Unit Name: Spirit River Formation
Unit Type: Lithostratigraphic
Rank: Formation
Status: Formal
Usage: Currently in use
Age Interval: middle Albian (108.8 - 106.4 ma)
Age Justification: The Spirit River Formation yields the ammonites Beaudanticeras (Grantziceras) and Arcthoplites. The microfauna carries calcareous benthonic Foraminifera of the Marginulinopsis collinsi Subzone (Wickenden, 1951; Caldwell et al., 1978). Singh (1971 ) reported the earliest dicotyledon pollen in Alberta from the Spirit River Formation.
Province/Territory: Alberta; British Columbia

Originator: Alberta Study Group, 1954; first published by Badgley, 1952.

Type Locality:
Imperial Spirit River No. 1 well, in 12-20-78-6W6M, northwestern Alberta, between 817 and 1,162 m (2,678 and 3,810 ft). This interval was completely cored and core recovery was between 45 and 50 percent. The Spirit River Formation comprises three members: the Notikewin occurs between 817 and 845 m (2,678 and 2,770 ft); the Falher between 845 and 1,052 m (2,770 and 3,450 ft); and the Wilrich Member between 1,052 and 1,162 m (3,450 and 3,810 ft).

The Spirit River Formation is 348 m (1,141 ft) thick in the type section. It occurs in the subsurface throughout an area extending from the Fort St. John area in British Columbia to Lesser Slave Lake in Alberta, and from the Grande Prairie, Alberta area north to Twp. 96.

Locality Data:
WELL 100122007806W600; IMPERIAL SPIRIT RIVER NO. 1.. Thickness(m): Typical 348. Interval(m): From 817, To 1162.

The Spirit River Formation consists of the following members, from top to bottom the Notikewin, Falher and Wilrich. The Notikewin is grey, yellowish and greenish grey, more or less clayey sandstone, fine- to medium-grained, containing interbeds of light to dark grey shale with ironstone. The Falher is a variable succession of lithic greywacke, shales and siltstones with some thin coal beds. Traces of glauconite are fairly common. The Wilrich is composed of dark grey shales with some thin interbeds of sand and silt.

Very abrupt conformable contact with the overlying Harmon shale member of the Peace River Formation. Conformable with the underlying Bluesky Formation, which might be considered a basal sandy introduction to the Spirit River Formation. Laterally the Spirit River grades into shale facies of the Buckinghorse Formation to the northeast in the area north of Twp. 96 in Alberta and into continental facies, i.e. Malcolm Creek Formation (upper type Luscar) toward the foothills and south of the Wapiti River. It corresponds to the upper Mannville Formation of the Central Alberta Plains, and to the Clearwater and Grand Rapids formations of the Athabasca River area. It correlates with the Gates and Moosebar formations of the Hudson Hope area of British Columbia.

McLearn (1918) placed McConnell's (1893) Peace River formation above the sequence of shales (Loon River Shale named by McLearn) appearing on the lower Peace River in Twp. 108. Wickenden (1951) divided the Peace River Formation into 4 units: the continental sand member, the Cadotte Member, the middle shale member and the Basal Sand member. The Alberta Study Group (1954) removed the Basal Sand Member from the Peace River Formation, divided it into the overlying Notikewin Sandstone and underlying Falher Member and joined these to the underlying shale which later they renamed the Wilrich Member to create the term Spirit River Formation. At this point the term Loon River was rejected for the southern Peace River area.

Other Citations:
Alberta Study Group, 1954; Badgley, 1952; Caldwell et al., 1978; McConnell, 1893; McLearn, 1918; Singh, 1971; Wickenden, 1951.

Alberta Study Group, 1954. Lower Cretaceous of the Peace River region. In: Western Canada Sedimentary Basin; Clark, L.M. (Ed.). Amer. Assoc. Petrol. Geol., p. 268-278.
Badgley, Peter C., 1952. Notes on the subsurface stratigraphy and oil and gas geology of the Lower Cretaceous series in central Alberta (Report and seven figures); Geological Survey of Canada, Paper No. 52-11, 12 p.
Caldwell, W.G.E., North, B.R., Stelck, C.R., and Wall, J.H., 1978. A foraminiferal zonal scheme for the Cretaceous System in the Interior Plains of Canada. In: Western and Arctic Canadian biostratigraphy; Stelck, C.R. and Chatterton, B.D.E. (Eds.). Geol. Assoc. Can., Spec. Paper 18, p. 495-575.
McConnell, R.G., 1893. Report on a Portion of the District of Athabasca comprising the Country between Peace River and Athabasca River, North of Lesser Slave Lake; Geological Survey of Canada, Annual Report 1891 (new series), 1890-91, Volume V, Part D, pp. 1-67.
McLearn, F.H., 1918. Peace River Section, Alberta; Geological Survey of Canada, Summary Report 1917, Part C, pp. 14-21.
Singh, Chaitanya, 1971. Lower Cretaceous Microfloras of the Peace River Area, Northwestern Alberta, 2 Vols; Research Council of Alberta, Bulletin 28, 542 p.
Wickenden, R.T.D., 1951. Some Lower Cretaceous sections on Peace River below the mouth of Smoky River, Alberta (Report, Plate and Figure); Geological Survey of Canada, Paper 51-16, 47 p.

Source: CSPG Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, Volume 4, western Canada, including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba; D.J. Glass (editor)
Contributor: C.R. Stelck
Entry Reviewed: Yes
Name Set: Lithostratigraphic Lexicon
LastChange: 02 Apr 2009