Information Series 007

Information Series 007

INF 007

Geology of the Peace River Glass Sand Deposit

Author(s) Crockford, M.B.B. Date 1949-04-01

There are many types of glass, but in general glass is made from a mixture of silica (quartz), various alkalies, alkali earths and metals. These substances are mixed in certain definite proportions depending on the kind of glass desired. Silica comprises 50 to 75 per cent of the batch. Heating it until all the ingredients are melted together mixes the batch; consequently cheap fuel is a prime requisite for the establishment of a glass industry.

Natural gas provides a cheap source of heat for glass making, and consequently the widespread occurrence of this fuel in Alberta serves as the basis of the glass industry of the Province. Glass sand is brought to the factory at Redcliff, Alberta, from Illinois, so that the discovery of deposits of this material in Alberta would make the industry not only independent of foreign sources, but could lead to its expansion. Consumption runs from 10, 000 to 15, 000 tons annually. During the late war the uncertainty and high cost of transportation led to a search for local supplies of glass sand. Two possible sources of sand were investigated, namely the quartzitic sandstones occurring in the Rocky Mountains, and sands occurring on the beaches of several of the larger lakes. Neither of these sources has as yet proved worthy of development, the sandstones proving too hard for working profitably, and the beach sand deposits too impure or too small. In 1946 a deposit of sandstone was found near the town of Peace River, and is the subject of this report, since it offers good prospects as a source of glass sand.

Crockford, M.B.B. (1949): Geology of the Peace River glass sand deposit; Research Council of Alberta, RCA/AGS Information Series 7, 24 p.