Recent discoveries of kimberlites and polymetallic mineralization in the sedimentary succession of the Alberta Basin have increased interest in the mineral potential of Alberta. In order to promote exploration for and mining of non-energy minerals in Alberta, the Alberta Government is putting increased effort into providing basic geological information in support of the minerals industry.
Mineral exploration is critically related to knowledge of the location and age if fractures, which may have acted as pathways for mineralizing fluids and kimberlite emplacement. Therefore, a regional compilation of the known and interpreted subsurface and surface structural features and current knowledge of the tectonostratigraphic evolution in northern Alberta was conducted as a first step to aid government and industry in their efforts to better target possible occurrences of non-energy minerals in the province.
An innovative approach in both handling and delivering geological information has been taken in this compilation. Lineaments from various literature sources (digital and nondigital) were geospatially referenced, compiled digitally into ArcView(r) layers(I.e., shapefiles) and individually tagged with attribute data stored in a database.
This report provides an overview of the Late Proterozoic to Recent tectonostratigraphic evolution of northern Alberta, in order to facilitate understanding of the geological significance of the compiled structural features (accessible through ArcExplorer(r) on the enclosed CD-ROM).
The Phanerozoic geological evolution of northern Alberta is dominated by an east-northeast-trending geological subsurface structure, traditionally called the Peace River Arch (PRA). Several distinct phases of Phanerozoic tectonic evolution have been documented: 1) an Early to Middle Paleozoic arch phase, 2) a Carboniferous to Triassic embayment phase, and 3) a Jurassic to Cretaceous deep basin or downwarping phase.
Aspects that may be relevant for both energy and non-energy minerals are addressed, with particular emphasis exploration for sediment-hosted mineral deposits within each tectonostratigraphic phase. Recommendations for further integrated studies, investigating the basement sedimentary cover interactions, are made.