Geological Survey Activity Tracker

Southwest Manitoba


Silica sands of the Winnipeg Formation


Digital elevation map showing distribution of the Winnipeg Formation in pink; NTS 250K sheets are labelled. Areas of interest are highlighted in red. Inlay is microscope image of silica sand of the WInnipeg Formation. Click image to enlarge.Project Information

Principal investigator:
Kathryn Lapenskie, Michelle Nicolas, James Bamburak

Partnered with:
Claim Post Resources Inc., Victory Silica Ltd.

NTS 62H, 62I, 62P, 63K, 63J


Project Description

Main objectives:

The overall objective of this project is to assess the economic potential of the silica sands of the Winnipeg Formation, specifically as its usefulness as a proppant for the fracking industry, through analyses and lithostratigraphy.


  • Provide detailed geological descriptions of the Winnipeg Formation through examinations of outcrop and drillcore.
  • Correlate lithofacies changes throughout the subcrop-outcrop belt of the Winnipeg Formation within the Williston Basin.
  • Assess the variation in quality of the silica sands of the various lithofacies through qualitative and quantitative analyses, including geochemical and proppant testing.
  • Detailed isopachs and structure contour maps of economically significant areas will be generated for the Winnipeg Formation.



This project will provide a valuable update to the economic potential of the high purity silica sands of the Winnipeg Formation. It will be the first report the Manitoba Geological Survey produces that specifically examines the potential of this formation as a frac sand.


Plans for fiscal year 2017-2018:

  • Examine drillcore that transects the Winnipeg Formation.
  • Perform sieve analysis and qualitatively assess the properties of the silica sand (i.e. roundness, grain shape, etc.).
  • Perform lithogeochemical analyses of representative samples.


Completed outputs:


Lapenskie, K. 2016: Preliminary investigations into the high-purity silica sand of the Winnipeg Formation, southern Manitoba; in Report of Activities 2016, Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade, Manitoba Geological Survey, p. 176–180.

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