Open File Report 1991-19

Author(s) Date 1991-08-31

The objective of this field trip is to examine the geology of the Nordegg area of central Alberta. Participants will have an opportunity to observe at first hand the lithology and complex structural relationships of the rock succession. Examples of deposition related to deep marine, shallow marine, coastal plain, swamp, alluvial flood plain and alluvial channel environments will be observed and the evidence for this interpretation will be discussed. The structure of the area will be explained with some excellent exposures and accompanying cross sections.

The Nordegg area is situated in west-central Alberta and forms part of the Nordegg (83C/8), Saunders (83B/5) and Harlech (83B/12) 1: 50,000 map sheets. Coal seams were discovered in 1906 in the Bighorn River area by Dowling of the Geological Survey of Canada and subsequently staked by Martin Nordegg. Coal was discovered near the present town of Nordegg in 1911 by an exploration crew sent by Martin Nordegg (Green, 1958). By 1914 the coal mine and the town of Nordegg were established and between 1914 and 1955 about 20 million tons of coal were produced. Production problems were encountered in the 1920's because of the large percentage of fine particles in the often highly sheared coal of the Nordegg area. Experimental work was performed by the Alberta Research Council (ARC) on the briquetting of coal (Stansfield and Lang, 1928). Additional confidential ARC reports helped convince Brazeau Collieries to establish a briquetting plant in 1936 (Lang, 1950; Green, 1958). This is an early example of successful technology transfer from the Alberta Research Council to the private sector.

The first oil exploration well in the area was drilled between 1937 and 1940 (Home Brazeau #1 16-7-43-17W5), but was abandoned after negative test results. At present the Stolberg gas field is well established with pipe lines and a gas plant in place.

After early geological explorations by the Geological Survey of Canada (Dowling, 1914), the Nordegg coal field was mapped by the Alberta Geological Survey (Allan and Rutherford, 1923). The Nordegg 83C/8) map sheet was mapped by the GSC (Douglas, 1956). Guidebooks of CSPG field trips give additional information on the geology of the Nordegg area (Jones and Workum, 1978; Perkins et al., 1984).

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Langenberg, C.W. and Richardson, R. (1991): Geology, coal mining and coal-bed methane potential of the Nordegg area, Alberta; Alberta Research Council, ARC/AGS Open File Report 1991-19, 38 p.