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Economic Geology of the Greater Helena Area: Helena to Montana Tunnels Mine, Lump Gulch, Grizzly Gulch, Fort Harrison and Marysville part of MT Field Guides
The Helena area has a long history of base- and precious-metal production from the Corbin-Wickes District on the south to the Marysville gold district northwest of the Capitol City. Gold has also been mined from the placers along Last Change Gulch now within the city limits. This field trip examinations the volcanic-hosted ore body at the recently opened Montana Tunnels mine south of Helena. From this mine, participants will travel north to Helena through an area of numerous inactive base- and precious-metals mines at the northern margin of the Boulder batholith and then onto the Marysville district northwest of Helena where the gold deposits are related to the Marysville stock.

Topics: Hydrology, Resources, Structures, Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Rocky Mountain Fold-Thrust Belt

Sapphire Deposits of the Missouri River Near Helena, Montana part of MT Field Guides
Sapphires occur with gold, both in terrace deposits along the Missouri River and in the active river channel. Both of these minerals have been recovered from these deposits beginning with recovery of gold in the latter part of the 1800's. More recently, up until the early 1940's, sapphires were also recovered from these operations for industrial uses. In recent years recovery of sapphires by recreationists for faceting into gem stones has become important. Five deposits open for fee digging will be visited during this field excursion. They are situated on the French, Eldorado, Spokane and Gruell's bars. Also, exposures of a sapphire-bearing andesite sill close to the Missouri River and considered a source for some of the sapphires found in the gravels will be examined.

Topics: Resources, Structures, Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Rocky Mountain Fold-Thrust Belt

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

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

Helena and the North Border Zone of the Boulder Batholith, Montana part of MT Field Guides
The geologic descriptions for this road log roughly follow the scalloped north edge of the Boulder batholith. The will be ample opportunity to examine the intrusive rocks, and to the north, the broad border zone of contact-metamorphosed Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks. The route will follow the highway eastward, with a stop in granodiorite of the batholith. The log then detours to the south into the mountains along Colorado Gulch to view skarn and hornfels developed in the Madison Group and Three Forks Formation in a "septum" (or "screen") of country rock caught between two lobes of the batholith. The log returns to Highway 12 and continues east to Helena's Reeder's Alley and Grizzly Gulch. After a visit to a talc vein and teh unconformity between Precambrian (Belt) and Cambrian formations, the trip leaves Helena southbound on Interstate 15. Near Montana City are stops at an outcrop of hornfelsed, stromatolitic Helena Formation (Precambrian Belt Supergroup) and at the contact with the Boulder batholith. The final stop is to examine the complex of intrusions, wall- or roof-rock inclusions and structures in the batholith's border zone. In this area, Precambrian, Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks dip southwest and south toward the intrusion. Within about one to two miles from the batholith, the sedimentary sequence is contact-metamorphosed, yet in most places sedimentary structures are remarkably well preserved.

Topics: Structures, Resources, Metamorphic rocks, Sedimentary rocks, Igneous rocks
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Rocky Mountain Fold-Thrust Belt

Early Proterozoic Geology of the Highland Mountains, Southwestern Montana, and Field Guide to the Basement Rocks that Compose the Highland Mountain Gneiss Dome part of MT Field Guides
The Highland Mountains are underlain by the largest of the northwesternmost exposures of basement crystalline rocks in southwestern Montana....Metasedimentary rocks in the Highland Mountains are in part lithologically similar to the Late Archean multilithologic sequence (in the Tobacco Root, Ruby, and the northern Madison and Gravelly Ranges), but are considerably thinner. In the Highland Mountains the individual beds of aluminous schist, marble, quartzite, and iron-formation extend for only short distances, but the assemblage as a whole is mappable. It nowhere exceeds 300 ft (100 m) in thickness and appears to pinch out to the north....these rocks in the Highlands, unlike those to the southeast, are overlain by more than 10,000 ft (3000 m) of aluminous biotite gneiss that may have been deposited as muds basinward from the Late Archean shelf edge.

Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Central Rocky Mountains Foreland Province

Hydrologic Aspects of Metal Mine Impacts on Upper Clark Fork Superfund Sites, Butte - Warm Springs, MT part of MT Field Guides
This road log concentrates on environmental impacts of historic mining activities in the Butte Mining District, particularly with regard to water quality. The trip decribes the general geology between Bozeman and Butte and provides a detailed overview of the geology, hydrogeology, mineralization, and mining history in the Butte district. Specific topics included in this field guide are: water quality changes in underground mines and the Berkeley Pit, impacts and remediation of mine tailings and processing plants (mills, smelters, and reduction plants), and groundwater contamination and remediation. Detailed information from geotechnical and hydrogeological studies related to these topics is included.

Topics: Hydrology, Environmental Geology
Geographic Location: Southwest Montana
Geologic Province: Rocky Mountain Fold-Thrust Belt

Field Guide to the Mountain View and West Fork Areas, Stillwater Complex, Montana part of MT Field Guides
The Mountain View area of the Stillwater Complex, which is exposed on the west side of the Stillwater River valley, contains a well exposed, easily accessible section through the Ultramafic series. In this area the ultramafic cumulates have, for the most part, escaped the serpentinization common in other parts of the complex. The Basal series rocks and the lowermost ultramafic cumulates, however, have suffereed extensive alteration. The hornfels and the sill/dike complex are reasonably fresh and well exposed in the Verdigris Creek area, the site of intensive exploration for Cu/Ni sulfides. The Banded series rocks are well exposed along the mine road leading to the abandoned Mouat chromite mine, although only Lower Banded series cumulates are present in this area.

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

Field Guide to an Archean Transect, Eastern Beartooth Mountains, Montana-Wyoming part of MT Field Guides
The eastern Beartooth Mountains of Montana and Wyoming contain a record of crustal evolution that spans almost 1000 Ma and culminates in a major episode of crustal growth 2700-2800 Ma. The earlier record is sparse and complex as a result of extensive magmatism and intense metamorphism associated with Late Archean activity. In general, however, it appears that continental material was present in this area by roughly 3600 Ma, and that a stable continental shelf accumulated quartzites, iron-formation, and lesser amounts of pelitic to psammitic units interspersed with small volumes of mafic to silicic volcanic rocks. This cycle of accumulation was apparently terminated by an episode of granulite facies metamorphism 3300-3400 Ma, perhaps as a result of continent-continent collision....About 2800-2900 Ma, a second major cycle of crustal growth began that bears some resemblance to those associated with modern continent-ocean subduction zones....The first igneous rocks produced during this cycle were andesitic or dioritic rocks, both coarse and fine grained, that were subsequently metamorphosed to amphibolite facies....This interval is restricted by the presence of a granodioritic series (Long Lake granodiorite) that was intruded late in the kinematic cycle... (2779 Ma)...and marks the lower limit for the last major episode of regional metamorphism. The last and most volumetrically important rock produced during the cycle was the Long Lake granite. This unit composes approximately 80-90% of the eastern portion of the range and engulfs all older rock types. It appears to have been intruded about 2740 Ma....This excursion will attempt to view the evidence of these two major cycles in four main stops: (1) Hellroaring Plateau, (2) Lower Quad Creek, (3) Upper Quad Creek, and (4) Long Lake. Late Archean mafic dikes (at Beartooth Lake) will also be examined.

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

Middle Proterozoic Belt Supergroup, Western Montana part of MT Field Guides
From Great Falls, to Butte, Helena Glacier National Park and Spokane, this field trip crosses onto the leading edge of the Rocky Mountain thrust belt and proceeds to the stratiform copper-silver deposits in the Revett Formation of the Troy Mine in the main part of the Belt basin. The road log includes sections on the paleontology of the Middle Proterozoic Belt Supergroup, stromatolites of the Belt Supergroup (specific to Glacier National Park), Middle Proterozoic Tectonics of the Belt basin, and a sedimentologic and tectonic interpretation of the Belt Supergroup.

Topics: Structures, Fossils, Surficial geology, Metamorphic rocks, Igneous rocks, Sedimentary rocks
Geographic Location: Northwest Montana
Geologic Province: Rocky Mountain Fold-Thrust Belt