxia, Bonebeds, Cretaceous, Foraminifera, Nannofossils, Western Interior
Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Department of Earth Sciences

Schroder-Adams, C, Cumbaa, S.L. (Stephen L.), Bloch, J. (John), Leckie, D.A. (Dale A.), Craig, J. (Jim), Seif El-Dein, S.A. (Safaa A.), … Kenig, F. (Fabien). (2001). Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian to Campanian) paleoenvironmental history of the Eastern Canadian margin of the Western Interior Seaway: Bonebeds and anoxic events. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 170(3-4), 261–289. doi:10.1016/S0031-0182(01)00259-0