Skip to main content

Geologic units in Golden Valley county, Montana

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Terrace deposits (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary Quaternary) at surface, covers 24 % of this area

Terrace deposits: gravel, sand, and silt of terrace remnants.

Lithology: alluvial terrace

Bearpaw shale (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 21 % of this area

Bearpaw shale: Dark-gray and brownish clay shale; thick units of nonfissile bentonitic shale; calcareous and ferruginous concretions throughout; contains some thick bentonite beds.

Lithology: shale; sandstone; bentonite

Hell Creek formation (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic Cenozoic | Cretaceous-Late Tertiary | Paleocene) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

Hell Creek formation: somber-gray sandstone and greenish shaly clay and mudstone containing dinosaur bones; a few thin lignite and subbituminous coal beds.

Lithology: sandstone; mudstone; coal

Judith River formation (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

Judith River formation: light-colored sandstone at top; lower third somber-gray siltstone and sandy shale; greenish-gray clay and some lignite beds; includes the Parkman sandstone member of south-central Montana.

Lithology: sandstone; mudstone; coal

Colorado shale (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Early Cretaceous-Middle(?) Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 10 % of this area

Colorado shale: dark-gray shale and siltstone with many concretions and sandy units. Includes equivalents of Fall River, Skull Creek, Newcastle, Mowry, Belle Fourche, Greenhorn, Carlile, and Niobrara formations, and locally Telegraph Creek formation. In the less well-known areas beds of other ages may have been included.

Mississippian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Carboniferous Mississippian) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Mississippian, undifferentiated: sandstone, shale, and limestone, in part dolomitic, with chert nodules, some quartzite; includes Big Snowy group in central part of State, Madison group in central and southwestern parts; and Hannan and Brazer limestones in the northwestern part; may include small amounts of Pennsylvanian rocks in areas where stratigraphic studies are incomplete.

Pennsylvanian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Carboniferous Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Pennsylvanian, undifferentiated: in western Montana is mainly the Quadrant quartzite but includes limestone and other rocks of Pennsylvanian age so far as present data permit. Farther east other formations of Pennsylvanian or possible Pennsylvanian age are included.

Claggett formation (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Claggett formation: chiefly dark-gray shale with iron-stained concretions; locally sandstone present; numerous bentonite beds near base.

Lithology: shale; sandstone; bentonite

Eagle sandstone (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Eagle sandstone: sandstone and shaly sandstone with lignite beds in basal part of upper unit (Keu). The Virgelle sandstone member (Kvi) at base is distinguished where possible. Near Yellowstone National Park rocks incorrectly called Laramide in early reports and now regarded as roughly equivalent to the Eagle sandstone are tentatively mapped as Eagle sandstone.

Lithology: sandstone; mudstone; coal

Alluvium (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Quaternary) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Alluvium: mainly valley fill consisting of silt, sand, and gravel; includes some terrace deposits and glacial drift of Pleistocene age in some areas; locally includes hot spring tufa. The older part of the alluvium, where present, is probably of Pliocene age.

Kootenai formation and associated rocks (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Jurassic Cretaceous-Early) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Kootenai formation and associated rocks: conglomerate, sandstone, shale, and mudstone; purplish and green beds are common; mainly the Kootenai; in southern Montana includes strata that have been mapped as Cloverly formation. Includes Second Cat Creek and Third Cat Creek sands of drillers in central part of State; Sunburst sand of drillers in north-central part; and Cut Bank sand of drillers in western part. As here mapped, may locally include thin units of Jurassic age.

Jurassic, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Jurassic) at surface, covers 0.8 % of this area

Jurassic, undifferentiated: calcareous shale and sandstone; includes the Morrison formation, the Ellis group, Sundance formation, and other rocks of Jurassic age.

Fort Union formation (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary Cretaceous-Late | Paleocene) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Fort Union formation: Clay shale, siltstone, and sandstone; local lenses of impure limestone, and numerous lignitic beds; contains Tertiary plant and animal fossils but no dinosaurs; base generally placed at the lowest of the succession of lignite beds within it; includes the Tongue River member, Lebo shale member, and Tullock member.

Cambrian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Cambrian, undifferentiated: comprises Deadwood formation, in south-central Montana, and Red Lion formation, Dry Creek shale, Hasmark formation, Pilgrim limestone, Silver Hill formation, Park shale, Meagher limestone, Wolsey shale, Flathead quartzite, and other units. In a few places quartzite of Cambrian age may be mapped with the Belt series or quartzite of Belt age with the Cambrian rocks.

Lennep sandstone (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Lennep sandstone: mainly dark-brown andesitic sandstone with intercalated shale; locally contains thin coal beds.

Lithology: sandstone; mudstone; coal

Piegan group (Proterozoic | Mesoproterozoic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Piegan group: most of the Piegan group is subdivided into formations that are in part equivalent to each other. Where correlations are relatively doubtful the group designation is retained. Carbonate-bearing rocks predominate in the group, but the proportions and character of the impurities in these rocks and the relations to non-carbonate-bearing rocks vary from place to place.