Distribution of Salt in Southwestern Ontario and its Connection to the Late Silurian Paleoenvironment


  • Eric Pettipiece McMaster University


During the late Silurian period modern-day southwestern Ontario was located at tropical latitudes and covered by large epeiric seas. Evidence for these ancient bodies of water comes mostly from the stratigraphy of the regions previously overlain by the water. One such stratigraphic group that helps determine the extent and depth of these ancient seas is the Salina group, composed of carbonates and evaporites. Through an analysis of subsurface lithology data obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines a collection of maps has been produced in GIS that highlight the distribution and thickness of the salt layers of the Salina group in southwestern Ontario. These maps visualize the extent of the epeiric sea in the Michigan basin during different times of sea level drawdown and can inform discussions on the paleoenvironment of the late Silurian in this geographic region. Additionally, the Salina group has become an important economic resource in Ontario, and the maps presented here highlight potential areas for future inland mining.