Geologic units in Sweet Grass county, Montana

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Hell Creek Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 17 % of this area

Light gray, bentonitic claystone that alternates with gray to brown sandstone interbedded with carbonaceous shale. Laterally equivalent to Lance Formation. Fluvial and flood plain. Thickness as much as 335 m (1,100 ft).

Tullock Member of Fort Union Formation (Tertiary) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

Yellow sandstone interbedded with subordinate grayish brown and black shale and thin beds of coal. Alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft).

Tongue River Member of Fort Union Formation (Tertiary) at surface, covers 13 % of this area

Yellowish orange sandstone, sandy and silty carbonaceous shale, and coal. Alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 300 m (984 ft).

Sliderock Mountain volcanics (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 11 % of this area

Gray, pale purplish gray, and pale greenish gray andesite lahar breccia with interbeds of andesitic conglomerate and coarse-grained sandstone. Subordinate flows of porphyritic andesite and basaltic andesite containing plagioclase, hornblende, and pyroxene phenocrysts.

Lebo Member of Fort Union Formation (Tertiary) at surface, covers 8 % of this area

Dark gray carbonaceous shale, bentonitic claystone, sandstone, and coal. Alluvial plain. Thickness as much as 185 m (607 ft).

Fort Union Formation (Tertiary and Cretaceous) at surface, covers 8 % of this area

Undivided Fort Union Formation - Sentinel Butte (Tfsb), Tongue River (Tftr), Linley (Tflc), Ludlow (Tfld), Lebo (Tfle), Ekalaka (Tfe), and Tullock (Tft) members.

Quartzofeldspathic gneiss (Archean) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Quartzofeldspathic gneiss

Gravel (Quaternary and Tertiary) at surface, covers 5 % 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.

Stillwater complex (Archean) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Layered ultramafic and mafic rocks from peridotite and pyroxenite at the base (ultramafic series) to gabbro and anorthosite in the upper part (banded series). Maximum exposed thickness in the Beartooth Mountains is about 6,700 m (22,000 ft).

Gravel (Quaternary) at surface, covers 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.

Schist (Archean) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Schist

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

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

Judith River through Eagle Formation: Judith River, Claggett, and Eagle Formations (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Judith River Formation (Kjr): Light brown to light gray, fine- to coarse-grained sandstone with interbeds of gray to black carbonaceous shale, silty shale, and thin coal. Local Parkman Sandstone Member (lower part of formation):yellowish gray to brownish gray and olive green, fine- to medium-grained, cross-bedded sandstone interbedded with yellowish gray, silty shale. Estuarine, brackish, and nearshore marine. Thickness as much as 305 m (1000 ft). Claggett Formation (Kcl): Dark gray to gray shale that weathers brown, with thin, gray sandstone laminae and beds in upper or middle part and calcareous concretions in lower part. Marine. Thickness as much as 170 m (558 ft). Eagle Formation (Ke): Gray or grayish brown, thick-bedded sandstone, sandy shale, and thin interbedded coal. Chert-pebble lag deposit common at top of formation. Virgelle Member (lower part of formation in parts of central Montana): very light gray, gray, or brown sandstone that coarsens upward. Root zone and thin carbonaceous beds at top of member. Delta, coastal plain, tidal flat, and marine shoreface and foreshore. Thickness as much as 150 m (492 ft).

Diorite (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Diorite

Madison Group: Mission Canyon and Lodgepole Formations; or Castle Reef and Allan Mountain Formations (Mississippian) at surface, covers 1 % 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).

Pilgrim through Flathead Formation: Pilgrim, Park, Meagher, Wolsey, and Flathead Formations (Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.8 % of this area

Pilgrim Formation: Gray, commonly mottled limestone that may contain intraformational limestone conglomerate. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft). Park Formation: Grayish green, fissile, micaceous shale with a few thin beds of calcareous sandstone and thin, gray limestone. Local arkose beds. Offshore marine. Thickness as much as 310 m (1,017 ft). Meagher Formation: Gray to bluish gray limestone and dolomitic limestone, locally mottled and with intraformational conglomerate beds. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 300 m (984 ft). Wolsey Formation (CAw): Dark green and purplish gray fissile, micaceous shale, thin glauconitic limestone beds and thin, fine-grained sandstone beds. Shallow marine. Thickness as much as 145 m (476 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).

Bearpaw Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.7 % 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).

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

Gray to dark gray shale with some sandstone beds. Eldridge Creek Member: greenish gray, glauconitic, fine-grained sandstone. Marine. Thickness as much as 465 m (1,526 ft).

Phosphoria through Amsden Formation: Phosphoria, Quadrant, and Amsden Formations (Permian through Mississippian) at surface, covers 0.5 % of this area

Phosphoria Formation (Pp): Gray and tan dolomite, cherty limestone, bedded chert, siltstone, sandstone, and gray to black phosphatic and dolomitic shale. Marine shelf and offshore marine. Thickness as much as 255 m (837 ft). Quadrant Formation (PAq): Very light gray, yellowish or pinkish, well-sorted sandstone or quartzite, locally interbedded with subordinate limestone beds. Marine. Generally, thickness as much as 140 m (460 ft), but as much as 800 m (2,625 ft) in southwestern-most Montana. Amsden Formation (PAMa): Red shale, light gray limestone, and cherty and sandy limestone. Coastal plain or marine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft).

Frontier Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.4 % of this area

Western Montana: gray, fine- to medium-grained, locally conglomeratic sandstone with interbeds of dark gray carbonaceous shale. Local conglomerate, porcellanite, and coal. Central Montana: dark gray, carbonaceous shale interbedded with siltstone and sandstone, chert-pebble conglomerate, and coal. Big Elk Sandstone Member: light gray, chert-rich sandstone commonly stained dark red, interbedded with thin, dark gray to black, clayey shale. Boulder River Sandstone Member: gray to greenish gray, very fine-grained to conglomeratic, glauconitic sandstone. Brackish to nonmarine. Thickness exceeds 2,135 m (7,005 ft) in Lima Peaks region, and exceeds 915m in the Greenhorn, Snowcrest, Gravelly, and Pioneer Mountains of southwestern Montana. Elsewhere thickness as much as 215 m (705 ft).

Three Forks through Bighorn Formation: Three Forks, Jefferson, and Bighorn Formations (Mississippian through Ordovician) at surface, covers 0.4 % 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). Bighorn Formation (Ob): Yellowish gray to very pale orange crystalline dolomite with local basal sandstone. Marine shelf. Thickness as much as 120 m (394 ft).

Mowry through Fall River Formation: Mowry, Thermopolis, and Fall River Formations (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.4 % of this area

Mowry Formation (Km): Light gray to silvery gray, platy to blocky, siliceous shale and subordinate thin-bedded, gray siltstone or very fine-grained sandstone laminae or beds. Fish scales common in central Montana. Ledge-forming, chert-bearing, fine- to medium-grained sandstone at top. throughout west-central Montana. Marine. Thickness 240 m (787 ft). Thermopolis Formation (Kt): Dark gray to black shale with subordinate siltstone beds. Middle part of formation contains one or more thin sandstone beds with chert pebble horizons where Muddy Sandstone is not present. Offshore marine. Thickness as much as 305 m (1,000 ft). Fall River Formation (Kfr): Gray and brown, fine- to medium-grained, quartzose sandstone with thin interbeds of dark gray shale. Nearshore marine. Thickness as much as 70 m (1,214 ft).

Morrison Formation and Ellis Group (Jurassic) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area

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). Piper Formation (Jp): Upper part: red mudstone and gypsum; middle part: gray shale, limestone, and dolomite; lower part: red mudstone and gypsum. Marine and restricted coastal evaporite basins. Thickness as much as 75 m (246 ft).

Kootenai Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.3 % 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).

Telegraph Creek Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.3 % of this area

Thin interbeds of yellowish brown sandstone or siltstone and gray shale. Marine shoreface and offshore. Thickness as much as 200 m (656 ft).

Diorite and gabbro (Tertiary) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Diorite and gabbro

Monzodiorite (Tertiary) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Monzodiorite

Intrusive rock (Tertiary) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Intrusive rock

Absaroka Volcanics Supergroup (Tertiary) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Calc-alkalic andesite and dacite extrusive rock with lesser amounts of potassic, alkalic, and mafic lava; minor amounts of rhyodacitic ash-flow tuff associated with mafic lava; and dark gray, very fine-grained basalt or andesite intrusive breccia.

Gravel (Tertiary) at surface, covers 0.1 % 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.

Niobrara through Belle Fourche Formation: Niobrara, Carlile, Greenhorn, and Belle Fourche Formations (Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Niobrara Formation (Kn): Gray to dark gray shale with numerous thin bentonite beds. Chalky aggregates of coccoliths and rhabdoliths in upper part. MacGowan Concretionary Bed (middle part of formation): grayish brown concretionary dolostone and limestone with phosphatic pellets and gray to black chert pebbles. Marine. Lower part noncalcareous. Thickness as much as 9–23 m (30–75 ft). Carlile Formation (Kca): Dark to light gray, noncalcareous, partly silty or sandy shale with upper zone of white-weathering, calcareous concretions, middle zone of sandy, orange-weathering, calcareous concretions, and basal zone of ferruginous concretions. Marine. Thickness as much as 195 m (640 ft). Greenhorn Formation (Kgr): Gray to light gray calcareous shale and shaly marl with thin beds of limestone. Shale contains white to pink calcareous specks. Marine. Thickness as much as 100 m (30–75 ft). Belle Fourche Formation (Kbf): Gray to black shale with ironstone concretions and numerous bentonite beds. Mosby Sandstone Member (upper part of formation in north- and east-central Montana): brown sandstone locally with chert pebbles, interbedded with gray shale. Big Elk Sandstone Member (lower part of formation in southwest-central Montana): light gray, chert-rich sandstone commonly stained dark red, interbedded with thin, dark gray to black clayey shale. Marine shelf. Thickness as much as 260 m (853 ft).

Gneiss and amphibolite (Archean) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Gneiss and amphibolite

Morrison through Chugwater Formation: Morrison, Swift, Rierdon, Piper, and Chugwater Formations (Jurassic and Triassic) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

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). 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). Piper Formation (Jp): Upper part: red mudstone and gypsum; middle part: gray shale, limestone, and dolomite; lower part: red mudstone and gypsum. Marine and restricted coastal evaporite basins. Thickness as much as 75 m (246 ft). Chugwater Formation (TRc): Red siltstone, sandstone, and shale with subordinate gypsum and local limestone bed at top. Shallow restricted marine and nonmarine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft).

Latite (Tertiary) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Latite

Dacite (Tertiary) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Dacite

Fox Hills Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Yellowish orange to gray, fine- to medium-grained, non-calcareous sandstone in upper part, and interbedded sandstone, siltstone, and black shale with calcareous concretion zone in lower part. Marginal marine. Thickness 30–45 m (98–148 ft).

Granitic rock (Tertiary) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Granitic rock

Kootenai Formation through Ellis Group: Kootenai, Morrison, and Ellis Group (Cretaceous and Jurassic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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). 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). Piper Formation (Jp): Upper part: red mudstone and gypsum; middle part: gray shale, limestone, and dolomite; lower part: red mudstone and gypsum. Marine and restricted coastal evaporite basins. Thickness as much as 75 m (246 ft).

Ellis Group: Swift, Rierdon, and Piper or Sawtooth Formations; not all formations present at all locations (Jurassic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

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). Piper Formation (Jp): Upper part: red mudstone and gypsum; middle part: gray shale, limestone, and dolomite; lower part: red mudstone and gypsum. Marine and restricted coastal evaporite basins. Thickness as much as 75 m (246 ft).

Chugwater Formation (Triassic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Red siltstone, sandstone, and shale with subordinate gypsum and local limestone bed at top. Shallow restricted marine and nonmarine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft).

Thermopolis and Fall River Formations (Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Thermopolis Formation (Kt): Dark gray to black shale with subordinate siltstone beds. Middle part of formation contains one or more thin sandstone beds with chert pebble horizons where Muddy Sandstone is not present. Offshore marine. Thickness as much as 305 m (1,000 ft). Fall River Formation (Kfr): Gray and brown, fine- to medium-grained, quartzose sandstone with thin interbeds of dark gray shale. Nearshore marine. Thickness as much as 70 m (1,214 ft).

Judith River Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Light brown to light gray, fine- to coarse-grained sandstone with interbeds of gray to black carbonaceous shale, silty shale, and thin coal. Local Parkman Sandstone Member (lower part of formation):yellowish gray to brownish gray and olive green, fine- to medium-grained, cross-bedded sandstone interbedded with yellowish gray, silty shale. Estuarine, brackish, and nearshore marine. Thickness as much as 305 m (1000 ft).