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State and Regional Geology: A Guide to Resources (June 2014): West North Central States

By Linda R. Zellmer

West North Central States

The west north central states include Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas, along with the northern Great Plains region.  Donald Trimble’s The Geologic Story of the Great Plains, available online from the National Park Service, describes the landforms, geology, and geologic history of the plains in nontechnical terms.

The geology of Minnesota includes older Precambrian rocks and more recent deposits.  Its geology has been summarized in two books.  Geology of Minnesota: A Centennial Volume in Honor of George M. Schwartz, edited by P. Sims, G. Morey, and G. Schwartz, is a volume of technical papers describing the state’s geology, published to coincide with the Minnesota Geological Survey’s centennial.  The articles discuss the geology of various regions of the state, as well as specific features, rock units, and mineral deposits.  Minnesota’s Geology by Richard Ojakangas and Charles Matsch is a general description of the state’s geology, from the earliest rocks to the Quaternary.  It also includes descriptions of the geology of subregions within the state and significant features in each area.

Wayne Anderson’s Iowa’s Geological Past: Three Billion Years of Earth History does exactly what the title states; it summarizes three billion years of Iowa geologic history, including the earliest Precambrian rocks, the deposits of Paleozoic oceans, Quaternary glacial deposits, and geology’s importance to the people of Iowa.  Landforms of Iowa by Jean Prior provides a more detailed analysis of Iowa’s geomorphology and its relationship to geology, particularly the glacial history of the region.

The Stratigraphic Succession in Missouri, by Thomas Thompson and edited by John Koenig, contains descriptions of the rock units in the state, their distribution, environment of deposition, and fossils.  It also includes an extensive reference list of publications about Missouri’s stratigraphy.  Missouri Geology: Three Billion Years of Volcanoes, Seas, Sediments, and Erosion by A. Unklesbay and Jerry Vineyard provides readers with a more generalized description of Missouri’s geology, geologic history, and mineral resources.

John Bluemle’s The Face of North Dakota describes the landforms, natural hazards, and resources and geologic history of North Dakota in nontechnical terms.  Notes on Pleistocene Stratigraphy of North Dakota by Lee Clayton provides information about North Dakota glacial deposits.  The North Dakota Geological Survey “Educational” series includes six guidebooks describing the geology of six regions of the state; all are available on the survey’s website.

Two volumes of a report describing South Dakota’s surficial geology and mineral resources, A Geology of South Dakota, parts one and three, by Edgar Rothrock were issued as part of the South Dakota Geological Survey’s “Bulletin” series.  Another bulletin, A Guide to the Stratigraphy of South Dakota by A. Agnew and P. Tychsen describes the geologic units in the state.  All are available online from the Digital Publications and Maps section of the South Dakota Geological Survey’s website.  The geology of the Black Hills, South Dakota’s most prominent geological landmark, is described in Mineral Resource Potential and Geology of the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota and Wyoming, edited by Ed DeWitt and John Dersch.

The Geological Section of Nebraska by G. Condra and E. Reed contains descriptions of Nebraska’s stratigraphy, geologic history, paleontology, and natural resources.  Marvin Carlson’s Geology, Geologic Time and Nebraska provides a more current, albeit generalized, interpretation of the state’s geologic history.  Nebraska’s Pleistocene deposits are described in Revision of the Classification of the Pleistocene Deposits in Nebraska by E. Reed and V. Dreeszen.

Daniel Merriam’s The Geologic History of Kansas contains descriptions of Kansas rock units, stratigraphy, and structural geology.  The full text of this work is also available online.  Roadside Kansas by Rex Buchanan and James McCauley provides a more current description of the state’s geologic history as well as information on interesting geological sites in Kansas.