Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

A.M. Cvancara


The exposed Tertiary rock units in southeast Golden Valley County, North Dakota were measured and described with particular emphasis on the Tongue River Formation. Lithologic samples were collected and analyzed for total carbonate content, particle size, particle roundness, and mineral composition. In the area studied, the Tongue River Formation is 763 feet thick which is considerably thinner than in surrounding areas. The lower member of the Tongue River Formation is 313 feet thick and is composed of yellow-gray, very fine-grained sandstone, siltstone, claystone, shale, and lignite. The overlying Sentinel Butte Member is 450 feet thick and composed of yellow-brown, fine to medium-grained sandstone, siltstone, and lignite.

The lower member was found to be lighter colored, to have a higher total carbon content, to be finer grained, and to have fewer dark minerals than the overlying Sentinel Butte Member. Particle characteristics of both members indicate little chemical weathering, a short distance of transportation, and little reworking. Heavy minerals are indicative of a metamorphic source area with associated granites.

The fauna and flora of plants, fish, reptiles, amphibians, gastropods, and pelecypods indicate a fairly warm, humid environment with sluggish rivers and swampy conditions prevailing.

Included in

Geology Commons