North Dakota | St. Lawrence University Geology

North Dakota

Geology in North Dakota is subtle until one gets to the Badlands where outcrops such as this fluted (eroded) exposure of Late Cretaceous Colgate Sandstone Member of the Fox Hills Formation can be striking. In the eastern portion of the state low outcrops of the Pierre Shale occasionally provide sites for discovery of Cretaceous sea creatures such as the mosasaur that Dr. Erickson's group helped to excavate on the 2007 trip. The trip then moved westward to the Heritage Center in Bismarck. From there they explored the Badlands and the Marmarth and Bowman, N.D., areas to the southwest. All photographs in this trip are copyright by the photographer.

Also in the east, at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks is the Wilson M. Laird Core Library of the North Dakota Geological Survey. There are stored the samples or cores from each well drilled in the state, and these are available for study as Dr. Husinec's group was doing on the 2009 field trip. Weekend trips to the Badlands and to the Red River Formation at the quarry in Garson, Manitoba, cleared the head after examining core all week in the lab!

On each trip, travel to and from North Dakota takes the group through classic Precambrian geology of the Canadian Shield in Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin. This provides opportunity to see some of the significant event units of Proterozoic stratigraphic history such as the Sudbury Complex and the Banded Iron Formation (BIF) of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. All along the way are excellent campsites and fine natural history stops. There is a lot of geology in the region!