Belly River Group

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Belly River Formation
Stratigraphic range: Santonian to Campanian
Oldman river-Alberta.JPG
Belly River beds exposed along the Oldman River
Type Geological formation
Underlies Bearpaw Formation
Overlies Wapiabi Formation
Thickness up to 1,300 metres (4,270 ft)[1]
Primary Sandstone, Shale
Other Conglomerate, Coal, Bentonite
Coordinates 49°37′54″N 112°52′31″W / 49.63161°N 112.87537°W / 49.63161; -112.87537 (Belly River Formation)
Region  Alberta
Country  Canada
Type section
Named for Belly River
Named by George Mercer Dawson, 1883

The Belly River Formation is a stratigraphical unit of Late Cretaceous age in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.

It takes the name from the Belly River, a tributary of the Oldman River in southern Alberta, and was first described in outcrop on the banks of the Oldman River (at the time considered part of the Belly River) and Bow River by George Mercer Dawson in 1883.[2]


The Belly River Formation is composed of very fine grained sandstone with coarse grained beds and minor bentonite, coal, green shale and concretionary beds. [1]

Hydrocarbon production[edit]

Gas is produced from the Belly River Formation in the Deep Basin, in west-central Alberta and in the Canadian Rockies foothills.


Dinosaur remains are among the fossils that have been recovered from the formation.[3]

Dinosaurs reported from the Belly River Group
Genus Species Location Stratigraphic position Material Description Images




The Belly River Formation reaches a maximum thickness of 1,300 metres (4,270 ft) in its western reaches, and thins out eastward to about 350 metres (1,150 ft) in the Canadian Plains. It is found throughout southern Alberta, and as far east as eastern Saskatchewan. From south to north, it is present from the United States border to the Wapiti River region, south of the Peace River Country.[1]

Relationship to other units[edit]

The Belly River Formation is conformably overlain by the Bearpaw Formation and gradually overlies the Wapiabi Formation, the Colorado Group shale or the Lea Park Formation shale.[1]

It is equivalent to the Milk River Formation and Pakowki Formation. The Belly River has group status in the Canadian Rockies foothills and is replaced by the Oldman Formation (Judith River Formation in Montana) and Foremost Formation in southern Alberta.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Lexicon of Canadian Geologic Units. "Belly River Formation". Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  2. ^ Dawson, G.M., 1883. Preliminary report on the geology of the Bow and Belly river region, Northwest Territory, with special reference to the coal deposits. Geological Survey of Canada, Report of Progress for 1880-81-82, Part B.
  3. ^ a b c Weishampel, David B; et al. (2004). "Dinosaur distribution (Late Cretaceous, North America)." In: Weishampel, David B.; Dodson, Peter; and Osmólska, Halszka (eds.): The Dinosauria, 2nd, Berkeley: University of California Press. Pp. 574-588. ISBN 0-520-24209-2.