Geology and Geological Engineering Contribution 54
The rocks containing vertebrate fossils in North Dakota represent an important archive of biological and geological events that took place from around 80 million years ago to the present (Figure 1). Although the record is not complete through this interval of time, significant exposures provide important sections of Earth’s geologic history (Figure 2). We continue to understand better how seas moved back and forth across North Dakota and the life that persisted in these seas and adjacent estuaries. The terrestrial habitats and river drainages that are recorded in nonmarine strata contain important insights into the patterns of dinosaur diversity up to the end of the Cretaceous followed by the adaptive radiation of mammals across the Cretaceous–Tertiary (K/T) boundary. North Dakota preserves aspects of K/T extinction drama quite well in its badland topography. This event is followed by a succession of isolated vertebrate local faunas throughout the Paleogene and into the early Neogene. Vertebrates are, of course, not the only fossil resource of North Dakota, but they are the subject of this field trip volume.
These fossils are brought to life, in part, by visiting fossil localities and enjoying the thrill of discovery as reported by those who found or worked these digs or by you in visiting these localities for the first time (Figure 3). This field trip volume is the result of a guidebook organized for the participants of the October 2003 premeeting field trip of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP) Annual Convention (St. Paul, Minnesota). To make the contributions of the authors of this volume more widely available, a revised version was thought appropriate. To permit a reduced cost and include color images, an electronic format was thought to be most effective.
Joseph A. Hartman. "A North Dakota Geology Field Trip Primer" (2004). Geology and Geological Engineering Faculty Publications. 4.