Unit Name: Maligne Formation
Unit Type: Lithostratigraphic
Rank: Formation
Status: Formal
Usage: Currently in use
Age Interval: Frasnian (385.3 - 374.5 ma)
Province/Territory: Alberta; British Columbia

Originator: Taylor, 1957

Type Locality:
Cold Sulphur Spring, roadside exposure along Highway 16, 21 km (13 mi) north of Jasper townsite. (53 deg 03'N, 118 deg 05'W)

The Maligne Formation is 15.8 m (52 ft) thick at the type section and generally varies between 12 and 30 m (39 and 98 ft) thick, with the maximum development adjacent to Fairholme carbonate buildup margins. The Maligne is recognized in basinal sections of Fairholme Group in the Rocky Mountains, from the Cecilia and Kakwa Lakes area of northeastern British Columbia to the Cline River area in the south, a distance of 300 km (186 mi). The Maligne Formation thins away from buildup margins and appears to be absent in some basin sections (e.g., Mountjoy, 1965; Belyea, 1978, fig. 2). Stratigraphic and facies relationships suggest that the Maligne Formation occurs as broad halos surrounding carbonate buildups (Coppold, 1976; Mountjoy and Mackenzie, 1973).

Locality Data:
Thickness(m): Minimum 12, Maximum 30, Typical 15.8.

The Maligne Formation consists of thin-bedded, dark grey to black argillaceous lime mudstones which weather rubbly and recessive. In some sections the Maligne Formation contains thin shaly stringers every few decimetres in addition to the overall argillaceous character of the limestones. Brachiopods and crinoids are common in the Maligne, particularly toward the top of the formation. In proximity to carbonate buildups of the Fairholme Group the lithology and fossil content become more varied. Skeletal wackestones and even rare packstones containing crinoids, brachiopods, gastropods and cephalopods, together with buildup-derived calcareous algae, thamnoporid coral and stromatoporoid fragments are common. Peloid and intraclast wackestones also occur near the buildup margins. The upper Maligne Formation also exhibits some burrowed or bored horizons, and pyrite nodules are frequently seen on these bedding planes.

The Maligne Formation overlies the Flume Formation with a sharp (possibly paraconformable) contact, and is conformably overlain by the Perdrix Formation. In the Jasper area the Maligne Formation grades laterally to the base of the upper member of the Cairn Formation of the carbonate buildups. Due to the recessive weathering of the Maligne this transition is often hidden in outcrop sections. Where seen the Maligne may interfinger with Cairn dolomite tongues or grade smoothly into dark Cairn dolomites. The Maligne Formation thins into the basin and may be absent in some basin sections located far from carbonate buildups. This lateral relationship apparently does not hold in the extreme northwest. Maurin and Raasch (1972), on the basis of paleontologic evidence favor the original assignment of Maligne-type facies as a "lateral shaly equivalent of upper Flume carbonates" (p. 14) and reject formation status for the unit. However, the Flume Formation in northeastern British Columbia is probably older than more southerly exposures and it seems reasonable for Maligne-type sediments to be lateral equivalents of either uppermost Flume or basal Cairn carbonates, depending upon their position in the basin. The subsurface equivalent of the Maligne Formation in the plains to the east is the Duvernay Formation.

Formerly the upper member of the Flume Formation of Raymond (1930), it was raised to formation status and named the Maligne by Taylor (1957) because its lithology differs distinctly from that of the underlying beds. Taylor designated Cold Sulphur Spring as the type section and used the earlier description of this section by Fox (1954) to define the formation.

Coppold, M.P., 1976. Buildup to basin transition at the Ancient Wall Complex (Upper Devonian), Alberta; in, Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology, June 1976, Vol. 24, Issue 2, pp. 154-192.
Mackenzie, W.S. and Mountjoy, E.W., 1973. Stratigraphy of the southern part of the Devonian ancient wall carbonate complex, Jasper National Park, Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 72-20, 121 p.
Maurin, A.F. and Raasch, G.O., 1972. Notes et Memoires - Compagnie Francaise des Petroles Early-Frasnian stratigraphy, Kakwa-Cecilia Lakes, British Columbia, Canada; Notes et Memoires - Compagnie Francaise des Petroles, 1972, Vol. 10, 80 p.
Mountjoy, E.W., 1965. Stratigraphy of the Devonian Miette reef complex and associated strata, eastern Jasper National Park, Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 110, 132 p.
Raymond, P.E, 1930. The Paleozoic formations in Jasper Park, Alberta. Amer. J. Sci., 5th Ser., v. 20, p. 289-300.
Taylor, P. W., 1957. Revision of Devonian nomenclature in the Rocky Mountains; Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists, vol. 5, no. 8, pp. 183-193.

Source: CSPG Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, Volume 4, western Canada, including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; D.J. Glass (editor)
Contributor: E.W. Mountjoy; M.P Coppold
Entry Reviewed: Yes
Name Set: Lithostratigraphic Lexicon
LastChange: 28 Mar 2014