Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

R.D. LeFever


The Kisbey Sandstone, also known as the K-2 marker, was studied to understand its depositional environment. It occurs within the Madison Group (Mississippian) of North Dakota. The Madison Group is a regressive, near-shore sequence. In descending order, this Group comprises the Charles, Mission Canyon, and Lodgepole Formations. The K-2 marker appears as well-log defined unit between the Charles and Mission Canyon Formations. Seven counties comprise the 7100 square mile study area. They include Rolette, Bottineau, Renville, McHenry, Ward, Burke, Mountrail Counties, and the southern most adjacent townships in Canada.

For this study, 1677 well-logs were examined. These data were analyzed through stratigraphic cross-sections, structure contour maps, and isopach maps. Two lateral, one longitudinal, and a diagonal cross-section were made. Structure contour maps and isopach maps were made of marker beds within the Madison Group. The cross-sections and maps were examined for paleogeomorphic features that would indicate a particular depositional environment. In addition, 667 feet of drill core were examined for sediment characteristics, sediment structures, fossils, and stratigraphic variability. These data were used to construct a depositional model for the Kisbey Sandstone. Both well-logs and drill core are kept in the Wilson M. Laird Core Library in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Possible paleogeomorphic features were found on the isopachmaps, structure contour maps, and stratigraphic cross sections. Unfortunately, these features are not in areas where core is available, and cannot be tied to core data.

The core reveals that the K-2 marker also contains anhydrite, sandy anhydrite, silty anhydrite, clayey anhydrite, and packstone. Generally, the sandstone is very fine- to fined grained, angular, and predominantly quartz. Sandstone characteristics can be distinguished in three geographic areas. The first area lies between R. 80 w. to R. 82 W. in the north-central North Dakota. Here, the sandstone is primarily cemented by anhydrite. The second area is an extension of the first area into Saskatchewan. Sandstone in the second area is cemented by both anhydrite and calcite. The third locality is the Sohio-Walsh well in T. 162 N., R. It is an unusually thick sandstone that is cemented by calcite. Two localities reveal some faint horizontal bedding, otherwise the sandstone is massive. Macrofossils were also sparse. Solitary corals, algae, brachiopods were found in isolated cases. Evidence of burrowing is also present in core. The K-2 marker is overlain by anhydrite, packstones of the Mohall beds, and underlain by packstones of the Glenburn beds.

The linear profile of the cross-section indicate that the Kisbey Sandstone was deposited on a broad flat plain. The high percentage of quartz grains, the burrowing, the presence of anhydrite, all indicate that the Kisbey Sandstone was deposited in a swash zone. The sand could have been either transported by eolian processes or by tidal processes resulting from storms. In addition, the name Kisbey Sandstone should be used only when core is present. The "K-2 marker" is a better term for this unit when data comes from well-logs.

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