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Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 193–216 | Cite as

Depositional setting of gypsum deposits, southwestern Ontario, Canada

  • Simon J. Haynes
  • Joy Hughes-Pearl
Article

Abstract

This paper details the stratigraphy and facies changes of the mined gypsum bed and enclosing strata of the Upper Silurian Salina Group A unit at the Westroc Industries Ltd. mine at Drumbo (Westroc), located on the Algonquin arch, of southwestern Ontario, Canada; and compares them with equivalent strata at the Domtar Ltd. mine at Caledonia (Domtar) situated in the Niagara Peninsula, 55 km to the southeast, on the northwestern flank of the Appalachian basin. At both localities, the Salina A unit comprises three sedimentary cycles, each terminating with gypsum. Although the three cycles at Domtar constitute essentially identical sequences of lagoonal muds capped by subaqueous gypsiferous lagoonal sediments, the same three cycles at Westroc undergo a significant change from: subaqueous deposition in a coastal salina, in the first cycle; to erosion, followed by mixed freshwater/hypersaline-water deposition in a coastal or lacustrine salina in the second cycle; to desiccation, followed by intertidal to subaerial deposition in a sabkha, in the third cycle. The sequence at Westroc indicates that the Algonquin arch became an emergent feature during late SalinaA-2 time.

The mined gypsum bed (Main Gypsum bed) at Westroc forms the top of cycle 1 and marks the first appearance of gypsum beds in the Salina Group, above the contact with the underlying Upper Silurian Guelph Formation. Stratigraphically, the Main Gypsum bed correlates with the base of the Salina A-2unit. At Westroc, the two overlying gypsum beds in the Salina A-2 are uneconomic. Incontrast, the economic gypsum bed at Domtar marks the base of the overlying Salina B anhydrite (top of cycle 4) and is underlain by three uneconomic gypsum beds (stratigraphic equivalents of the three Salina A-2 gypsum beds at Westroc).

A modern analogue which explains the difference in Salina Afacies sequences between Westroc and Domtar (55 km apart), is the semi-arid coast of northern Egypt, adjacent to the Nile delta, where gypsum is depositing in both sabkha-fringed coastal salinas and large lagoons/coastal lakes within distances equivalent to that across the eastern flank of the Algonquin arch. The implications of a gypsum exploration model, based on the modern evaporitic facies of northern Egypt, are that economic coastal salina/lagoon deposits of the Salina A and B-anhydrite units should be restricted to the ancient shoreline of the Appalachian basin which probably paralleled the Algonquin arch. However, the model also predicts the possibility of continental salina or playa deposits along the axis, or northwest, of the Algonquin arch during early Salina Group time.

Keywords

Dolomite Gypsum Anhydrite Evaporite Michigan Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simon J. Haynes
    • 1
  • Joy Hughes-Pearl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesBrock UniversityOntarioCanada

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