The Albian to Santonian Colorado Group in the heavy oil area of Cold Lake, east-central Alberta represents a relatively condensed section of shale-dominated sedimentation within the Western Interior Sea. These shales form the cap rock to the underlying Clearwater and Grand Rapids formations that are exploited for bitumen extraction. Two cores covering the entire Colorado Group provide a unique opportunity for establishment of a stratigraphic reference in an area that has received attention only for its heavy oil-bearing Mannville Group. Based on sedimentology, geochemistry, micropaleontology, nannofossils, and wireline log data, the Colorado Group was subdivided into the Joli Fou, Viking, Westgate, Fish Scales, Belle Fourche, Second White Specks, and Niobrara formations. The Niobrara Formation was subdivided further into the Verger Member, informal Cold Lake member, and First White Specks Member. Because of this region's small accommodation space and distance to sources of coarse clastic sediment, disconformities are indicated lithologically by bioclastic layers and missing biozones. Foraminiferal subzones revealed two erosional boundaries associated with the Viking Formation. Faunal and floral evidence coupled with wireline log correlations suggest that the Middle to Upper Turonian Carlile Formation, as described from southeastern Alberta, is missing. That extends the Middle Turonian to Coniacian unconformity, as recognized in central Saskatchewan, westwards into Alberta.

, , , ,
Natural Resources Research
Department of Earth Sciences

Tu, Q. (Qiang), Schroder-Adams, C, & Craig, J. (Jim). (2007). A new lithostratigraphic framework for the cretaceous colorado group in the cold lake heavy oil area, east-central Alberta, Canada. Natural Resources Research, 16(1), 17–30. doi:10.1007/s11053-007-9029-6