UBC Theses and Dissertations
Marine geology of upper Jervis Inlet MacDonald, Robert Drummond
Manganese-iron oxide concretions are presently forming on Patrick Sill in upper Jervis Inlet. The marine geology of Patrick Sill and the adjoining basins (Queen's Reach and Princess Royal Reach) was studied to define the environment in which the concretions form. The river at the inlet head is the principal source of sediment to the upper basin. The average grain size of surficial bottom sediments within this basin decreases uniformly with distance from the source. Patrick Sill separates the upper from the lower basin. The sediment distribution pattern within the lower basin differs markedly from the upper basin as there is no dominant source of material but rather many localized sources. Abundant shallow marine faunal remains recovered in deep water sediment samples indicate that sediments deposited as deltas off river and stream mouths periodically slump to the basin floors. Geologic and optical turbidity information for the upper basin can best be explained by slumping from the delta at the inlet head with the initiation of turbidity or density currents. Patrick Sill appears to create a downstream barrier to this flow. The mineralogy of the bottom sediments indicates derivation from a granitic terrain. If this is so, the sediments presently being deposited in both basins are reworked glacial materials initially derived by glacial action outside the present watershed. Upper Jervis Inlet is mapped as lying within a roof pendant of pre-batholithic rocks, principally slates. Patrick Sill is thought to be a bedrock feature mantled with Pleistocene glacial material. The accumulation rate of recent sediments on the sill is low especially in the V-notch or medial depression. The manganese-iron oxide concretions are forming within the depression and apparently nowhere else in the study area. Also forming within the depression are crusts of iron oxide and what are tentatively identified as glauconite-montmorillonoid pellets. The concretions are thought to form by precipitation of manganese-iron oxides on pebbles and cobbles lying at the sediment water interface. The oxide materials are mobile in the reducing environment of the underlying clayey-sand sediment but precipitate on contact with the oxygenating environment of the surficial sediments. The iron crusts are thought to be forming on extensive rocky surfaces above the sediment water interface. The overall appearance and evidence of rapid formation of the crusts suggests they formed from a gel in sea water. Reserves of manganese-iron concretions on Patrick Sill were estimated to be 117 metric tons. Other deposits of concretions have recently been found in other inlets and in the Strait of Georgia but, to date, the extent of these has not been determined.
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