Sedimentology and Ichnology of the Cambrian Mount Clark and Mount Cap Formations, Northwest Territories

Regions: Sahtu Settlement Area

Tags: geochemistry, fossils, fracking

Principal Investigator: Gingras, Murray K (2)
Licence Number: 15511
Organization: University of Alberta
Licensed Year(s): 2015 2014
Issued: Jul 18, 2014
Project Team: Field Assistant (TBA) (Field Assistant, University of Alberta), Brad Bobey (MSc Candidate, University of Alberta), Kathryn Fiess (Manager, Petroleum Geosciences, Northwest Territories Geoscience Office)

Objective(s): To characterize the sediment types present; to test the mechanical strength of rock samples to determine the level of effort required to conduct fracking operations with the rock types present; and to measure organic content and mineralogy of the rocks in support of mineral exploration.

Project Description: For the Mount Clark Formation, the primary goals are: (1) to use sedimentological and trace-fossil data to determine the sedimentary environment so that the distribution of sand bodies might be better understood; (2) to conduct petrographic investigations to understand the distribution of diagenetic cements and porosity; (3) to establish if there is a relationship between bioturbation and porosity/permeability; and (4) to test the mechanical strength of samples to assess the fracability of rock types.

The Mount Cap Formation research goals are: (1) to establish the sedimentary environment; (2) to measure the organic content, assess the units’ mineralogy, and assess some compositional aspects of the unit; (3) to contextualize levels of high total organic content (TOC) within a sequence stratigraphic framework; and (4) to assess the fracability of rock types.

A. Outcrop Description: Documentation of outcrop data will provide the fundamental dataset for both theses. Outcrop-logging is the basis for developing a facies scheme and ensuing investigations (TOC and petrologic) depend on this phase. The MSc students will each log 4 outcrop successions within the study area.

Outcrop will be logged with an emphasis on the sedimentologic and ichnologic character of their constituent lithofacies. Sedimentologic analysis will concentrate on characteristics such as grain size, sorting, bed thickness, bedding contacts, primary physical sedimentary structures, and penecontemporaneous deformation structures. Ichnological observations will include identification of ichnogenera and their relative abundance, ichnofossil size, cross-cutting relationships and overprinting, assemblage diversity, diversity patterns and intensity of bioturbation (bioturbate texture). Core log data will be recorded on the software AppleCore, which can record observations indexed to depth, incorporate well logs, and can be exported as an image file or as an ASCII datastring. During outcrop description, samples will be taken for petrography (thin sections), SEM, XRD, TOC assessment and permeability measurement.

Results will be presented at the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum in November of 2014 and 2015.
Copies of publications resulting from this study will be provided to the Northwest Territories Geoscience Office (NTGO).

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from August 4, 2014 to August 27, 2014.