Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

J.R. Reid


Griggs County, situated in the Western Lake section of the Central Lowland province, covers an area of 720 square miles in east-central North Dakota. The surface of the county is mantled with three, or possibly four Pleistocene drift sheets, separated by outwash deposits. These drift sheets lie unconformably on the Cretaceous Pierre Shale which is exposed in the Sheyenne River valley and the Binford Hills. Because the drift sheets have similar lithologic and physical characteristics, and are all late Wisconsin in age, they fulfill the requirements for a lithostratigraphic unit and are being considered for designation as part of the Pleistocene Lostwood Formation.

As the late Wisconsin glacier receded and thinned in east-central North Dakota, it became controlled by topographic highs, and lobation occurred. One of these lobes; the Leeds, retreated across Griggs County, depositing the McHenry-I, McHenry II, Cooperstown, and Luverne end moraines during temporary stillstands. When the Leeds lobe retreated from the Cooperstown end moraine position, a large block of ice became detached and a complex of eskers, kames, and kettles was formed. As the ice terminus reached the North Vikings end moraine position, the Girard Lake spillway of glacial. Lake Souris came into existence, causing meltwater to flow into Griggs County and excavate the Sheyenne River valley.

In western Griggs County, a large buried valley, the Spiritwood aquifer, occurs at the base of the Lostwood Formation. It is filled with outwash sediments that are a potential source of large quantities of ground water.

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