Unit Name: Battle Formation
Unit Type: Lithostratigraphic
Rank: Formation
Status: Formal
Usage: Currently in use
Age Interval: Maastrichtian (70.6 - 65.5 ma)
Province/Territory: Alberta; Saskatchewan

Originator: Furnival, 1942; 1946.

Type Locality:
North face of Eagle Butte (Sec. 9, Twp. 8, Rge. 4W4M), in southeastern Alberta, in Quarry No. 45 of the Medicine Hat Brick and Tile Company. Designated by Irish (1970).

Up to 14 m (46 ft) thick (Binda, 1970), but commonly less because the upper contact has been eroded. Erosion has removed part of all of the formation in parts of the Red Deer River valley and Bow River valley of Alberta, and along the Frenchman River valley in southern Saskatchewan.

Mauve-grey weathering, dark brownish grey to purplish black, bentonitic, silty shale with porous popcorn-like weathered crust. Most of the clay is montmorillonite; the sand and silt fractions contain quartz, feldspar, quartzite and chert; the heavy minerals are unweathered and commonly euhedral, with zircon the most abundant. Composition of the Battle varies little over the wide area of its occurrence. The Kneehills Tuff occurs in the upper part of the Battle Formation; it occurs as one 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in) bed or as two or three 5 to 8 cm (2 to 3 in) beds. It is a pale grey weathering, brown-grey, hard rock with silica or bentonitic clay filled microscopic vugs. Main components are quartz, feldspar and glass shards in a ground mass of opaline silica and montmorillonite; zircon and magnetite are the main heavy minerals. Composition is uniform over the area of occurrence. The Battle Formation is poorly fossiliferous, but contains spores (Binda and Srivastava, 1968), bone and teeth fragments, algal remains, and carbonized wood; it has yielded one specimen of ?Haplophragmoides sp.

The difficulty of establishing the nature of the upper and lower contacts of the Battle Formation has led to some disagreement. Furnival (1946) described the lower contact with the Whitemud Formation as "... everywhere conformable ... " and "... sharp ...", Russell (1948) noted that it was easy to recognize the contact where the Battle was in contact with the white clays of the Whitemud, but that otherwise its position was assigned arbitrarily; Kupsch (1956) interpreted disconformable relationships where the Battle overlay the Whitemud; and Irish (1970) remarked "... The lower contact ... is normally sharp and abrupt." At the upper contact Furnival (1946) remarked that the overlying beds generally were sandstones of the Frenchman Formation, but if "... pre-Frenchman erosion ... has been negligible ... there is ... difficulty in fixing the contact." Russell (1948) found difficult in pin-pointing the contact where the Battle was overlain by clays of the Frenchman Formation, and used the color change from "... the purplish hue of the Battle shale ..." to the "... brownish or greenish tones in the Frenchman." Kupsch (1956) interpreted some of the Battle-Frenchman contacts as nonerosional, so bolstering his argument that the Battle was no more than a facies of the Frenchman separated from the Whitemud by an erosional surface. Irish (1970) identified both apparently conformable and unconformable upper contacts at different localities. In the Oldman River region the Battle overlies the Whitemud abruptly, and is overlain, apparently conformably by shales and sandstones of the Willow Creek Formation, in the Red Deer River-Bow River region the Battle overlies the Whitemud and is overlain unconformably by the Paskapoo Formation. As part of the "Kneehills Tuff zone" (Irish, 1970, Irish and Havard, 1968) the Battle Formation is recognized over the southern Alberta plains on either side of the Sweetgrass Arch, and in southwestern Saskatchewan. It is equivalent to the St. Mary River facies of the Edmonton Group in the area of the Little Bow River; and correlative with part of the Brazeau Formation in the central foothills of Alberta. It correlates with part of the Fox Hills Formation in Montana and North Dakota.

Considered part of the Laramie (McConnell, 1885); "zone 4" of the Whitemud Formation (Fraser et al., 1935); Kneehills Tuff horizon of Allan and Sanderson (1945). In the area around Eastend, Saskatchewan Kupsch (1956) considered the Battle to be no more than a clay facies of the Frenchman Formation. Classed as the upper part of the "Kneehills Tuff zone" (Ower, 1970); the upper part of the "Kneehills Tuff member" or "Kneehills Tuff zone" (Campbell, 1962); Blackmud of Srivastava (1965); upper part of "Kneehills Tuff zone" (Irish and Havard, 1968); and in the Cypress Hills area in the Battle Formation was considered equivalent to the Battle Member of the Edmonton Formation in south-central Alberta by Binda (1970); Irish (1970) gave the Battle formation status over all of Alberta and raised the Edmonton Formation to Edmonton Group.

Other Citations:
Allan and Sanderson, 1945; Binda, 1970; Binda and Srivastava, 1968; Campbell, 1962; Fraser et al., 1935; Furnival, 1942, 1946; Irish, 1970, Irish and Havard 1968; Kupsch, 1956; McConnell, 1885; Ower, 1970; Russell, 1948; Srivastava, 1965.

Binda, P.L. and Srivastava, S.K., 1968. Silicified megaspores from Upper Cretaceous beds of southern Alberta, Canada. Micropaleontology, v. 14, no. 1, p. 105-113.
Binda, P.L., 1970. Sedimentology and vegetal macropalaeontology of the rocks associated with the Cretaceous Kneehills Tuft of Alberta Ph. D. thesis, Univ. Alberta.
Furnival, G.M., 1942. Preliminary Map, Cypress Lake, Saskatchewan; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 42-5, contains Preliminary Map 42-5, Cypress Lake, West of Third Meridian, Saskatchewan, Scale: 1 inch to 2 miles.
Furnival, G.M., 1946. Cypress Lake map-area, Saskatchewan; Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 242, 161 p. contains "A" Series Map 784A, Cypress Lake, West of Third Meridian, Saskatchewan, Scale: 1:253 440 or 1 Inch to 4 Miles and "A" Series Map 856A, Structure-Contours, Cypress Lake, West of Third Meridian, Saskatchewan, Structure-contour interval 50 feet, Scale: 1:253 440 or 1 Inch to 4 Miles.
Irish, E.J.W., 1970. The Edmonton Group of south-central Alberta; Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG), Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, vol. 18, no. 2 (June), pp. 125-155.

Source: CSPG Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, Volume 4, western Canada, including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; D.J. Glass (editor)
Contributor: H.E. Hendry
Entry Reviewed: Yes
Name Set: Lithostratigraphic Lexicon
LastChange: 18 Mar 2009