Horseshoe Canyon Formation

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Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Stratigraphic range: Maastrichtian, 72–68Ma
Horseshoe Canyon.jpg
Horseshoe Canyon Formation at its type locality in Horseshoe Canyon, near Drumheller. The dark bands are coal seams.
Type Geological formation
Unit of Edmonton Group
Underlies Whitemud Formation
Overlies Bearpaw Formation
Thickness 227 meters (745 ft)[1]
Lithology
Primary sandstone
Other shale, coal
Location
Coordinates 51°25′24″N 112°53′18″W / 51.42333°N 112.88833°W / 51.42333; -112.88833 (Horseshoe Canyon)Coordinates: 51°25′24″N 112°53′18″W / 51.42333°N 112.88833°W / 51.42333; -112.88833 (Horseshoe Canyon)
Region Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin
Country  Canada
Type section
Named for Horseshoe Canyon
Named by E.J.W. Irish, 1970

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is a stratigraphic unit of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin in southwestern Alberta.[2][3] It takes its name from Horseshoe Canyon, an area of badlands near Drumheller.

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is part of the Edmonton Group and is up to 230 metres (750 ft) thick. It is of Late Cretaceous age, Campanian to early Maastrichtian stage (Edmontonian Land-Mammal Age), and is composed of mudstone, sandstone, carbonaceous shales, and coal seams. A variety of depositional environments are represented in the succession, including floodplains, estuarine channels, and coal swamps, which have yielded a diversity of fossil material. Tidally-influenced estuarine point bar deposits are easily recognizable as Inclined Heterolithic Stratification (IHS). Brackish-water trace fossil assemblages occur within these bar deposits and demonstrate periodic incursion of marine waters into the estuaries.

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation crops out extensively in the area around Drumheller, as well as farther north along the Red Deer River near Trochu and along the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton.[2] It is overlain by the Battle, Whitemud, and Scollard formations.[3] The Drumheller Coal Zone, located in the lower part of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, was mined for sub-bituminous coal in the Drumheller area from 1911 to 1979, and the Atlas Coal Mine in Drumheller has been preserved as a National Historic Site.[4] In more recent times, the Horseshoe Canyon Formation has become a major target for coalbed methane (CMB) production.

Contact (red arrow) between the underlying marine shales of the Bearpaw Formation and the coastal Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Coal beds (black bands) are common in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation and were formed in coastal swamps.

Dinosaurs found in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation include Albertosaurus, Anchiceratops, Anodontosaurus, Arrhinoceratops, Atrociraptor, Epichirostenotes, Dromiceiomimus, Edmontonia, Edmontosaurus, Hypacrosaurus, Ornithomimus, Pachyrhinosaurus, Parksosaurus, Saurolophus, Stegoceras, Struthiomimus and Troodon. Other finds have included mammals such as Didelphodon coyi, non-dinosaur reptiles, amphibians, fish, marine and terrestrial invertebrates and plant fossils. Reptiles such as turtles and crocodilians are rare in the Horseshoe Canyon Formation, and this was thought to reflect the relatively cool climate which prevailed at the time. A study by Quinney et al. (2013) however, showed that the decline in turtle diversity, which was previously attributed to climate, coincided instead with changes in soil drainage conditions, and was limited by aridity, landscape instability, and migratory barriers.[5]

Oil/gas production[edit]

The Drumheller Coal Zone has been a primary coalbed methane target for industry. In the area between Bashaw and Rockyford, the Coal Zone lies at relatively shallow depths (about 300 metres) and is about 70 to 120 metres thick. It contains 10 to 20 metres of cumulative coal, in up to 20 or more individual thin seams interbedded with sandstone and shale, which combine to make an attractive multi-completion CBM drilling target. In total, it is estimated there are 14 trillion cubic metres (500 tcf) of gas in place in all the coal in Alberta.

Biostratigraphy[edit]

The timeline below follows syntheses presented by Arbour et al. 2009, Cullen et al. 2013[6] Larson et al. 2010,[7] and Williamson & Carr 2002.
Battle Formation Scollard Formation Struthiomimus Atrociraptor marshalli Albertonykus borealis Parksosaurus warreni Eotriceratops xerinsularis Hypacrosaurus altispinus Saurolophus osborni Anodontosaurus lambei Albertosaurus sarcophagus Edmontonia longiceps Troodon Paronychodon Edmontosaurus regalis Sphaerotholus edomtonense Pachyrhinosaurus canadensis Anchiceratops ornatus Epichirostenotes curriei Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai Ornithomimus edmontonicus Battle Formation Scollard Formation

Dinosaurs[edit]

Ankylosaurs[edit]

Ornithischians reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Anodontosaurus[8][9]

A. lambei[8][9]

Units 2-4

Edmontonia

E. longiceps

Unit 2

Euoplocephalus

E. tutus

Walter Coombs (1971) synonymised Anodontosaurus lambei with E. tutus. However, recent studies suggest that Anodontosaurus is distinct enough from Euoplocephalus to be placed in its own genus and species.[8][10] Furthermore, all Horseshoe Canyon Formation ankylosaurine specimens were suggested to be re-assigned to Anodontosaurus.[9]

Maniraptors[edit]

Maniraptors reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Albertonykus

A. borealis

Upper unit 4

Limb bones, type specimen

An alvarezsaurid

Atrociraptor

A. marshalli

Upper unit 4

Partial skull, type specimen

A dromaeosaurid

Dromaeosaurus

Indeterminate

Teeth

A dromaeosaurid

Epichirostenotes

E. curriei[11]

Unit 1

Partial skeleton, type specimen

A caenagnathid

Paronychodon

Indeterminate

Unit 2

Teeth

An indeterminate maniraptoran

Richardoestesia

R. gilmorei

Teeth

A dromaeosaurid

R. isosceles

Teeth

Saurornitholestes

Indeterminate

Teeth

A dromaeosaurid

Troodon

Indeterminate

Teeth

A troodontid

Marginocephalians[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Marginocephalians reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Anchiceratops

A. ornatus

Units 1 & 2

Arrhinoceratops

A. brachyops

Units 1 & 2

"Complete skull."[12]

Eotriceratops

E. xerinsularis‏

Unit 5

Montanoceratops[13]

M. cerorhynchus[13]

Isolated braincase AMNH 5244.[13]

AMNH 5244 was probably left by an indeterminate leptoceratopsid.

Pachyrhinosaurus

P. canadensis

Upper unit 1

Ceratopsids

P. lakustai

Lower unit 1

Stegoceras

S. edmontonense

Unit 1

?Prenocephale.

"Almond Formation" ceratopsid

Unnamed

Upper Unit 1, Horseshoe Canyon Formation, 72.2-71Ma ago[14]

Misidentified as Anchiceratops, it is actually a new species, probably the same as a new Pentaceratops-like form from the Almond Formation of Wyoming [15]

Ornithomimids[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Ornithomimids reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Dromiceiomimus

D. brevitertius

Type specimen

Junior synonym of Ornithomimus edmontonicus.

Ornithomimus

O. brevitertius

Junior synonym of O. edmontonicus

O. currellii

Junior synonym of O. edmontonicus

O. edmontonicus

Units 1-4

Several specimens, type specimen

An ornithomimid

O. velox

Misclassified, now considered Struthiomimus sp.

Struthiomimus

Unnamed

Unit 4

An ornithomimid

S. brevitertius

Junior synonym of Ornithomimus edmontonicus

S. currellii

Junior synonym of Ornithomimus edmontonicus

S. ingens

Junior synonym of Ornithomimus edmontonicus

Ornithopods[edit]

Ornithopods reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Edmontosaurus

E. regalis

Units 1-2

Hypacrosaurus

H. altispinus

Units 4-5

"[Five to ten] articulated skulls, some associated with postcrania, isolated skull elements, isolated postcranial elements, many individuals, embryo to adult."[16]

Parksosaurus

P. warrenae

Unit 3

Saurolophus

S. osborni

Unit 4

"Complete skull and skeleton, [two] complete skulls."[16]

Tyrannosaurs[edit]

Color key
Taxon Reclassified taxon Taxon falsely reported as present Dubious taxon or junior synonym Ichnotaxon Ootaxon Morphotaxon
Notes
Uncertain or tentative taxa are in small text; crossed out taxa are discredited.
Theropods reported from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Notes Images

Albertosaurus

A. arctunguis

Junior synonym of A. sarcophagus

A. sarcophagus

Units 2-5

Several skeletons and partial skeletons, type specimen

A tyrannosaurid

Daspletosaurus[17]

D. sp.[17]

Bonebed, Toothmarks on Saurolophus and Edmontosaurus

A tyrannosaurid. A specimen of Edmontosaurus regalis and Saurolophus osborni have toothmarks from a species of Daspletosaurus.[17]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Lexicon of Canadian Geological Units. "Horseshoe Canyon Formation". Retrieved 2009-02-06. 
  2. ^ a b Prior, G. J., Hathaway, B., Glombick, P.M., Pana, D.I., Banks, C.J., Hay, D.C., Schneider, C.L., Grobe, M., Elgr, R., and Weiss, J.A. (2013). "Bedrock Geology of Alberta. Alberta Geological Survey, Map 600". Retrieved 2013-08-13. 
  3. ^ a b Mossop, G.D. and Shetsen, I., (compilers), Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (1994). "The Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Chapter 24: Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary strata of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin". Retrieved 2013-08-01. 
  4. ^ "Mine History". Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Annie Quinney, François Therrien, Darla K. Zelenitsky, David A. Eberth. Palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic reconstruction of the Upper Cretaceous (late Campanian–early Maastrichtian) Horseshoe Canyon Formation, Alberta, Canada. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, Volume 371, 1 February 2013, Pages 26–44. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2012.12.009
  6. ^ Cullen, T. M., Ryan, M. J., Schröder-Adams, C., Currie, P. J., & Kobayashi, Y. (2013). An Ornithomimid (Dinosauria) Bonebed from the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, with Implications for the Behavior, Classification, and Stratigraphy of North American Ornithomimids. PloS one, 8(3), e58853.
  7. ^ Larson, D. W., Brinkman, D. B., & Bell, P. R. (2010). Faunal assemblages from the upper Horseshoe Canyon Formation, an early Maastrichtian cool-climate assemblage from Alberta, with special reference to the Albertosaurus sarcophagus bonebed This article is one of a series of papers published in this Special Issue on the theme Albertosaurus. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 47(9), 1159-1181.
  8. ^ a b c Penkalski, P. (2013). "A new ankylosaurid from the late Cretaceous Two Medicine Formation of Montana, USA". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. doi:10.4202/app.2012.0125.  edit
  9. ^ a b c Arbour, Victoria (2010). "A Cretaceous armoury: Multiple ankylosaurid taxa in the Late Cretaceous of Alberta, Canada and Montana, USA". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30 (Supplement 2): 55A. doi:10.1080/02724634.2010.10411819. 
  10. ^ Penkalski, P.; Blows, W. T. (2013). "Scolosaurus cutleri (Ornithischia: Ankylosauria) from the Upper Cretaceous Dinosaur Park Formation of Alberta, Canada". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences: 130110052638009. doi:10.1139/cjes-2012-0098.  edit
  11. ^ Robert M. Sullivan, Steven E. Jasinski and Mark P.A. Van Tomme (2011). "A new caenagnathid Ojoraptorsaurus boerei, n. gen., n. sp. (Dinosauria, Oviraptorosauria), from the Upper Ojo Alamo Formation (Naashoibito Member), San Juan Basin, New Mexico". Fossil Record 3. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 53: 418–428. 
  12. ^ "Table 23.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 495.
  13. ^ a b c "Abstract," Makovicky (2001); page 243.
  14. ^ Cite error: The named reference ABS09 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  15. ^ Farke, A. A. "Cranial osteology and phylogenetic relationships of the chasmosaurine ceratopsid Torosaurus latus", pp. 235-257. In K. Carpenter (ed.). Horns and Beaks: Ceratopsian and Ornithopod Dinosaurs. Indiana Univ. Press (Bloomington), 2006.
  16. ^ a b "Table 20.1," in Weishampel, et al. (2004). Page 441.
  17. ^ a b c "City Site Was Dinosaur Dining Room". ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily. 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2008-12-07. 

References[edit]

  • Makovicky, P. J., 2001, A Montanoceratops cerorhynchus (Dinosauria: Ceratopsia) braincase from the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta: In: Mesozoic Vertebrate Life, edited by Tanke, D. H., and Carpenter, K., Indiana University Press, pp. 243–262.
  • Varricchio, D. J. 2001. Late Cretaceous oviraptorosaur (Theropoda) dinosaurs from Montana. pp. 42–57 in D. H. Tanke and K. Carpenter (eds.), Mesozoic Vertebrate Life. Indiana University Press, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. 861 pp. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.