Task 50 - deposition of lignites in the Fort Union Group and related strata of the northern Great Plains
Description: Late Cretaceous, Paleocene, and early Eocene geologic and paleontologic studies were undertaken in western North Dakota, eastern and south-central Montana, and northwestern and northeastern Wyoming. These study areas comprise the Williston, Bighorn, and Powder River Basins, all of which contain significant lignite resources. Research was undertaken in these basins because they have the best geologic sections and fossil record for the development of a chronostratigraphic (time-rock) framework for the correlation of lignite beds and other economic resources. A thorough understanding of the precise geologic age of the deposition of sediments permits a powerful means of interpreting the record of geologic events across the northern Great Plains. Such an understanding allows for rigorous interpretation of paleoenviromnents and estimates of resource potential and quality in this area of economically significant deposits. This work is part of ongoing research to document change in the composition of molluscan fossil faunas to provide a paleoenvironmentally sensitive independent means of interpreting time intervals of brief duration during the Late Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene. This study focuses on the record of mollusks and, to a lesser extent, mammals in the (1) Hell Creek-Tullock Formations, which include the Cretaceous-Paleocene boundary, in the western portion of the Williston Basin, Montana; (2) uppermost Cretaceous, Paleocene, and lowermost Eocene strata in western North Dakota, which -includes the last interior seaway in North Dakota; (3) upper Paleocene and lowermost Eocene of the northern portion of the Bighorn Basin of south-central Montana and northwestern Wyoming; and (4) Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming and southeastern Montana. The geologic record provides different physical and paleontological information to aid in interpreting the geologic record through the study interval.
Date: August 11, 1997
Creator: Hartman, J.H.; Roth, B. & Kihm, A.J.
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