ⓘ Stephen Formation. The Stephen Formation is a geologic formation exposed in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia and Alberta, on the western edge of the Wes ..

Stephen Formation

ⓘ Stephen Formation

The Stephen Formation is a geologic formation exposed in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia and Alberta, on the western edge of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. It consists of shale, thin-bedded limestone, and siltstone that was deposited during Middle Cambrian time. It is famous for the exceptional preservation of soft-bodied fossils: the Burgess Shale biota. The formation overlies the Cathedral escarpment, a submarine cliff; consequently it is divided into two quite separate parts, the thin sequence deposited in the shallower waters atop the escarpment, and the thick sequence deposited in the deeper waters beyond the cliff. Because the thick Stephen Formation represents a distinct lithofacies, some authors suggest it warrants its own name, and dub it the Burgess Shale Formation. The stratigraphy of the Thin Stephen Formation has not been subject to extensive study, so except where explicitly mentioned this article applies mainly to the Thick Stephen Formation.


1. Sedimentary setting

The Stephen Formation formed at a low-latitude miogeoclinic continental margin, at the western limit of a continental craton. Detrital sediments were washed in by rivers from the continent, over the limestone reefs which formed the shallow sea floor. At the top of sequence-stratigraphic cycles, oncoids were sometimes washed in to the Thin Stephen formation from the shallower waters closer to the shore.

The fossiliferous deposits of the Stephen Formation are a sequence of slightly calcareous dark mudstones, about 508 million years old. The beds were deposited on top of and at the base of a cliff about 160 meters 520 ft tall, below the depth agitated by waves during storms, and thus at a water depth of around 200 m. This vertical cliff was composed of the calcareous reefs of the Cathedral Formation, which probably formed shortly before the deposition of the Burgess shale. The precise formation mechanism is not known for certain, but the most widely accepted hypothesis suggests that the edge of the Cathedral formation reef became detached from the rest of the reef, slumping and being transported some distance - perhaps kilometres - away from the reef edge. Later reactivation of faults at the base of the formation led to its disintegration from about 509 million years ago. This would have left a steep cliff, the bottom of which would be protected, because the limestone of the Cathedral formation is difficult to compress, from tectonic decompression. This protection explains why fossils preserved further from the Cathedral formation are impossible to work with - tectonic squeezing of the beds produced a vertical cleavage that fractures the rocks, so they split perpendicular to the fossils. The Walcott quarry produced such spectacular fossils because it was so close the Stephen formation - indeed the quarry has now been excavated to the very edge of the Cambrian cliff. Both the thick and thin Stephen formation were deposited below wave base.

It was originally thought that the Burgess Shale was deposited in anoxic conditions, but mounting research shows that oxygen was continually present in the sediment. The anoxic setting had been thought to not only protect the newly dead organisms from decay, but it also created chemical conditions allowing the preservation of the soft parts of the organisms. Further, it reduced the abundance of burrowing organisms - burrows and trackways are found in beds containing soft-bodied organisms, but they rare and generally of limited vertical extent.


2. Subdivisions

The formation is made up of the Kicking Horse member, which includes the Alalcomenaeus–Sanctacaris beds; this underlies and interdigitates with the unfossiliferous Yoho River member. These two are truncated by an unconformity and covered by the Campsite Cliff member, which contains the Ogygopsis beds. The Wash member, which contains many shelly but no soft-bodied fossils, interrupts this sequence in places, and directly underlies the Phyllopod beds, which mark the base of the Walcott Quarry member. This underlies the Wapta member, which is unconformably overlain by Tokumm.

The Wapta member has been redefined into the Raymond Quarry member, Emerald Lake member, Odaray member, Paradox member and Marpole member. The thin Stephen grades conformably into the overlying Eldon formation.


3. Fossiliferous collection sites

Of the dozen-plus fossiliferous sites in the Stephen formation, the Walcott Quarry is the most famous, bearing the Phyllopod beds. This lies at the base of the Walcott Quarry member, and three other quarries – the Raymond, UE and EZ – lie above it. The UE and EZ quarries herald from the U pper E hmaniella Zone and E hmaniella Z one, respectively, and belong to the Emerald Lake member. The Campsite Cliff member contains the Ogygopsis -bearing Mount Stephen trilobite beds both on Mount Stephen, while the Collins Quarry containing the Sanctacaris beds is situated in the Kicking Horse member. The S7 locality on Mount Stephen has been attributed both to the Campsite Cliff member and the Kicking Horse member. The Trilobite Beds, the first Burgess Shale locality to be discovered, mark the southerly extent of fossiliferous exposure on Mount Stephen, although many more sites exist on the inaccessible northeasterly flank of the mountain. The Lower Trilobite Beds, although lower on the mountainside, are in fact stratigraphically higher than the Upper Trilobite Beds.

Fossils have also been collected from the thin Stephen Formation, in the vicinity of the Stanley Glacier, some 40 km from the main collecting sites on Fossil Ridge and Mount Stephen. They have been recorded around Odaray Mountain, Park Mountain, Curtis Peak, Natalko Lake and Monarch Cirque, although no major collection at these localities has yet been performed.

  • west, the Cathedral Formation terminates abruptly against the shales of the Stephen Formation at the Cathedral escarpment. The formation thins eastward, grading
  • The fossil - bearing deposits of the Burgess Shale correlate to the Stephen Formation a collection of slightly calcareous dark mudstones, about 508 million
  • dolomites from the Cambrian Period, some 550 million years ago. The Stephen Formation a stratigraphical unit of the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin
  • conformably overlies the Stephen Formation which hosts the fossils of the Burgess shale, in the south, and the Snake Indian Formation in the north. It is
  • in the Thin Stephen formation Liu, Q. Lei, Q. 2013 Discovery of an exceptionally preserved fossil assemblage in the Balang Formation Cambrian Series
  • The Sebeș Formation is a geological formation in Romania. It is of Maastrichtian age. It is laterally equivalent to the Sard Formation The base of the
  • Wildcat formation describes a formation for the offense in football in which the ball is snapped not to the quarterback but directly to a player of another
  • The De Queen Formation formerly known as the DeQueen Limestone Member is a Mesozoic geological formation located in southwestern Arkansas and southeastern
  • Caiua Formation is an Early Cretaceous geologic formation in Brazil and Paraguay. Fossil theropod tracks have been reported from the formation The formation
  • Paul C., and Stephen L. Brusatte. 2008. Basal abelisaurid and carcharodontosaurid theropods from the Lower Cretaceous Elrhaz Formation of Niger. Acta
  • The Lynx Formation or Lynx Group is a stratigraphic unit of Late Cambrian Dresbachian age in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. It is present in
  • Stephen Bathory Hungarian: Bathory Istvan Polish: Stefan Batory Lithuanian: Steponas Batoras 27 September 1533 12 December 1586 was Voivode of
  • The Rove Formation is a sedimentary rock formation of Middle Precambrian age underlying the upper northeastern part of Cook County, Minnesota, United
  • The Paskapoo Formation is a stratigraphic unit of Middle to Late Paleocene age in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin. The Paskapoo underlies much of
  • first ascents. Joining the Alpine Club in 1857 the year of its formation Stephen made the first ascent, usually in the company of his favourite Swiss
  • football, a single - wing formation was a precursor to the modern spread or shotgun formation The term usually connotes formations in which the snap is tossed
  • Debra S. Stephen T. Hasiotis 2006 Taphonomic analysis of a dinosaur feeding site using Geographic Information Systems GIS Morrison Formation Southern
  • The Hell Creek Formation is an intensively - studied division of mostly Upper Cretaceous and some lower Paleocene rocks in North America, named for exposures
  • St Stephen - in - Brannel known locally as St Stephen s or St Stephen Cornish: Eglosstefan yn Branel is a civil parish and village in mid Cornwall, England
  • Stephen Coronel born March 21, 1951 is a guitarist and former member of the American rock band Wicked Lester. He co - wrote a handful of songs that would
  • Stephen Marmion Lowe born 3 August 1962 is a New Zealand prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. Since 2015, he has been the Bishop of Hamilton, New Zealand
  • Stephen of Penthievre, Count of Treguier, 3rd Lord of Richmond 1058 62 21 April 1136 was a Breton noble and a younger son of Odo, Count of Penthievre
  • Stephen William Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA 8 January 1942 14 March 2018 was an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author who was director
  • Stephen Charles Neill 1900 1984 was a Scottish Anglican missionary, bishop, and scholar. He was proficient in a number of languages, including Greek
  • Stephen aldehyde synthesis, a named reaction in chemistry, was invented by Henry Stephen OBE MBE This reaction involves the preparation of aldehydes
  • Stephen Avenue is a major pedestrian mall in downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The mall is the portion of 8 Avenue SW between 4 Street SW and 1 Street
  • The Chamberlain s Brook Formation is a thin but distinctive geologic formation of dark red calcareous mudstones that crops out from Rhode Island to Massachusetts
  • This is a list of media based on work by Stephen King including the Richard Bachman titles Note that aside from Creepshow 2, It Chapter Two, and Doctor
  • Stephen Patrick David Gately 17 March 1976  10 October 2009 was an Irish pop singer - songwriter, actor, children s writer, and dancer, who, with Ronan
  • The Monterey Formation is an extensive Miocene oil - rich geological sedimentary formation in California, with outcrops of the formation in parts of the

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