Unit Name: Cardium Formation
Unit Type: Lithostratigraphic
Rank: Formation
Status: Formal
Usage: Currently in use
Age Interval: Late Cretaceous (99.6 - 65.5 ma)
Age Justification: Ammonites comparable with Scaphites mariasensis Cobban and S. impendicostatus from the lower subzone of Scaphites preventricusus Zone occur in the upper beds of the Cardium Formation in the southern foothills. Wall and Germundson (1963) described the foraminiferal content.
Province/Territory: Alberta; British Columbia

Originator: James Hector, as reported in Whiteaves, 1895; Cairnes, 1907.

Type Locality:
Cairnes (1907) described a generalized section on the Bow River near the mouth of Old Fort Creek, but as sections along the Bow are faulted or mostly inaccessible Stott (1963) designated a type section, originally described by Malloch (1911), on the more southerly of the two main branches of Wapiabi Creek, in Twp. 41, Rge. 18W5M (52°37'30"N, 116°0'30"W), Alberta.

Extends from the Drywood River, near the International Boundary along the foothills into northeastern British Columbia near Dawson Creek (Stott, 1963, 1967b). It extends from the front range eastward across the foothills belt into the plains. The formation is a major oil producer in the Pembina field southwest of Edmonton. The formation grades laterally eastward into shale. It ranges in thickness from a minimum of 22.6 m at Drywood River to a maximum of 108.8 m at Ram River in the central foothills. Near Wapiti River in northeastern British Columbia the thickness is 41.8 m.

Locality Data:
Thickness(m): Minimum 22.6, Maximum 108.8.

The Cardium Formation is characterized by its fine-grained, marine sandstone. Six distinctive members are recognized in the central foothills (Stott, 1963). Three massive sandstone units are separated by marine and nonmarine shale. The basal sandstone is the Ram Member; the middle one, Cardinal, and the upper one, Sturrock. The lower shaly interval contains two members; the nonmarine Moosehound Member and the partly equivalent, partly overlying, marine Kiska Member. The shale between the Cardinal and Sturrock members is named the Leyland Member. In the subsurface of the Garrington-Caroline area, Alberta Walker (1983) proposed the names Raven River Member and Burnstick Member for two sandstone units within the lower part of the Cardium Formation. He also defined (1985) another sandstone within the Ricinus Field as the Ricinus Member. Krause and Nelson (1984) divided the Cardium of the Pembina Field into the Pembina River and Cardium Zone members.

The Cardium Formation belongs to the Alberta and Smoky groups. The lower contact of the Cardium is drawn at the base of thickly bedded sandstone lying on strata of the Blackstone Formation in the southern and central foothills, and of the approximately equivalent Kaskapau Formation in northeastern British Columbia. A transition zone from shale through interbedded shale and thinly bedded sandstone to massive sandstone is almost always present. The upper contact with the overlying Wapiabi Formation is sharp and well-defined, but presumably conformable.

The term "Cardium Shales" was used by Dr. James Hector to identify beds from which fossil collections were made during the Palliser explorations (Whiteaves, 1895, p. 110). Cairnes (1907, p. 29) restricted the use of the term Cardium to the succession of sandstone within the shale series on Bow River. Rutherford (1927, p. 25) raised the unit to formation status.

Cairnes, D.D., 1907. Moose Mountain District of southern Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Separate Report 968, 55 p.
Krause, F.F. and Nelson, D.A., 1984. Storm event sedimentaton: Lithofacies associations in the Cardium Formation, Pembina area, west-central Alberta, Canada. In: Mesozoic of middle North America; Stott, D.F. and Glass, D.J. (Eds ). Can. Soc. Petrol. Geol. Memoir 9, p. 485-511.
Malloch, G.S., 1911. Bighorn Coal Basin, Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 9, 78 p.
Rutherford, R.L., 1927. Geology along Bow River between Cochrane and Kananaskis, Alberta; Res. Counc. Alberta, Rept. 17.
Stott, D.F., 1963. The Cretaceous Alberta Group and equivalent rocks, Rocky Mountain Foothills, Alberta. Geol. Surv. Can., Memoir 317.
Stott, D.F., 1967b. The Cretaceous Smoky Group, Rocky Mountain Foothills, Alberta and British Columbia; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 132.
Wall, J.H. and Germundson, R.K., 1963. Microfaunas, megafaunas, and rock-stratigraphic units in the Alberta Group (Cretaceous) of the Rocky Mountain Foothills; Bull. Can. Petrol. Geol., vol. 11, no. 4.
Whiteaves, J.F., 1895. Some of the Cretaceous fossils collected during Captain Palliser's explorations in British North America in 1857-60. Proc. and Trans., Roy. Soc. Can., 2nd Ser., vol. 1, pp. 110.

Source: CSPG Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, Volume 4, western Canada, including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; D.J. Glass (editor)
Contributor: D.F. Stott; G.E. McCune
Entry Reviewed: No
Name Set: Lithostratigraphic Lexicon
LastChange: 18 Sep 2009