Geologic units in Pondera county, Montana

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Kevin Member of Marias River Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 41 % of this area

Dark gray shale with calcareous concretions and numerous bentonite beds. Upper part calcareous. MacGowan Concretionary Bed (middle part of member): grayish brown concretionary dolostone and limestone with phosphatic pellets, and gray to black chert pebbles. Marine. Thickness as much as 350 m (1,148 ft).

Two Medicine Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 22 % of this area

Gray and greenish gray volcanic sandstone, siltstone, and mudstone, andesite–pebble conglomerate, and thin beds of very light gray and pink ash-fall tuff. Fluvial and alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 660 m (2,165 ft).

Virgelle and Telegraph Creek Formations (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 11 % of this area

Virgelle Formation (Kvi): Light gray, fine- to coarse-grained, locally titaniferous sandstone. Marine shoreface and foreshore. Thickness as much as 90 m (295ft). Telegraph Creek Formation (Ktc): Thin interbeds of yellowish brown sandstone or siltstone and gray shale. Marine shoreface and offshore. Thickness as much as 200 m (656 ft).

Glacial deposit (Quaternary) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

Dominantly till, outwash, and local glacial lake deposits. Shown only in western and south-central Montana. Laurentide glacial deposits are indicated with a map pattern.

Gravel (Quaternary and Tertiary) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Variable deposits that range from pebble to boulder size and include sand, silt, and clay. Dominantly alluvial terrace, abandoned channel and floodplain, remnant alluvial fan, and local glacial outwash.

Madison Group: Mission Canyon and Lodgepole Formations; or Castle Reef and Allan Mountain Formations (Mississippian) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Mission Canyon Formation (Mmc): Gray, massive limestone with chert beds and nodules, and solution breccia zones. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 520 m (1,706 ft). Lodgepole Formation (Ml): Woodhurst Member (upper part of formation): light gray, well-bedded limestone, typically with much dark chert, interbedded with thinner calcareous mudstone beds. Paine Member (middle part of formation):dark gray, thin-bedded, silty or fossiliferous limestone. Cottonwood Canyon Member (lower part of formation): black shale with basal conglomeratic lag deposit. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 305 m (1000 ft). In Northwest Montana - Castle Reef Formation: Medium to light gray, thick-bedded limestone or dolomite. Sun River Member (upper part of formation): light gray dolomite with thick fossiliferous lenses. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 300 m (984 ft). Allan Mountain Formation: Dark gray, thinly bedded limestone with thin mudstone and shale partings, and nodular chert. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 200 m (656 ft).

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

Gravel, sand, silt, and clay deposits of stream and river channels, and floodplains.

Kootenai Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Kootenai Formation (Kk, Kku, Kkm, Kkl): Red, maroon, and olive gray mudstone, tan or gray siltstone, calcareous concretions, limestone beds, and several prominent sandstone beds that include the Greybull Member (top of the formation in south-central Montana) and the Sunburst Member (middle to lower part of the formation in northwest-central Montana), both dominantly quartzose sandstone. Basal Cutbank or Pryor Conglomerate. Alluvial plain with local marine influence in the north. Thickness as much as 335 m (1,099 ft).

Three Forks through Maywood Formation: Three Forks, Jefferson, and Maywood Formations or Palliser and Alexo Formations, and Fairholme Group in northwestern Montana near Canadian border (Mississippian and Devonian) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Three Forks Formation (MDt): Sappington Member (upper part of formation):yellowish orange and yellowish gray siltstone. Trident Member (middle part of formation): greenish gray and light olive gray, fossiliferous, calcareous shale that contains interbeds and nodules of fossiliferous, argillaceous limestone. Logan Gulch Member (lower part of formation): yellowish gray and grayish red, argillaceous limestone breccia and shale breccia that may include dolomitic siltstone. Marine to restricted marine with evaporite basins. Thickness as much as 185 m (607 ft). Jefferson Formation (Dj): Birdbear Member (upper part of formation): light to medium gray, sucrosic dolomite. Lower part of formation: grayish black, commonly petroliferous dolomite or limestone that may be interbedded with light gray quartzite. Marine. Thickness as much as 520 m (1,706 ft). Maywood Formation: Thin-bedded dolomitic limestone and dolomite interbedded with calcareous shale. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 120 m (394 ft). In northwestern Montana near Canadian border - Palliser Formation: Gray and greenish gray limestone and dolomitic limestone with locally abundant black chert. Pinkish gray, very thinly laminated, calcareous mudstone at base. Marine. Thickness as much as 300 m (984 ft). Alexo Formation: Pale yellowish orange, medium grained, calcareous siltstone with calcareous mudstone at the base. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 595 m (1,952 ft). Fairholme Group: Brownish black, bioturbated, calcareous mudstone, gray algal limestone and dolomite, and pale yellowish orange, medium-grained, calcareous sandstone at the base. Thickness as much as 550 m(1,805 ft).

Mount Pablo Formation through Ellis Group: Mount Pablo, Morrison, Swift, Rierdon, and Sawtooth Formations (Cretaceous and Jurassic) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Mount Pablo Formation: Reddish gray and grayish green mudstone and dark gray shale interbedded with gray limestone and sandstone. Gray basal conglomerate or conglomeratic sandstone. Alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 30 m (98 ft). Morrison Formation (Jm): Green, gray, or red mudstone and marlstone with subordinate limestone and sandstone beds. Upper part Neocomian age in central Montana and contains carbonaceous black shale and coal. Fluvial, paludal, and lacustrine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft). Ellis Group (Je) - Swift Formation (Jsw): Orangish brown, glauconitic, flaggy-bedded, commonly fossiliferous, fine-grained sandstone or sandy coquina with subordinate dark gray shale interbeds; chert pebbles common. In west-central and northwestern Montana, a dark gray, noncalcareous, micaceous shale forms the lower part of the formation, commonly with a basal chert-pebble conglomerate or conglomeratic sandstone as much as 3 m (10 ft) thick. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 70 m (230 ft). Rierdon Formation (Jr): Gray, locally fossiliferous limestone that may contain floating grains of quartz sand, interbedded with greenish gray limy shale. Lagoonal and marine shelf. Thickness as much as 105 m (344 ft). Sawtooth Formation: Western Montana: dark gray, platy to shaly, dense limestone with local basal conglomerate. Central Montana: upper calcareous siltstone, middle dark gray shale with thin limestone interbeds, and lower fine-grained sandstone. Three local members Bowes, Firemoon, and Tampico, in descending order. Bowes Member: dark gray to medium gray, calcareous mudstone, limestone, and quartzose sandstone. Firemoon Member: dark to medium gray, limestone and calcareous mudstone. Tampico Member: very light gray, well-sorted quartz sandstone and siltstone, and chert-pebble conglomerate. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 205 m (673 ft).

Devils Glen through Flathead Formation: Devils Glen, Switchback, Steamboat, Pentagon, Pagoda, Dearborn, Damnation or Elko, Gordon, and Flathead Formations (Cambrian) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Devils Glen Formation: Light gray dolomite with subordinate algal limestone and shale. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 200 m (656ft). Switchback Formation: Green and gray, locally calcareous, fissile shale or mudstone, interbedded with thin beds of gray, flaggy limestone or dolomite. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 95 m (312 ft). Steamboat Formation: Tan, thick-bedded, hard limestone with thin layers of green fissile shale and nodular shaly limestone. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as much as 90 m (295 ft). Pentagon Formation: Black fissile shale and brownish gray, platy limestone beds. Laterally replaced by Pagoda Formation. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 88 m (289 ft). Pagoda Formation: Green shale interbedded with maroon calcareous mudstone and gray limestone, and lower fissile black shale and thin limestone-pebble conglomerate. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 120 m (394 ft). Dearborn Formation: Upper brownish gray to gray limestone and lower interbedded green shale, shale-pebble conglomerate, and calcareous sandstone. Shallow marine shelf. Thickness as much as 115 m (377 ft). Damnation Formation: Brownish gray or bluish gray fossiliferous, locally oolitic limestone and subordinate dark gray shale. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 70 m (230 ft). Elko Formation: Light brownish gray dolomite and subordinate mudstone. Thickness as much as 220 m (722 ft). Gordon Formation: Upper part of formation: dark green to dark brown, fissile shale with thin beds of sandstone and gray, glauconitic limestone. Lower part of formation: ferruginous sandstone, sandy shale, and grayish green shale. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 90 m (295 ft). Flathead Formation (CAf): Pinkish gray to light gray sandstone or quartzite. Locally very glauconitic, pebbly, arkosic, or iron-stained. Marine shoreface. Thickness as much as 100 m (328 ft).

Marias River Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.8 % of this area

Marias River Formation (Kmr) - Kevin Member (Kmk): Dark gray shale with calcareous concretions and numerous bentonite beds. Upper part calcareous. MacGowan Concretionary Bed (middle part of member): grayish brown concretionary dolostone and limestone with phosphatic pellets, and gray to black chert pebbles. Marine. Thickness as much as 350 m (1,148 ft). Ferdig Member (Kmf): Gray and dark gray shale with thin siltstone or sandstone beds at the top. Marine. Thickness as much as 125m (410 ft). Cone Member (Kmc): Calcareous, dark gray shale and thin limestone beds and lenses. Widespread bentonite bed and septarian concretions near base. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 20 m (66 ft). Floweree Member (Kmfl): Dark gray, noncalcareous shale with interbeds of siltstone. Calcareous concretions and scattered granules of dark gray chert. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 30 m (98 ft).

Horsethief Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.8 % of this area

Gray to light brown, medium- to coarse-grained, locally titaniferous sandstone with argillaceous sandstone and mudstone near base. Brackish to littoral marine. Thickness as much as 60 m (197 ft).

Bearpaw Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Dark gray shale with several zones of calcareous concretions, a basal zone of ferruginous concretions, and numerous thin bentonite beds. Marine. Thickness as much as 300 m (984 ft).

Blackleaf Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Bootlegger Member (Kbb): Dark gray shale interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, and bentonite beds. Marine. Thickness as much as 100 m (328 ft). Vaughn Member (Kbv): Black carbonaceous shale, light gray, greenish to pinkish bentonitic to tuffaceous siltstone and porcellanite, tuffaceous, arkosic sandstone, thin coal; conglomerate beds in western Montana. Fluvial and coastal delta plain. Thickness as much as 200 m (656 ft). Taft Hill Member (Kbt): Black shale, gray bentonitic siltstone, and glauconitic sandstone. Marine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft). Flood Member (Kblf): Upper part: medium gray, cliff-forming fine- to medium-grained chert-rich, quartzose sandstone, middle part medium to dark gray shale or gray siltstone; lower part: yellowish brown, gray, or olive gray fine-grained sandstone and siltstone with carbonaceous laminae and thin films of coal and dark gray silty, bentonitic shale. Sandstone beds thin eastward. Quartzose basal sandstone in southwestern Montana. Nearshore marine, tidal flat, and lagoon. Thickness as much as 230 m (755 ft).

Gravel (Quaternary) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area

Variable deposits that range from pebble to boulder size and include sand, silt, and clay. Dominantly alluvial terrace, abandoned channel and floodplain, remnant alluvial fan, and local glacial outwash.

St. Mary River Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Gray calcareous shale and siltstone with lenticular argillaceous sandstone and thin interbeds of black, nodular limestone. Lagoonal and fluvial. Thickness as much as 300 m (948 ft).

Blackleaf Formation through Ellis Group: Blackleaf, Kootenai, Mount Pablo, Morrison, Swift, Rierdon, and Sawtooth Formations (Cretaceous and Jurassic) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Blackleaf Formation (Kbl) - Bootlegger Member (Kbb): Dark gray shale interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, and bentonite beds. Marine. Thickness as much as 100 m (328 ft). Vaughn Member (Kbv): Black carbonaceous shale, light gray, greenish to pinkish bentonitic to tuffaceous siltstone and porcellanite, tuffaceous, arkosic sandstone, thin coal; conglomerate beds in western Montana. Fluvial and coastal delta plain. Thickness as much as 200 m (656 ft). Taft Hill Member (Kbt): Black shale, gray bentonitic siltstone, and glauconitic sandstone. Marine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft). Flood Member (Kblf): Upper part: medium gray, cliff-forming fine- to medium-grained chert-rich, quartzose sandstone, middle part medium to dark gray shale or gray siltstone; lower part: yellowish brown, gray, or olive gray fine-grained sandstone and siltstone with carbonaceous laminae and thin films of coal and dark gray silty, bentonitic shale. Sandstone beds thin eastward. Quartzose basal sandstone in southwestern Montana. Nearshore marine, tidal flat, and lagoon. Thickness as much as 230 m (755 ft). Kootenai Formation (Kk, Kku, Kkm, Kkl): Red, maroon, and olive gray mudstone, tan or gray siltstone, calcareous concretions, limestone beds, and several prominent sandstone beds that include the Greybull Member (top of the formation in south-central Montana) and the Sunburst Member (middle to lower part of the formation in northwest-central Montana), both dominantly quartzose sandstone. Basal Cutbank or Pryor Conglomerate. Alluvial plain with local marine influence in the north. Thickness as much as 335 m (1,099 ft). Mount Pablo Formation: Reddish gray and grayish green mudstone and dark gray shale interbedded with gray limestone and sandstone. Gray basal conglomerate or conglomeratic sandstone. Alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 30 m (98 ft). Morrison Formation (Jm): Green, gray, or red mudstone and marlstone with subordinate limestone and sandstone beds. Upper part Neocomian age in central Montana and contains carbonaceous black shale and coal. Fluvial, paludal, and lacustrine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft). Ellis Group (Je) - Swift Formation (Jsw): Orangish brown, glauconitic, flaggy-bedded, commonly fossiliferous, fine-grained sandstone or sandy coquina with subordinate dark gray shale interbeds; chert pebbles common. In west-central and northwestern Montana, a dark gray, noncalcareous, micaceous shale forms the lower part of the formation, commonly with a basal chert-pebble conglomerate or conglomeratic sandstone as much as 3 m (10 ft) thick. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 70 m (230 ft). Rierdon Formation (Jr): Gray, locally fossiliferous limestone that may contain floating grains of quartz sand, interbedded with greenish gray limy shale. Lagoonal and marine shelf. Thickness as much as 105 m (344 ft). Sawtooth Formation: Western Montana: dark gray, platy to shaly, dense limestone with local basal conglomerate. Central Montana: upper calcareous siltstone, middle dark gray shale with thin limestone interbeds, and lower fine-grained sandstone. Three local members Bowes, Firemoon, and Tampico, in descending order. Bowes Member: dark gray to medium gray, calcareous mudstone, limestone, and quartzose sandstone. Firemoon Member: dark to medium gray, limestone and calcareous mudstone. Tampico Member: very light gray, well-sorted quartz sandstone and siltstone, and chert-pebble conglomerate. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 205 m (673 ft).