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Use this page to search our collection of educationally-useful geologic field guides and road logs in Montana and Yellowstone. You may search the database by entering a keyword to search or choosing one of the listed terms for geologic topic, geographic location, or geologic province.


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Field Guide, Little Belt Mountains part of MT Field Guides
This field guide extends from Monarch to Utica across the northeastern portion of the Little Belt Mountains. The trip, via Hughesville, Yogo Peak and the Yogo sapphire mines, provides an overview of Laramide igneous activity in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana. The mountains were formed as a large anticline in the Late Cretaceous to late Paleocene or earliest Eocene. The forceful intrusions in the Little Belt Mountains by felsic, hence viscous magmas, contrast sharply with the low-viscosity, basic, alkaline extrusives in the Highwood Mountains to the north.

Topics: Surficial geology, Resources, Fossils, Structures, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks
Geographic Location: North-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Guide to the Chrome Mountain Area part of MT Field Guides
The Chrome Mountain area lies at nearly 10,000-feet elevation in the west-central part of the Stillwater Complex between the main part of the Boulder River and the headwaters of the East Boulder River. At Chrome Mountain, the olivine +/- bronzite +/- chromite cumulates of the Ultramafic Series are relatively well exposed and stratigraphically broadly resemble those at Mountain View. In addition, a distinctive rock type occurs: a fine-grained dunite which appears to have formed as a replacement of the ultramafic cumulates.

Topics: Igneous rocks, Metamorphic rocks, Resources
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Guide to the Gish Mine Area part of MT Field Guides
The Gish mine is located in the Boulder River valley near the west end of the Stillwater Complex. At Gish, the Peridotite zone of the Ultramafic series is exposed, and features of particular interest include an excellent exposure of discordant dunite and a major chromite seam which has been correlated with the G chromitite elsewhere in the complex. Other notable features include: (1) cyclic units which exhibit some lateral variation, and (2) a possible unconformity that separates the series of cyclic units (olivine-bronzite cumulates and bronzite cumulates), which the discordant dunite intrudes, from the major series of olivine cumulates which enclose the main chromite seam.

Topics: Resources, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Guide to the Stillwater Complex Exposed in the West Fork Area part of MT Field Guides
The parts of the Stillwater Complex exposed along the West Fork of the Stillwater River were the site of early chromite exploration, followed by Cu-Ni-sulfide exploration and, finally, platinum-group-element (PGE) exploration. The best exposures of Troctolite-Anorthosite zone I (TAZ I) anywhere in the complex and the discovery outcrops of the J-M Reef occur in cliffs on the west side of the river and are readily accessible. Parking for these outcrops is immediately beyond the bridge across the West Fork of the Stillwater River at the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness boundary. The lower chromite seams in the Peridotite-zone cumulates are well-exposed in the West Fork area but require nearly a full day to visit on foot. These exposures provide the opportunity to trace chromite seams and to study the changes in their internal stratigraphy and chemistry. The West Fork area illustrates quite well that not all members in Peridotite-zone cyclic units are continuous.

Topics: Resources, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Field Guide; Belt Butte and Tiger Butte part of MT Field Guides
This field trip extends east from Great Falls across rolling glacial plains to the summit of Belt Butte, where its formation and the collapse structure adjacent to it will be discussed. In addition, the Tiger Butte laccolithic intrusion, contact metamorphic effects, associated dikes, and structure resulting from the intrusion will be examined.

Topics: Fossils, Hazards, Resources, Surficial geology, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks
Geographic Location: North-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

Field Guide; Little Rocky Mountains part of MT Field Guides
This fieldtrip examines deformed Paleozoic sedimentary rocks on the margins of the Little Rocky Mountains, Tertiary intrusive rocks (porphyrys, magmatic-hydrothermal breccias, and dikes), and associated mineralization.

Topics: Fossils, Resources, Structures, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks
Geographic Location: North-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

Geology of the Stillwater Complex Exposed in the Mountain View Area and on the West Side of Stillwater Canyon part of MT Field Guides
The part of the Stillwater Complex exposed on the west side of the Stillwater canyon has been the site of concentrated prospecting and geology activity since Jack Nye and Jimmy and Jonas Hedges found sulfide-rich rocks there in 1883. Readily seen in this area are well-studied and excellent exposures of: (1) most rock types, (2) ore deposits and mineralized occurrences, (3) structural features and (4) stratigraphic and age relations between the metamorphosed sedimentary rocks and the layered ultramafic-mafic stratiform intrusion. In addition, there are good exposures of a quartz monzonitic suite, which intrudes the complex and the metamorphosed sedimentary rocks, and of the Beartooth gneisses. Because the rocks in this area have been deformed by several episodes of faulting, a synopsis of the structural relations is given to clarify the geologic setting. Detailed overviews of the geology specific to the area are presented, and the geology of the more interesting exposures in the area is described in a road log that begins in the Ultramafic series, proceeds through the Basal series, the Banded series, and the quartz monzonite that cuts the complex, and ends in the Beartooth gneisses.

Topics: Resources, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Guide to the Benbow Area part of MT Field Guides
The Benbow area (named for T.C. Benbow, who first discovered chromite there) is at the east end of the exposed Stillwater Complex....Most of the localities described...are in the Ultramafic series....The features emphasized at these localities include the nature of the cyclic units, pegmatoids associated with chromite seams, evidence for slumping anbd slope instability in the Stillwater magma chamber, lateral persistence of some of the chromite seams, and the unconformity between the Banded series of the Stillwater Complex and overlying Cambrian limestone.

Topics: Structures, Resources, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Stratigraphy and Sedimentology of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation along the Powder River, Montana and Wyoming part of MT Field Guides
The Paleocene Fort Union Formation in the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming and adjoining areas contains a large number of very thick, closely spaced coal beds that make up some of the largest coal reserves in the United States. The main purpose of this field guide is to provide a knowledge of the stratigraphy, fluvial facies sequences, and depositional environments of portions of this coal resource at three main localities along the Powder River. Field data from measured sections and outcrop descriptions are synthesized into a depositional model for the origin of the Tongue River Member of the Powder River Formation.

Topics: Resources, Sedimentary rocks, Fossils
Geographic Location: Southeast Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

Depositional Surfaces in the Eagle Sandstone at Billings, Montana part of MT Field Guides
Marine shelf sandstones and barrier bars are commonly formed by lateral accretion of sand bodies with time lines inclined to the formation boundaries. Shelton (1965) described low-angle inclined bedding in the lowermost sandstone unit of the Eagle Sandstone at Billings, Montana. He recognized these beds as shoreface accretion surfaces of a barrier bar and likened them to those found on present-day Galveston Island, Texas. The Billings location provides an excellent opportunity to examine an important hydrocarbon reservoir rock of the Northern Rocky Mountain region.

Topics: Resources, Sedimentary rocks, Fossils
Geographic Location: South-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

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