Derald Smith studying Late Cretaceous deposits in the Alberta Badlands.
ICFS 11 field trips icon

Mid-conference Field Trips

Field trips for ICFS 11 will include a variety of pre-, post- and mid-conference excursions. Calgary is ideally situated for a number of trips to examine both modern and ancient fluvial environments in western Canada.

The field trips are co-hosted and sponsored by the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists (CSPG). Trips will be run in accorance with the AAPG Field Trip Safety Guidelines as outlined in Field Safety in Uncontrolled Environments: A Process-Based Guidebook, 2005

Effects of a 100-year flood on a meandering river point bar, South Saskatchewan River

Medicine Hat, Alberta

Cynthia Hagstrom


Matthew Smith


Dates: July 18-19Capacity: 15

Regular - $290Student - $240


The field trip will leave the University of Calgary campus at 5:00 PM on Tuesday evening (July 18th) returning in the early evening of July 19th. Field trip fee includes transportation, lunch and overnight accommodation. 


In June 2013, the South Saskatchewan River Sub-Basin in southern Alberta experienced its highest water discharge rate since record keeping began in 1911. At Police Point Park, a nature preserve located on a meander lobe of the South Saskatchewan River in the City of Medicine Hat, the water level rose approximately seven meters. A significant amount of deposition and erosion occurred on the point bar as a result of this extreme flooding event.

During the field trip we will explore the Police Point Park point bar and examine the morphological effects of the 2013 flood.

A large point bar at Police Point Park on the South Saskatchewan River
Police Point Park - a meander lobe of the South Saskatchewan River.

Additionally, we will discuss point bar sedimentology, including channel morphology and grain size trends; floodplain geomorphology; and the planform evolution of this point mixed sand and gravel point bar within its confined valley. Aspects of this modern point bar will be compared to subsurface examples of point bars from the McMurray Formation of northern Alberta.

The stratigraphic expression of intra-point bar erosion and rotation, Willow Creek, Alberta

East Coulee, Alberta

Paul Durkin

University of Calgary

Dates: July 19Capacity: 30

Regular - $150Student - $100


The field trip will leave the University of Calgary campus at 8:00 AM returning in the early evening. Field trip fee includes transportation and lunch.

The Horseshoe Canyon Formation is visible throughout Willow Creek valley
Horseshoe Canyon Formation stratigraphy outcropping in the Willow Creek Valley, Alberta.


This one-day field trip will examine meander-belt deposits of the Late Cretaceous Horseshoe Canyon Formation, with specific focus on the stratigraphic expression of intra-point bar erosion surfaces. The "badlands" topography of the Red Deer River valley provides a unique perspective into point bar sedimentology and stratigraphic architecture. In an outcropping point bar deposit, we document intra-point bar erosion surfaces that truncate previously deposited point bar strata, and are onlapped by subsequent deposition; across which the direction of accretion can shift up to 50°. We will also consider meander-bend evolution and the impacts on sediment distribution, as well as evidence for abandonment processes.

The objective of this field trip are to examine meander-belt deposits in a well-exposed outcrop belt, consider the stratigraphic expression of morphodynamic processes, such as intra-point bar erosion and rotation, as well as meander-bend abandonment. Lastly, we will discuss the application to subsurface Athabasca Oil Sands reservoir characterization bitumen extraction techniques.

Closeup of facies exposed in the Willow Creek Valley, Alberta
Outcrop photo of typical facies and stratigraphic architecture of the point bar deposits of interest.

Geology of the Rocky Mountains in Banff and Yoho National Parks

Banff and Yoho National Parks, Alberta and British Columbia

Dale Leckie

University of Calgary

Brent MacDonald

BGC Engineering Inc.

Dates: July 19Capacity: 40

Regular - $150Student - $100


The field trip will leave the University of Calgary campus at 8:00 AM returning in the early evening. Field trip fee includes transportation and lunch.


This field trip will visit the geological highlights along the Trans-Canada Highway from east of Calgary to Banff and then on to Lake Louise and over the Great Divide to Yoho National Park in British Colombia, site of the Cambrian Burgess Shale. Characterized by exceptional natural beauty because of spectacular landforms that include rugged mountains, icefields and glaciers, lakes and half a billion year old fossils of the Burgess Shale, most of the area covered on this field trip is located within the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. There will be discussions of the glacial history of the mountains, natural river diversions and the braided Kicking Horse River. This is not a fluvial sedimentology field trip but a more general geology trip of the Rocky Mountains.

Classic gravel-bed braiding section of the Kicking Horse River near Field, British Columbia
Downstream view along the braiding Kicking Horse River near Field, British Columbia in Yoho National Park

Campanian fluvial systems of Dinosaur Provincial Park: sedimentology, sequence stratigraphic implications and dinosaur palaeobiology

Patricia, Alberta

Jon Noad

Sedimental Services

Dates: July 19Capacity: 20

Regular - $150Student - $100


The field trip will leave the University of Calgary campus at 7:30 AM arriving at the park around 10:00 AM. The trip will end around 4:00 PM and drive to the nearby town of Patricia for a traditional Prairie meal at the famous Patricia Hotel. Field trip fee includes transportation, lunch and entry to the Park and Field Museum. Dinner and drinks at the Patricia Hotel are not included in the cost.

Meandering river deposits exposed to weathering in Dinosaur Provincial Park
Weathered meandering river deposits exposed in Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta


The succession at Dinosaur Provincial Park provides a window into Cretaceous fluvial systems, while allowing the chance to examine some of the richest dinosaur-bearing sediments in the world.

In the park we will drive into the core areaa of the Preserve, and then walk the preserve road, stopping to visit five world class outcrops within the Park, showcasing the sedimentology and associated dinosaur fossils.

The main objectives of the field trip are as follows:

  • To examine the sedimentology of the braided and meandering channel fluvial deposits, and the associated overbank sediments
  • To consider the impacts of changing accommodation space (and change in base level) upon channel character and stacking patterns
  • To look at cementation patterns in the channel sand bodies, and the consequent impact on reservoir quality and performance
  • To examine and discuss the potential preservation of dinosaurs in this Cretaceous world
Badlands exposed along the Red Deer River in Alberta reveal Late Cretaceous sediments
Overview of the Red Deer River badlands around Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Core Display Workshop : Mesozoic Fluvial Systems of the Alberta Foreland Basin

Core Research Centre - Calgary, Alberta

Janok Bhattacharya

McMaster University

Mike Blum

University of Kansas

Steve Hubbard

University of Calgary

Other presenters could be added before the conference

Dates: July 19Capacity: Unlimited

Regular - $25Student - $0


The field trip will begin at 10:00 AM at the Core Research Centre which is an approximately 15 minute walk from the conference accommodations. The trip will end at 4:00 PM.


The Alberta Energy Regulator stores tens of thousands of cores from the Alberta foreland basin, which are readily available for research. A number of experts will feature highlights of fluvial strata in the Alberta Basin, including Janok Bhattacharya (McMaster University), Mike Blum (University of Kansas), and Stephen Hubbard (University of Calgary).

3-D seismic of a meanderbelt deposit of the McMurray Formation
3-D seismic image of a meanderbelt deposit in the Lower Cretaceous McMurray Formation, Athabasca Oil Sands. Cores from this area will be amongst those examined (subsurface data acquired by Nexen and published by Hubbard et al., 2011, AAPG Bulletin).

A series of cores and their paleogeographic context will be featured amongst 4-8 distinct presentations. A breadth of topics will be emphasized including the stratigraphic expressions of continental-scale fluvial meanderbelts, as well immense distributive fluvial systems that developed adjacent to the Cordilleran orogenic front. The basin has been studied for decades, and widely known units that will be discussed include the Dunvegan, Grand Rapids and McMurray formations.

Thousands of geoscientists have attended core conferences at the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) core laboratory in association with national and international meetings. The laboratory is an outstanding facility located adjacent to the University of Calgary. Due to the generosity of the AER, this is the most affordable option of all excursions at ICFS 2017!!

Sandstone thickness of the Monteith Formation in Alberta and British Columbia
Jurassic-Cretaceous distributive fluvial system strata, Monteith Formation, Alberta and British Columbia, Canada (map from Kukulski et al., 2013, JSR).

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology

Drumheller, Alberta

Unfortunately this trip has been cancelled.