Geologic units in Big Horn county, Wyoming

Additional scientific data in this geographic area

Willwood Formation (Eocene) at surface, covers 18 % of this area

Variegated claystone, shale, and sandstone; some lenticular gold-bearing quartzite conglomerate.

Gravel, pediment, and fan deposits (Pleistocene-Holocene) at surface, covers 9 % of this area

Mostly locally derived clasts. Includes some glacial deposits along east flank of Wind River Range. Locally includes some Tertiary gravels.

Cody Shale (Late Cretaceous) at surface, covers 9 % of this area

(Northern Yellowstone area) - Gray to brown shale and siltstone. (North and South Wyoming) - Dull-gray shale, gray siltstone, and fine-grained gray sandstone.

Tensleep Sandstone and Amsden Formation (Upper Mississippian-Permian) at surface, covers 7 % of this area

Tensleep Sandstone (North Wyoming) - White to gray sandstone containing thin limestone and dolomite beds. Permian fossils have been found in the topmost beds of the Tensleep at some localities in Washakie Range, Owl Creek Mountains, and southern Bighorn Mountains. Amsden Formation (North Wyoming) - Red and green shale and dolomite; at base is brown sandstone. Tensleep Sandstone (Sorth Wyoming) - White to gray sandstone containing thin limestone and dolomite beds. Amsden Formation (South Wyoming) - Red and green shale and dolomite; at base is persistent red to brown sandstone.

Alluvium and Colluvium (Pleistocene-Holocene) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

Clay, silt, sand, and gravel in flood plains, fans, terraces, and slopes.

Madison Group, Darby Formation, Three Forks and Jefferson Formations (Upper Devonian-Upper Mississippian) at surface, covers 6 % of this area

Madison Limestone or Group (Thrust Belt, North Wyoming and Northern Yellowstone area) - Group includes Mission Canyon Limestone (blue-gray massive limestone and dolomite), underlain by Lodgepole Limestone (gray cherty limestone and dolomite). Darby Formation (Thrust Belt and North Wyoming) - Yellow and greenish-gray shale and dolomitic siltstone underlain by fetid brown dolomite and limestone. Three Forks Formation (Northern Yellowstone area) - Pink, yellow, and green dolomitic siltstone and shale. Jefferson Formation (Northern Yellowstone area) - Massive siliceous dolomite.

Mowry and Thermopolis Shales (Lower Cretaceous) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

Mowry Shale (Kmr) - Silvery-gray hard siliceous shale containing abundant fish scales and bentonite beds. Thermopolis Shale - Black soft fissile shale; Muddy Sandstone Member at top.

Fort Union Formation (Paleocene) at surface, covers 5 % of this area

(Northwest, Southwest, and Central Wyoming) - Brown to gray sandstone, gray to black shale, and thin coal beds. (East Wyoming) - Light-colored massive sandstone, drab shale, and thick coal beds.

Frontier Formation (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

(Thrust Belt) - White to brown sandstone and dark-gray shale; oyster coquina in upper part; coal and lignite in lower part. (North and South Wyoming) - Gray sandstone and sandy shale.

Plutonic rocks (Middle Archean-Late Archaen) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Wind River Range--Largely granite gneiss; contains diorite and quartz diorite facies. Bighorn Mountains--Quartz diorite to quartz monzonite. Age 2,900+ Ma.

Cloverly and Morrison Formations or Inyan Kara Group (Upper Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Cloverly Formation (North and South Wyoming) - Rusty sandstone at top, underlain by brightly variegated bentonitic claystone; chert-pebble conglomerate locally at base. Cloverly Formation (Northeast Wyoming - Hartville Uplift) - Rusty to light-gray sandstone containing lenticular chert-pebble conglomerate interbedded with variegated bentonitic claystone. Morrison Formation (North and South Wyoming) - Dully variegated claystone, nodular limestone, and gray silty sandstone. In southern Yellowstone and Jackson Hole areas the presence of Morrison is questionable. Morrison Formation (Northeast Wyoming) - dully variegated siliceous claystone, nodular white limestone, and gray silty sandstone. Inyan Kara Group (Northeast - Black Hills) - Rusty to light-gray sandstone containing lenticular chert-pebble conglomerate interbedded with variegated bentonitic claystone. Includes Fall River and Lakota Formations.

Chugwater and Goose Egg Formations (Permian-Upper Triassic) at surface, covers 4 % of this area

Chugwater Formation (North Wyoming) - Red siltstone and shale. Alcova Limestone Member in upper middle part in north Wyoming. Thin gypsum partings near base in north and northeast Wyoming. Goose Egg Formation - Red sandstone and siltstone, white gypsum, halite, and purple to white dolomite and limestone. Chugwater Group or Formation (South Wyoming) - Red shale and siltstone containing thin gypsum partings near base. Group includes Popo Agie Formation (red shale and red, yellow, and purple siltstone; lenses of lime-pellet conglomerate), Crow Mountain Sandstone (red and gray, thick bedded), Alcova Limestone, and Red Peak Formation (red siltstone and shale). Chugwater Formation includes as members all the units listed above. Includes overlying Jelm Formation in Shirley and Seminoe Mountains and at northern end of Laramie Basin. Jelm Formation - Red sandstone.

Oldest gneiss complex (Early Archean) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Chiefly layered granitic gneiss, locally migmatitic. Local masses of quartzite, metagraywacke, iron-formation, and other metasedimentary rocks and amphibolite and felsic gneiss thought to be volcanic; metasedimentary rocks in Beartooth Mountains contain detrital zircon dated at more than 3,400 Ma. Inclusions show evidence of granulite-facies metamorphism prior to 2,800 Ma. Mueller and others (1982) suggest that large areas in Beartooth Mountains were invaded by Late Archean granite (age about 2,800 Ma). Bighorn Mountains--Dates of metamorphism 3,000+ Ma.

Sundance and Gypsum Spring Formations (Middle Jurassic-Upper Jurassic) at surface, covers 3 % of this area

Sundance Formation (Js) - Greenish-gray glauconitic sandstone and shale, underlain by red and gray nonglauconitic sandstone and shale. Gypsum Spring Formation - Interbedded red shale, dolomite, and gypsum. In north Wyoming wedges out south in T. 39 N.

Bighorn Dolomite, Gallatin Group, Gros Ventre Formation, Snowy Range Formation, Pilgrim Limestone, Park Shale, Meagher Limestone, Wolsey Shale, Flathead Sandstone, Whitewood Dolomite, and Winnipeg and Deadwood Formations (Middle Cambrian-Upper Ordovician) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Bighorn Dolomite (Thrust Belt and North Wyoming) - Gray massive cliff-forming siliceous dolomite and locally dolomitic limestone. Bighorn Dolomite (Northern Yellowstone area) - Light-gray massive siliceous dolomite. Gallatin Limestone or Group (Thrust Belt) - Gray and tan limestone. Gallatin Limestone or Group (North Wyoming) - Blue-gray and yellow mottled hard dense limestone. Gallatin Group-Snowy Range Formation (Northern Yellowstone area) - Medium-gray limestone and underlying greenish-gray shale. Gallatin Group-Pilgrim Limestone (Northern Yellowstone area) - Blue-gray and yellow mottled hard limestone. Gros Ventre Formation (Thrust Belt) - Greenish-gray micaceous shale. Gros Ventre Formation (North Wyoming) - Soft green micaceous shale (Upper and Middle Cambrian Park Shale Member), underlain by blue-gray and yellow mottled hard dense limestone (Middle Cambrian Death Canyon Limestone Member), and soft green micaceous shale (Middle Cambrian Wolsey Shale Member). Park Shale (Northern Yellowstone area) - Green micaceous soft shale. Upper part may be Late Cambrian. Meagher Limestone (Northern Yellowstone area) - Blue-gray and yellow mottled hard limestone. Wolsey Shale (Northern Yellowstone area) - Green micaceous soft shale. Flathead Sandstone (Northern Yellowstone area and North Wyoming) - Dull-red quartzitic sandstone. Whitewood Dolomite (Northeast Wyoming) - Buff massive fossiliferous dolomite. Winnipeg Formation (Northeast Wyoming) - Pink to yellow siltstone and shale. Deadwood Formation (Northeast Wyoming) - Red and brown quartzitic sandstone.

Landslide deposits (Pleistocene-Holocene) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Locally includes intermixed landslide and glacial deposits, talus, and rock-glacier deposits.

Glacial deposits (Pleistocene-Holocene) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Till and outwash of sand, gravel, and boulders.

Mesaverde Formation or Mesaverde Group (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers 2 % of this area

Mesaverde Formation (north Wyoming) - Light-colored massive to thin-bedded sandstone, gray sandy shale, and coal beds. In Jackson Hole locally contains gold-bearing quartzite conglomerate. North of North Fork Powder River east of the Bighorn Mountains, consists solely of the Parkman Sandstone Member. Mesaverde Group (South Wyoming) - Includes Almond Formation, Ericson Sandstone, Rock Springs and Blair Formations in Rock Springs uplift; Almond Formation (white and brown soft sandstone, gray sandy shale, coal and carbonaceous shale), Pine Ridge Sandstone (light-gray sandstone and thin coal beds), and Allen Ridge (gray sandstone, shale, and thin coal beds) and Haystack Mountains (gray marine sandstone and shale) Formations in Rawlins uplift; Pine Ridge Sandstone (light-gray sandstone and thin coal beds) and Rock River Formation (soft sandstone and sandy shale) in Laramie Basin.

Goose Egg Formation (Permian-Lower Triassic) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Red sandstone and siltstone, white gypsum, halite, and purple to white dolomite and limestone.

Chugwater Formation or Group (Lower Triassic-Upper Triassic) at surface, covers 1 % of this area

Chugwater Formation (North and Northeast Wyoming) - Red siltstone and shale. Alcova Limestone Member in upper middle part in north Wyoming. Thin gypsum partings near base in north and northeast Wyoming. Chugwater Group or Formation (South Wyomingt) - Red shale and siltstone containing thin gypsum partings near base. Group includes Popo Agie Formation (red shale and red, yellow, and purple siltstone; lenses of lime-pellet conglomerate), Crow Mountain Sandstone (red and gray, thick bedded), Alcova Limestone, and Red Peak Formation (red siltstone and shale). Chugwater Formation includes as members all the units listed above. Includes overlying Jelm Formation in Shirley and Seminoe Mountains and at northern end of Laramie Basin. Jelm Formation - Red sandstone.

Lance Formation (Upper Cretaceous) at surface, covers 0.9 % of this area

(North Wyoming) - Thick-bedded buff sandstone and drab to green shale; thin conglomerate lenses. (South and Northeast Wyoming) - Brown and gray sandstone and shale; thin coal and carbonaceous shale beds.

Gallatin Limestone, Gros Ventre Formation and equivalents, Flathead Sandstone, and Cambrian Rocks (Middle Cambrian-Upper Cambrian) at surface, covers 0.6 % of this area

Gallatin Limestone (North Wyoming) - Blue-gray and yellow mottled hard dense limestone. Gros Ventre Formation (North Wyoming) - Soft green micaceous shale (Upper and Middle Cambrian Park Shale Member), underlain by blue-gray and yellow mottled hard dense limestone (Middle Cambrian Death Canyon Limestone Member), and soft green micaceous shale (Middle Cambrian Wolsey Shale Member). Flathead Sandstone (North Wyoming) - Dull-red quartzitic sandstone. Cambrian Rocks (South Wyoming) - South flank of Granite Mountains--Blue-gray and yellow mottled hard dense limestone interbedded with soft green micaceous shale; dull-red quartzitic sandstone at base. On and south of Rawlins uplift--Glauconitic quartzitic sandstone.

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

Chalky-white to gray sandstone, yellow, green, and dark-gray bentonitic claystone, white tuff, and thin coal beds.

Bighorn Dolomite (Middle Ordovician-Upper Ordovician) at surface, covers 0.2 % of this area

Light-gray massive siliceous dolomite in northern Yellowstone area. Gray massive cliff-forming siliceous dolomite and locally dolomitic limestone in Thrust belt and northern Wyoming.

White River Formation (Oligocene) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

White to pale-pink blocky tuffaceous claystone and lenticular arkosic conglomerate.

Tatman Formatin (Eocene) at surface, covers 0.1 % of this area

Drab nontuffaceous claystone, oil shale, lignite, and sandstone.

Cloverly, Morrison, Sundance, and Gypsum Spring Formations (Middle Jurassic-Lower Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Cloverly Formation - Rusty sandstone at top, underlain by brightly variegated bentonitic claystone; chert-pebble conglomerate locally at base. Morrison Formation - Dully variegated claystone, nodular limestone, and gray silty sandstone. In southern Yellowstone and Jackson Hole areas the presence of Morrison is questionable. Sundance Formation (Js) - Greenish-gray glauconitic sandstone and shale, underlain by red and gray nonglauconitic sandstone and shale. Gypsum Spring Formation - Interbedded red shale, dolomite, and gypsum. In north Wyoming wedges out south in T. 39 N.

Terrace gravel (Pliocene-Pleistocene) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Partly consolidated gravel above and flanking some major streams.

Madison Limestone or Group (Lower Mississippian-Upper Mississippian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Group includes Mission Canyon Limestone (blue-gray massive limestone and dolomite), underlain by Lodgepole Limestone (gray cherty limestone and dolomite).

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).

Kootenai Formation (Cretaceous) 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).

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).

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).

Madison Group: Mission Canyon and Lodgepole Formations; or Castle Reef and Allan Mountain Formations (Mississippian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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).

Tensleep Formation (Pennsylvanian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Very light gray sandstone interbedded with subordinate carbonate, shale, and anhydrite. Cyclical marine, eolian, and sabkha. Thickness about 60 m (197 ft).

Amsden Formation (Pennsylvanian and Mississippian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

Red shale, light gray limestone, and cherty and sandy limestone. Coastal plain or marine. Thickness as much as 180 m (590 ft).

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

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).

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

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).

Phosphoria Formation (Permian) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

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).

Morrison Formation (Jurassic) at surface, covers < 0.1 % of this area

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).

Frontier Formation (Cretaceous) at surface, covers < 0.1 % 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).

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

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).