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Paleogeography and sedimentology of the MacKenzie Basin, Northwest Territories, Canada: An evaluation of Devonian sea-level change, paleoecological controls on Paleozoic reef growth, and early diagenetic conditions. Open Access


Other title
Devonian, eustatic, Paleozoic, sea-level
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Corlett, Hilary
Supervisor and department
Jones, Brian (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Examining committee member and department
Leys, Sally (Department of Biological Sciences)
Qing, Hairuo (Department of Geology, University of Regina)
Gingras, Murray (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Leighton, Lindsey (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Muehlenbachs, Karlis (Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences)
Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The MacKenzie Basin, located in the District of MacKenzie in the southern part of the Northwest Territories, Canada, includes a thick succession of Middle Devonian strata. This basin, bordered to the east by the Canadian Shield and to the south by the Tathlina Uplift, was directly connected to the open ocean that lay to the northwest. Comprehensive facies analyses of the Chinchaga Formation, Lonely Bay Formation, Horn Plateau Formation, and Horn River Formation, which formed in this basin during the Early and Middle Devonian, shows that sedimentation was largely controlled by eustatic sea level changes. Accordingly, these strata reflect a long period of sea level rise during which shallow water evaporite deposition in the Eifelian was followed by open marine conditions that led to reef growth in the Givetian, and ultimately pelagic shale deposition in the Frasnian. The Horn Plateau Formation is comprised of numerous isolated reefs that are located along northeast-southwest direction over a distance of 350 km along the MacKenzie Basin ramp. Reefs in the southwest are dominated by stromatoporoids whereas those in the northeast are dominated by corals. Although difficult to prove, it appears that the distribution of the stromatoporoids and corals may have been controlled by nutrients coming from coastal upwelling or runoff from the exposed Canadian Shield. Effects of early diagenetic processes were evident on the MacKenzie Basin ramp in an intensely bioturbated facies in the Lonely Bay Formation. Burrows from this facies are dolomite-filled further down the ramp and calcite-filled proximal to the Canadian Shield in the east. Anoxic conditions and the presence of sulphate reducing bacteria may have promoted early dolomite formation in the burrows located in deeper water. Burrows further up the ramp were oxygenated and show evidence of input from the exposed Canadian Shield, both of which may have inhibited low-temperature dolomite formation.
License granted by Hilary Corlett ( on 2011-05-17T18:11:34Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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