Characterization of glacial tills from an excavation near Fort McMurray, Alberta

An excavation conducted beneath the north starter dyke of the Sand Cell 2 Tailings Dam has permitted the geological mapping and geotechnical characterization of complex sub-glacial assemblage composed of glacial tills and rafted bedrock that overlie an infilled, tunnel valley, known as the Kearl Channel. The mapping data was supplemented with borehole and laboratory testing data from drilling programs and geographical information system data from the Alberta Geological Survey. This study concluded that the moraine was composed of a sub-glacial traction till, analogous to the Firebag Till, and rafted bedrock derived from the Clearwater Formation. The moraine was overlain and interbedded by deformed sands and gravels indicative of a sub-glacial braided canal system. Updated interpretations of the glacigenic units are proposed based on recent developments in glaciological studies.

Bayliss, A. 2015. “Characterization of Glacial Tills from an Excavation Near Fort McMurray, Alberta,” Proceedings of the 68th Canadian Geotechnical Conference and 7th Canadian Permafrost Conference, GeoQuébec 2015, “Challenges from North to South”, September 20 – 23, 2015, Quebec City, Quebec.

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