Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
The landforms of western Wells County were formed during late Wisconsinan glacial activity. Because of the relatively dry climate they have been modified only slightly by post-glacial erosion and mass wasting.
The southern one-third of the area is characterized by randomly-oriented mounds of till or dead-ice moraine. The dead-ice moraine originated when a large mass of stagnant ice ablated after typical glacial depositional features had formed on its drift-covered surface. Complete ablation of the ice resulted in the collapse of the previously formed features.
The remaining two-thirds of the area is characterized by and moraine, ground moraine, outwash, and meltwater channels.
Two directions of ice advance are evident in western Wells County, one from the northeast and the other from the northwest. However, heavy mineral analyses of till indicate that the center of accumulation did not shift during this time. The two trends of ice advance are explained by lobation of the main ice sheet as it entered North Dakota. Lobation was caused by the Turtle Mountains. The results of size analyses, pebble counts, and boulder counts of the different drift sheets supports this conclusion.
Large amounts of ground water that could be better utilized for irrigation and industry exist in the gravels of the meltwater channels and outwash plains in western Wells County. Sand and gravel deposits are abundant, but a high shale content restricts their economic value.
Faigle, George A., "Glacial geology of western Wells County, North Dakota" (1964). Theses and Dissertations. 86.