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Book Chapter

Quaternary geology of the Northern Great Plains

By
William J. Wayne
William J. Wayne
Department of Geology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska 68588
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James S. Aber
James S. Aber
Earth Science Department, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas 66801
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Sherry S. Agard
Sherry S. Agard
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225
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Robert N. Bergantino
Robert N. Bergantino
Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology, Butte, Montana 59701
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John P. Bluemle
John P. Bluemle
North Dakota Geological Survey, 600 E. Boulevard Ave., Bismarck, North Dakota 58205
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Donald A. Coates
Donald A. Coates
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225
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Maurice E. Cooley
Maurice E. Cooley
Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey, Cheyenne, Wyoming 82071
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Richard F. Madole
Richard F. Madole
U.S. Geological Survey, Box 25046, Denver Federal Center, Denver, Colorado 80225
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James E. Martin
James E. Martin
South Dakota Geological Survey and South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota 57701
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Brainerd Mears, Jr.
Brainerd Mears, Jr.
Department of Geology, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming 82071
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Roger B. Morrison
Roger B. Morrison
Morrison and Associates, 13150 West 9th Avenue, Golden, Colorado 80401
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Wayne M. Sutherland
Wayne M. Sutherland
Wyoming Geological Survey, Laramie, Wyoming 82071
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Published:
January 01, 1991

Abstract

The Great Plains physiographic province lies east of the Rocky Mountains and extends from southern Alberta and Saskatchewan nearly to the United States-Mexico border. This chapter covers only the northern part of the unglaciated portion of this huge region, from Oklahoma almost to the United States-Canada border, a portion that herein will be referred to simply as the Northern Great Plains (Fig. 1).

This region is in the rain shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Isoheyets are roughly longitudinal, and mean annual precipitation decreases from about 750 mm at the southeastern margin to less than 380 mm in the western and northern parts (Fig. 2). Winters typically are cold with relatively little precipitation, mostly as snow; summers are hot with increased precipitation, chiefly associated with movement of Pacific and Arctic air masses into warm, humid air masses from the Gulf of Mexico. Vegetation is almost wholly prairie grassland, due to the semiarid, markedly seasonal climate.

The Northern Great Plains is a large region of generally low relief sloping eastward from the Rocky Mountains toward the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Its basic bedrock structure is a broad syncline, punctuated by the Black Hills and a few smaller uplifts, and by structural basins such as the Williston, Powder River, and Denver-Julesburg Basins (Fig. 3). Its “surface” bedrock is chiefly Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments, with small areas of older rocks in the Black Hills, central Montana, and eastern parts of Wyoming, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

During the Laramide orogeny.

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Contents

DNAG, Geology of North America

Quaternary Nonglacial Geology

Roger B. Morrison
Roger B. Morrison
Morrison and Associates 13150 West Ninth Avenue Golden, Colorado 80401
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Geological Society of America
Volume
K-2
ISBN electronic:
9780813754611
Publication date:
January 01, 1991

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