Beaverhill Lake Group
|Beaverhill Lake Group
Stratigraphic range: Middle to Late Devonian ~390–365 Ma
|Sub-units||Swan Hills Formation
Slave Point Formation
Fort Vermilion Formation
|Underlies||Woodbend Group and Muskwa Formation|
|Overlies||Elk Point Group|
|Thickness||up to 220 metres (720 ft)|
|Primary||Calcareous shale, limestone|
|Region|| Northwest Territories
|Named for||Beaverhill Lake|
|Named by||Imperial Oil staff, 1950|
The Beaverhill Lake Group is a geologic unit of Middle Devonian to Late Devonian (late Givetian to Frasnian) age in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin that is present in the southwestern Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia and Alberta. It was named by the geological staff of Imperial Oil in 1950 for Beaverhill Lake, Alberta, based on the core from a well that they had drilled southeast of the lake, near Ryley, Alberta (Anglo-Canadian Beaverhill Lake No. 2, 11-11-50-17W4).
The Beaverhill Lake Group consists of anhydrite and carbonate rocks at the base (the Fort Vermillion Formation), overlain by interbedded sequences of calcareous shale, argillaceous micritic limestone, limestone and dolostone. The group becomes thicker and more shaly to the west. 
Distribution and thickness
The Beaverhill Lake Group is present beneath the plains of the southwestern Northwest Territories, northeastern British Columbia and Alberta. It reaches a maximum thickness of about 220 metres (720 ft) in central Alberta. Outcrops of one of its formations (the Waterways) can be seen along the Athabasca and Clearwater Rivers in the Fort McMurray area.
- Swan Hills area
|Swan Hills Formation||Middle Devonian to Late Devonian||stromatoporoid reef (micritic and pelletoidal limestone facies or coarse, porous, bioclastic limestone facies)||152 m (500 ft)|||
|Waterways Formation||Middle Devonian to Late Devonian||nodular and argillaceous limestone and shale with brachiopods, corals and ostracods||230 m (750 ft)|||
|Fort Vermilion Formation||Middle Devonian||brown to white anhydrite with interbeds of dolostone or limestone||8 m (30 ft)|||
Environment of deposition
The formations of the Beaverhill Lake Group were deposited in an embayment that extended from an open ocean in the present-day Northwest Territories in Canada, to North Dakota in the United States. An extensive reef complex called the Presqu'ile Barrier had developed across the mouth of the embayment, blocking it from the open ocean and restricting the inflow of sea water. Low water levels and excessive evaporation led to the deposition of the anhydrite-rich Fort Vermillion Formation at the base of the group in northern areas. Water levels then increased throughout the embayment, and the overlying carbonate rocks were deposited in reefs (Swan Hills Formation), and in carbonate platform and basin environments (Waterways Formation).
Relationship to other units
The Beaverhill Lake Group is conformably underlain by the formations of the Elk Point Group. In most areas it is conformably overlain by the formations of the Woodbend Group, and in northwestern Alberta and northeastern British Columbia it is disconformably overlain by the Muskwa Formation.
It is equivalent to the Souris River Formation in southeastern Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and to the Flume Formation of the Fairholme Group in the Canadian Rockies. According to D.L Griffin, it is equivalent to the Slave Point Formation and Waterways Formation in northeastern Alberta, with the Slave Point Formation and the lower Hay River Formation in the District of Mackenzie, as well as the Horn River Formation and Fort Simpson Formation northwest of the Slave Point-Keg River facies in northeastern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
Since 1957 oil has been produced from the Swan Hills Formation of the Beaverhill Lake Group in the Swan Hills area of northern Alberta, where it includes Devonian reef structures similar to those of the Leduc Formation and the Rainbow Member in Alberta.
- Glass, D.J. (editor) 1997. Lexicon of Canadian Stratigraphy, vol. 4, Western Canada including eastern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and southern Manitoba. Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, Calgary, 1423 p. on CD-ROM. ISBN 0-920230-23-7.
- Mossop, G.D. and Shetsen, I. (compilers), Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists and Alberta Geological Survey (1994). "The Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Chapter 11: Beaverhill Lake Group of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin". Retrieved 2016-06-20.
- Geological Staff, Imperial Oil Limited, Western Division, 1950. Devonian Nomenclature in Edmonton Area, Alberta, Canada. Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Vol. 34, No. 9, pp. 1807-1825.
- Barss, D.L., Copland, A.B., and Ritchie, W.D., 1970, Middle Devonian Reefs, Rainbow Area, Alberta, in Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, AAPG Memoir 14, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, pp. 18-49
- Hemphill, C.R., Smith, R.I., and Szabo, F., 1970, Geology of Beaverhill Lake Reefs, Swan Hills Area, Alberta, in Geology of Giant Petroleum Fields, AAPG Memoir 14, Halbouty, M.T., editor, Tulsa: American Association of Petroleum Geologists, pp. 50-90
- Norris, A.W. 1963. Devonian stratigraphy of northeastern Alberta and northwestern Saskatchewan. Geological Survey of Canada, Memoir 313.
- Wendte, J. and Uyeno, T. 2005. Sequence stratigraphy and evolution of Middle to Upper Devonian Beaverhill Lake strata, south-central Alberta. Bulletin of Canadian Petroleum Geology. v. 53, no. 3, p. 250-354.
- Griffin, D.L., 1965. "The facies front of the Devonian Slave Point - Elk Point sequence in northeastern British Columbia and the Northwest Territories"; Journal of Canadian Petroleum Technology, vol. 4, no. 1, pp. 13-22.
- Norris, A.W. 1983. Brachiopods (Schizophoria, Strophodonta (Strophodonta), Nervostrophia, Eostrophalosia and Devonoproductus) from the lower Upper Devonian Waterways Formation of northeastern Alberta. Geological Survey of Canada, Bulletin 350.