The Montana-Yellowstone Geologic Field Guide Database
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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

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; North Moccasin and Judith Mountains part of MT Field Guides
The emphasis of this field trip is to examine gold mineralization hosted in karsts breccias at the Kendall mining district and the relationship between intrusives, Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and mineralization in the Judith Mountains.

Topics: Surficial geology, Hydrology, Sedimentary 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

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: Metamorphic rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: North-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

Bones and Rocks of the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine-Judith River Clastic Wedge Complex, Montana part of MT Field Guides
The purpose of this field trip is to provide an overview of the paleontologic, stratigraphic, and paleoenvironmental aspects of the Upper Cretaceous Two Medicine-Judith River clastic wedge in western Montana. Strata of the Two Medicine Formation yielded the first evidence of such dinosaur social behavior as nest construction and parental care, and have provided important information concerning the processes of bonebed formation in the fossil record. The correlative Judith River Formation in Montana has yielded an abundant and diverse dinosaur fossil record primarily preserved as transported and concentrated accumulations of vertebrate remains ("microsites"). The geology and paleontology of four fossil localities [Seven Mile Hill, Shield's Crossing, Willow Creek Anticline (Egg Mountain), and the Badger Creek/Two Medicine River confluence] are described, but precise details concerning the locations of the sites are not given in the field guide.

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

Geology of the Highwood Mountains, Montana: A Survey of Magma Types and Sources part of MT Field Guides
The Highwood Mountains represent a dissected Eocene volcanic and intrusive complex composed of latites and highly potassic, mafic to felsic igneous rocks. Along with the Bearpaw Mountains and Eagle Buttes, they form a northeast-trending belt within the Montana Alkalic Province, and were all emplaced between 54 and 50 Ma. In the Highwoods an older suite of quartz-normative latites is overlain and intruded by a younger suite composed mostly of mafic phonolite flows and dikes, minette and trachyte dikes, and shonkinite-mafic syenite stocks. This trip examines a variety of dikes, sills, and stocks composed of these unusual rock types.

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

Shonkin Sag and Square Butte Laccoliths, Montana part of MT Field Guides
Shonkin Sag and Square Butte laccoliths are at the eastern edge of the Highwood Mountains as part of the Central Montana Alkalic Province. Rocks in the Highwood Mountains date to 50-53 Ma. Both laccoliths are internally differentiated and contain a variety of rock types, including shonkinite, syenite, and pegmatite.

Topics: Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: North-Central Montana
Geologic Province: Montana Plains

Bearpaw Mountains, Montana part of MT Field Guides
This trip examines volcanic and shallow intrusive rocks in the Bearpaw Mountains which were emplaced during the period from about 54 to 50 Ma, in the late early Eocene and early middle Eocene. Within this area, wwo volcanic fields lie north and south of a central anticlinal arch in which uppermost Paleozoic and Upper Cretaceous sedimentary rocks and many intrusions are now exposed. The trip follows a route across the northern volcanic field into the core of the central arch to examine the variety of rock types in the Rocky Boy stock and the youngest volcanic rocks on Centennial Mountain (Chippewa Cree Tribe). Land traversed is on Hill County park land and private land; permission is required for access and collection of samples.

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

Missouri Breaks Diatremes, Montana part of MT Field Guides
The Missouri Breaks diatremes are some of the best exposed diatremes in the United States, and display remarkable subsidence features. The diatremes and associated intrusions are important in showing (1) genetic connections of alnoitic, kimberlitic, and carbonatitic magmas, (2) xenolith suites representing the upper mantle and lower, middle, and upper crust of the Eocene lithosphere, and (3) mechanisms of eruption and emplacement of volatile-rich magmas. Some of the diatremes are fairly accessible in good weather. However, the Missouri Breaks is a remote area in which most of the roads are unimproved tracks across clay-rich sedimentary rocks, and even a small amount of rain may immobile four-wheel drive vehicles and make steep grades terminally hazardous.

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

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