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Geologic units in Meagher county, Montana

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Livingston formation (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary Cretaceous) at surface, covers 19 % of this area

Livingston formation: water-laid volcanic material, mainly andesitic in composition; includes agglomerate, conglomerate, sandstone, and shale. The name here is used only for the rocks orginally named, mainly near and north of Livingston. These rocks include age equivalents of various Cretaceous and Paleocene units.

Tertiary sedimentary rocks, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary) at surface, covers 19 % of this area

Tertiary sedimentary rocks, undifferentiated: clastic deposits in western Montana, mostly in valleys, and in most places not divided into formations; mostly poorly consolidated gravel, sand, silt, and clay; includes some tuffaceous material and locally lenses of lignite and bentonite; a little hot spring tufa; and in areas not yet mapped in detail, lava may be included. These rocks were in part laid down in lakes but a large part was formed in streams and alluvial fans. These rocks are Tertiary in age and as now mapped may even include some beds of Cretaceous age. Some late Tertiary terrace deposits may be included.

Spokane shale (Proterozoic | Mesoproterozoic) at surface, covers 9 % of this area

Spokane shale: red or red-purple shale with numerous green beds locally and some quartzite; grades into the Empire above and the Greyson below and in some areas as mapped probably includes all or part of Empire and Greyson shales. The name has been used over a wide area in Montana, but in a strict sense can be used safely only in the general vicinity of Helena.

Colorado shale (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Early Cretaceous-Middle(?) Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 8 % 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.

Alluvium (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Quaternary) at surface, covers 7 % 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.

Tertiary volcanic rocks (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Tertiary volcanic rocks: Flows and associated pyroclastic deposits, with subordinate amounts of intercalated sedimentary beds and lignite. The volcanic material is mostly latite, quartz latite, and andesite but includes some rhyolite and basalt. The distinction between Tertiary and pre-Tertiary volcanic rocks was not made in some of the reports used in the complilation. Hence in the less well-known areas some pre-Tertiary volcanic rocks may be included.

Tertiary coarse-grained intrusive rocks (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Tertiary coarse-grained rocks: Some of these rocks have the composition of quartz diorite, monzonite, and similar rocks but most are alkalic syenite, leucite-rich rocks, and other alkalic varieties. Some of the rocks that are associated areally with the Cretaceous volcanic rocks may be Cretaceous in age. Includes the larger intrusive masses in the eastern part of western Montana and the western part of eastern Montana, most of which have domed upper surfaces. Many of these masses have been regarded as laccoliths, but generally without adequate proof. The Boulder batholith and related stocks are mapped separately.

Jurassic, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Jurassic) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

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

Pre-Belt gneiss, schist, and related rocks (Archean Proterozoic(?) preCambrian-Proterozoic(?) preCambrian(?) Phanerozoic | Paleozoic(?) Mesozoic(?) Cenozoic | Cambrian(?) Ordovician(?) Silurian(?) Devonian(?) Carboniferous(?) Permian(?) Triassic(?) Jurassic(?) Cretaceous(?) Tertiary) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Pre-Belt gneiss, schist, and related rocks: comprises all the rocks older than the Belt series except the Stillwater complex. These include the Cherry Creek group, consisting of interlaminated gneiss, schist, marble, and quartzite; and the Pony series of Tansley and others, consisting of gneiss and schist of both sedimentary and igneous origin. Recent work has resulted in the distinction of small masses of granitic and injected rocks now regarded as resulting from intrusion in Cretaceous or Tertiary time. Other such masses may have escaped recognition.

Mississippian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Carboniferous Mississippian) at surface, covers 3 % 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.

Devonian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Devonian) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Devonian, undifferentiated: comprises Three Forks formation consisting of carbonaceous and calcareous shale with some sandstone and limestone, Jefferson limestone, and unnamed units of Devonian age.

Pennsylvanian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Carboniferous Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers 3 % 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.

Cambrian, undifferentiated (Phanerozoic | Paleozoic | Cambrian) at surface, covers 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.

Piegan group (Proterozoic | Mesoproterozoic) at surface, covers 2 % 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.

Judith River formation (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 2 % 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

Eagle sandstone (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 2 % 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

Claggett formation (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 2 % 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

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.

Boulder batholith and broadly related stocks (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Tertiary Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.7 % of this area

Boulder batholith and broadly related stocks: mainly quartz monzonite, but includes diorite, aplite, and other rocks. The distinctions between masses relative to the Boulder batholith and those mapped as of other ages are locally arbitrary and tentative.

Glacial drift (Phanerozoic | Cenozoic | Quaternary) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Glacial drift: morainal and outwash plain deposits of mountain glaciers; mainly ill-sorted and poorly rounded boulders, cobbles, pebbles, and sand; may include alluvium in places

Lithology: glacial drift; alluvium

Bearpaw shale (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic | Cretaceous-Late) at surface, covers 0.6 % 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

Neihart quartzite (Proterozoic | Mesoproterozoic) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Neihart quartzite: reddish coarse-grained sandstone or quartzite with interbedded dark-green sandstone and shale; rocks near Philipsburg that were formerly doubtfully correlated with the Neihart are here mapped with the Prichard. Near Neihart the formation rests on gneiss of pre-Belt age. Age relations between the Neihart and the Prichard are unknown.

Lithology: quartzite; argillite

Empire shale (Proterozoic | Mesoproterozoic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Empire shale: green dense, laminated shale with some red beds. Distinguished only in general vicinity of Helena.

Cretaceous volcanic rocks (Phanerozoic | Mesozoic Cenozoic | Cretaceous-Late Tertiary) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Cretaceous volcanic rocks: flows and pyroclastic rocks, mainly of intermediate composition with subordinate amounts of interbedded sedimentary rocks. Some of the rocks have been regarded as belonging to the Livingston formation, but this usage is not adopted here. Where data are inadequate for separation, some Tertiary volcanic rocks may be mapped with the Cretaceous volcanic rocks.