Elk Point Group
|Elk Point Group
Stratigraphic range: Early to Middle Devonian
|Sub-units||Upper and Lower Elk Point Group|
|Underlies||Beaverhill Lake Group, Manitoba Group|
|Overlies||Precambrian to Silurian formations|
|Thickness||up to 610 metres (2,000 ft)|
|Primary||Dolomite, halite, anhydrite|
|Other||Limestone, shale, potash|
|Country||Canada United States|
|Named for||Elk Point|
|Named by||J.R. McGehee|
The Elk Point Group is a stratigraphic unit of Early to Middle Devonian age in the Western Canada and Williston sedimentary basins. It underlies large area that extends from southern boundary of the Northwest Territories in Canada to North Dakota in the United States. It has been subdivided into numerous formations, many which host major petroleum and natural gas reservoirs.
The formations of the Elk Point Group are composed primarily of carbonate rocks (dolostone and limestone) and evaporitic rocks (halite, anhydrite and potash), with lesser amounts of dolomitic mudstone and shale.
Some of the carbonate formations of the Elk Point Group contain rich assemblages of marine invertebrate fossils, including many species of brachiopods, gastropods, bivalves, cephalopods, crinoids, ostracods and corals. The evaporitic formations are unfossiliferous or contain a few spores and algal remains.
Environment of Deposition
The formations of the Elk Point Group were deposited in a marine embayment that stretched from an open ocean in the present-day Northwest Territories of Canada to North Dakota in the United States, covering an area roughly half as large as that covered by today's Mediterranean Sea. At times of low water levels and excessive evaporation, halite and other evaporite minerals were deposited in sabkha, supratidal flat and coastal lagoon environments, and at times of higher water levels carbonate platform sedimentation and reef growth were dominant.
Distribution and Thickness
The Elk Point Group extends from the southern boundary of the Northwest Territories through northwestern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and southwestern Manitoba in Canada, and continues into eastern Montana and North Dakota in the United States. It reaches a maximum thickness of about 610 metres (2,000 ft) in eastern Alberta.
The Elk Point Group was named for the town of Elk Point, Alberta by J.R. McGehee in 1949. Core from a well that was drilled near Elk Point has been designated as the type section (Anglo-Canadian Elk Point No. 11, 2-11-57-5W4). The group is subdivided into the Lower and Upper Elk Point Group, each of which is further subdivided into formations according to the dominant lithologies, as shown in the tables below.
The Lower Elk Point Group comprises all strata lying below the Winnipegosis Formation (in the south) or the Keg River Formation (in the north) and is present only in the deepest parts of the basin. The Upper Elk Point Group, which is present throughout the basin, includes those formations and all overlying formations to the base of the Manitoba Group (in the south) or the Beaverhill Lake Group (in the north).
The Elk Point Group is dolomitic and is not differentiated.
|Dawson Bay Formation||Givetian||dolomitic mudstone, crystalline limestone, argillaceous carbonate, bituminous limestone, dolostone, anhydrite, halite||50 m (160 ft)|||
|Prairie Evaporite Formation||Givetian||halite, anhydrite, dolostone, dolomitic mudstone, limestone, potash||218 m (720 ft)|||
|Winnipegosis Formation||Givetian||dolostone, bituminous carbonates, anhydrite||100 m (330 ft)|||
|Ashern Formation||Eifelian to Givetian||argillaceous dolostone and dolomitic shale and siltstone; minor anhydrite||55 m (180 ft)|||
|Meadow Lake Formation||Eifelian||dolostone with mudstone interbeds, limestone and sandstone at base||56 m (180 ft)|||
Relationship to Other Units
The Elk Point Group is conformably overlain by the Manitoba Group in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and by the Beaverhill Lake Group in Alberta. It rests unconformably on Precambrian basement rocks in northern Alberta, on Cambrian strata in northeastern Alberta and in Saskatchewan, and on Ordovician to Silurian formations in western Alberta, Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba. In the Northwest Territories, some of its uppermost units are exposed at surface or are unconformably overlain by Cretaceous strata.
The Lower Elk Point Group is equivalent to the Stone Formation and its equivalents, and the Headless and Nahanni Formations, in northerneastern British Columbia and the southwestern Northwest Territories. In the same areas, the Upper Elk Point includes the Pine Point Group, and is equivalent to parts of the Horn River Formation, Besa River Formation, and others.
Petroleum and Natural Gas
The porous carbonate rocks of the Elk Point Group host major petroleum and natural gas reservoirs. As of 1994, the Initial Established Recoverable Petroleum Reserves and the Cumulative Petroleum Production for the group were estimated at 339.3 and 240.4 million cubic metres, respectively. For natural gas, the Initial Established Marketable Reserves and the Cumulative Production were estimated at 142.7 and 79.5 billion cubic metres, respectively.
- Meijer Drees, N.C. 1986. Evaporitic deposits of western Canada. Geological Survey of Canada, paper 85-20.
- 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.
- McGehee, J.R., 1949. Pre-Waterways Paleozoic stratigraphy of Alberta Plains. Bull. American Association of Petroleum Geologists, 33:4, p. 603-613.
- 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 10: Devonian Elk Point Group of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin". Retrieved 2016-06-20.
- Mossop, G.D. and Shetsen, I. (compilers) Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (1994). "The Geological Atlas of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, Chapter 32: Oil and Gas Resources of the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin". Retrieved 2016-06-20.