Carbonates and Evaporites

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 185–209 | Cite as

Carbonate mud flows and other indicators of excess pore-fluid pressure in the Macumber Formation (Lower Carboniferous, Viséan) at Ingonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

  • Paul E. Schenk
  • Peter H. von Bitter
  • Ryo R. Matsumoto


The Ingonish area of northern Nova Scotia offers the most extensive exposure of the Macumber Formation, the basal carbonate unit of the Lower Carboniferous (Middle Viséan) Windsor Group of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. The area also shows tectonic-free sedimentary characteristics of this unit. The formation consists of two principal lithologic units, a basal, black, earthy, carbonaceous limestone normally about 0.5 m thick and a thinly stratified, peloidal dolomudstone up to 17.5 m thick. At Burke Head, the dolomudstone is cut by at least 25 massive tufa mounds, elongated in cross-section and intersecting their surrounding strata by rising northeastward at angles of 15 to 25 degrees. At east Ingonish Island the basal unit is anomalous in being both dolomitized and thicker (5 m); there, both units are cut by at least 20 smaller massive tufa mounds. The mounds at both localities formed over deep-water hydrothermal vents, i.e., marine hot springs; the fossils of abundant chemosynthetic tubeworms surround the lower mounds on east Ingonish Island. The Macumber Formation overlies Horton Group braided-stream facies sandstones, and presumably underlies nearby, thick gypsum deposits of the Windsor Group.

Features in the formation indicating excess pore-fluid pressure include voluminous vugs and widespread subaqueous sediment flows. Miniature pockmarks, sedimentary volcanoes, and shafts show the release of small quantities of pore fluids. Larger quantities of pore fluids exited through tufa mounds and geyser-like shafts. The pressure generated mudflows; eruption of pore fluids brecciated some of their flanks.

The general environment of rift tectonics was conductive to active hydrology. The seasonal semi-arid climate caused changes in pore-fluid pressures, due to episodic aqueous and sedimentary loading of basin floors. Igneous activity, either at the same time or before deposition of the Windsor Group, created significant geothermal gradients to drive hydrothermal circulation and increase pore-fluid pressures.

Textures and structures of the Macumber Formation in the Ingonish area are due to syndepositional processes, driven by initial, high pore-fluid pressures.


Nova Scotia Tufa Carbonate Mound Pyramid Lake Maritimes Basin 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul E. Schenk
    • 1
  • Peter H. von Bitter
    • 2
  • Ryo R. Matsumoto
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Earth SciencesDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Department of Palaeobiology, Royal Ontario Museum and Department of GeologyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Geological InstituteUniversity of TokyoTokyoJapan

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