The Montana-Yellowstone Geologic Field Guide Database
A Digital Resource for Integrating Field-Based Research, Teaching, and Learning
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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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The Middle Yellowstone Valley from Livingston to Gardiner, Montana: A Microcosm of Northern Rocky Mountain Geology part of MT Field Guides
The middle Yellowstone valley, between the Great Plains at Livingston and the edge of the Yellowstone volcanic plateau near Gardiner, is a complex palimpsest of lithology, structure, and surficial processes. It shares basement rocks with the continental interior, largely to the north and east; Paleozoic lithologies with the western interior, compressive tectonics with the Fold and Thrust Belt to the west; extension with the Basin and Range to the west and south; and Cenozoic volcanism and elements of its geomorphic evolution with much of the surrounding region. The geological exploration of this region serves as a microcosm of the evolution of the geological understanding of the American West.

Topics: Hydrology, Resources, Fossils, Environmental Geology, Hazards, Surficial geology, Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks, Structures, Metamorphic rocks
Geographic Location: Yellowstone National Park, Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and the Middle Rocky Mountains part of MT Field Guides
This trip is designed to show participants the granite-cored Laramide (Late Cretaceous-earliest Eocene) mountain ranges in the middle Rocky Mountains, and their various stages of burial by Cenozoic deposits and subsequent Quaternary exhumation. Mountain-flank structures involving Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic rocks, the classic Heart Mountain detachment fault complex, and the rootless overthrust mountain ranges of the Wyoming-Utah-Idaho thrust belt are traversed.

Topics: Hazards, Igneous rocks, Hydrology, Structures, Metamorphic rocks, Sedimentary rocks
Geographic Location: Yellowstone National Park
Geologic Province: Yellowstone Plateau

Road Log from Bozeman to Specimen Creek via Gallatin Canyon and U.S. 191 part of MT Field Guides
This trip leads southward through the Gallatin Range to Specimen Creek in Yellowstone National Park. It affords an excellent worm's-eye view of the structure and stratigraphy of this range as revealed both laterally and vertically through the quietly beautiful Gallatin Canyon. The route also borders the east margin of the Madison Range and its spectacular Spanish Peaks uplift. The Gallatin and Madison Ranges are geologically and topographically similar, an essential difference being the thick cap of andesitic lava and breccia that covers the high parts of the Gallatin Range.

Topics: Surficial geology, Hazards, Structures, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic 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

The Hebgen Lake Earthquake Area, Montana and Wyoming part of MT Field Guides
Several high-angle normal faults bounding the west front of the Madison Range north of Hebgen Lake, recurrently active during much of Neogene time, reactivated catastrophically on August 7, 1959. Faulting was accompanied by largest historic earthquake within the Intermountain Seismic Belt. Unusual geologic features were formed--spectacular fault scarps, a large landslide, a deformed lake basin (Hebgen Lake), and a new lake (Earthquake Lake)--each of which demonstrates the destructive power of a large eathquake. These features are described in the context of the bedrock geology in this field guide.

Topics: Hazards, Surficial geology, Structures, Sedimentary rocks, Metamorphic rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province