Unit Name: Palliser Formation
Unit Type: Lithostratigraphic
Rank: Formation
Status: Formal
Usage: Currently in use
Age Interval: Famennian (374.5 - 359.2 ma)
Age Justification: Meijer and Johnston (1994) subdivided the Palliser Formation into four sections: lower Moro member, upper Moro member, lower Costigan member and upper Costigan member. The upper Moro includes brachiopods of the Lower Famennian. It also contains Famennian conodonts including Palmatolepsis wolskaja. The upper Costigan is charcterized by Upper Famennian brachiopods (Meijer and Johnston, 1994).
Province/Territory: Alberta

Originator: Beach, 1943

Type Locality:
Meijer and Johnston (1994) designated the "Devil's Gap" section of Shimer (1926) south of Mount Costigan as the type section. The section extends from the northwestern end of West lake eastward to the gully at the western end of Middle lake.

The thickness varies from approximately 240 m (787 ft) in the foothills to about 280 m (918 ft) in the front ranges, and to more than 450 m (1,476 ft) in the main ranges, with 580 m (1,902 ft) measured at Sunwapta Pass (Severson, 1950). The Palliser is present throughout the Rocky Mountains and foothills of Alberta. Southwest of the Peace River Arch, in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia the Palliser was markedly truncated prior to deposition of the overlying shale (H. Geldsetzer, pers. comm.). The type section designated by Meijer and Johnston (1994) is 255 metres thick.

Locality Data:
Thickness(m): Minimum 240, Maximum 580.

The Palliser consists of fine-grained, fossiliferous, dark grey to black limestones in the uppermost 3 to 35 m (10 to 115 ft) (upper Costigan Member of deWit and McLaren, 1950). The remainder of the formation (Morro Member of deWit and McLaren) is composed of massive beds of grey mottled, dolomitic limestone characterized by irregular branching tracery standing out in relief on weathered surfaces. In the foothills subsurface anhydrite beds with dolomite occur in the lowermost Palliser (and Alexo equivalent) and, to a less widespread extent in the upper part, beneath the thin, capping fossiliferous limestones. In outcrop dissolution of these beds explains the breccias of the Costigan Member. In addition, in the subsurface the middle Palliser is typically dolomitic, with porosity often developed in a position analogous to that of the Crossfield Member of the Stettler Formation in the plains.

Brachiopods of the Lower Famennian, Famennian conodonts including Palmatolepsis and Upper Famennian brachiopods of the Gastrodetoechia Zone (Meijer and Johnston, 1994).

The Palliser conformably overlies light grey siltstone and arenaceous dolomite of the upper Alexo Formation (Sassenach Formation) and is disconformably overlain by black shales of the Exshaw Formation. It correlates with the Wabamun Group of the Alberta Plains area and with the middle part of the Three Forks Formation of Saskatchewan and Montana. Northwestward it correlates to the Tetcho and Kotcho formations, which lose identity westward in the shales of the Besa River Formation in northeastern British Columbia.

Beach (1943) stated that the Palliser was equivalent to "Lower Band Limestones of McConnell (1887) and Minnewanka Formation (upper part)" of Shimer (1926). The term Palliser had early application in the subsurface of the foothills (Beach, 1943) and even in the Peace River Arch area (de Mille, 1958); it is presently used interchangeably with the term Wabamun in foothills wells.

DeWit and McLaren (1950) subdivides the Palliser Formation into two members. See Morro Member and Costigan Member.

Beach, H.H., 1943. Moose Mountain and Morley map-areas, Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 236, 74 p.
DeMille, G., 1958. Pre-Mississippian history of the Peace River Arch; Journal of the Alberta Society of Petroleum Geologists, vol. 6, pp. 61-81.
DeWit, R.W., and McLaren, D.J. 1950. Devonian Sections in the Rocky Mountains between Crowsnest Pass and Jasper, Alberta. Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 50-23.
McConnell, R.G., 1887. Report on the Geological Structure of a Portion of the Rocky Mountains Accompanied by a Section Measured Near the 51st parallel; Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report 1891 (new series) 1886, Volume II, Part D, pp. 1-41 with Map section 248.
Meijer-Drees, N.C. and Johnston, D.I. 1994. Type Section and conodonts biostratigraphy of the Upper Devonian Palliser Formation, southwestern Alberta. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology. 42:1. P 55-62.
Severson, John Louis, 1950. Devonian stratigraphy, Sunwapta Pass area, Alberta, Canada; American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), AAPG Bulletin, vol. 34, no. 9 (September), pp. 1826-1849.
Shimer, H.W, 1926. Upper Paleozoic faunas of the Lake Minnewanka section, near Banff, Alberta. Geol. Sun. Can., Bulletin 42, Geol. Ser., no. 45, p. 1-84.

Source: CSPG Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, Volume 4, western Canada, including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; D.J. Glass (editor)
Contributor: L.S. Eliuk; M. T. Adamson
Entry Reviewed: No
Name Set: Lithostratigraphic Lexicon
LastChange: 23 Dec 2008