Great Plains Geology


Great Plains Geology

R. F. Diffendal Jr.

Discover the Great Plains Series

240 pages
64 images, 10 maps, 1 table, 1 figure, index


April 2017


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2017


$17.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2017


$17.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

Great Plains Geology concisely guides readers through the geological development of the Great Plains region. It describes the distinct features of fifty-seven geologic sites, including fascinating places such as Raton Pass in Colorado and New Mexico, the Missouri Breaks of Montana, and the Ashfall Fossil Beds in Nebraska. This guide addresses the tricky question of what constitutes the Great Plains, showing that the region is defined in part through its unique geologic features.

Author Bio

R. F. Diffendal Jr. is professor emeritus in the School of Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He is the author of Lewis and Clark and the Geology of the Great Plains.


"Diffendal's ability to write from first-hand experience, and his talent for summarizing very complex geology and huge amounts of detailed scientific information in a candid, appealing, and understandable way, make this the best handbook of its type currently available for the Great Plains region."—Priscilla C. Grew, Nebraska History

"Great Plains Geology is not just a book, it’s a gift, offered by a scientist from his life’s experience. The book is a work of great and selfless generosity for which we should be grateful as we sally forth to explore this vast and varied region."—Joe Alan Artz, Journal of the Iowa Archeological Society

“This book should be in the travel bag of anyone interested in exploring this remarkable stage in the heart of North America.”—Michael Forsberg, photographer and author of Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild

Great Plains Geology is a book I wish I’d had fifty years ago when we moved to Nebraska and started commuting to Oklahoma to visit relatives. [Diffendal’s] narrative enriches the Great Plains experience immeasurably, especially for those who’ve made their homes here.”—John Janovy Jr., Varner Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and author of Keith County Journal

“This is an indispensable travel guide for anyone wishing to explore and appreciate the mysteries of this beautiful landscape.”—Dale A. Winkler, research professor of paleontology at Southern Methodist University

“Until now, eco-tourists visiting the Great Plains faced a void of geological information. . . . [Great Plains Geology] is clearly and succinctly written by a leading geologist in a way that nongeologists will understand and appreciate.”—James Stubbendieck, director emeritus of the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and author of North American Wildland Plants

“Professor Diffendal has done a marvelous job of assembling information and images about the rich geological history and terrain of the Great Plains. For those who have ever lived in or spent time in the region, as I have, or been as smitten with geology as I was. . . . I highly recommend it.”—Robert Wuthnow, professor of sociology at Princeton University and author of Remaking the Heartland: Middle America since the 1950s

“An enjoyable guide to the best geological sites in the Great Plains of Canada and the United States. Professor Diffendal’s lively writing unites geology with personal and historical references to provide a great resource for those traveling and sightseeing.”—David Watkins, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln

“From the inquisitive tourist or landowner, to the ‘wannabe’ archaeologist or dinosaur hunter, to the professional scientist or historian who seeks information in a related field, this book is a must-read. . . . [It] will quickly dispel the idea that the Great Plains are a monotonous and continuously flat region.”—Gerald Schultz, professor of geology at West Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations    
1. What Is the Great Plains?     
2. Geologic History of the Great Plains    
3. Visiting the Great Plains    
Sites in Canada    
Site 1. Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, Alberta    
Site 2. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta    
Site 3. Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Alberta and Saskatchewan    
Site 4. T. rex Discovery Centre, Saskatchewan    
Site 5. Grasslands National Park, Saskatchewan    
Sites in the United States
Site 6. Giant Springs State Park    
Site 7. Upper Missouri Breaks National Monument    
Site 8. Pompeys Pillar National Monument    
Site 9. Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument    
Site 10. Judith Mountains    
North Dakota
Site 11. Theodore Roosevelt National Park    
Site 12. Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site    
South Dakota
Site 13. Slim Buttes    
Site 14. Badlands National Park    
Site 15. Mount Rushmore National Memorial    
Site 16. Wind Cave National Park    
Site 17. Jewel Cave National Monument        
Site 18. Hot Springs Mammoth Site    
Site 19. Petrified Forest, Black Hills    
Site 20. Big Bend of the Missouri River    
Site 21. Devils Tower National Monument    
Site 22. Pine Bluffs Archaeological Site    
Site 23. Toadstool Geological Park    
Site 24. Hudson-Meng Bison Kill Research Center    
Site 25. Pine Ridge    
Site 26. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument    
Site 27. Scotts Bluff National Monument    
Site 28. Chimney Rock National Historic Site    
Site 29. Courthouse and Jail Rocks    
Site 30. Ash Hollow State Historical Park    
Site 31. Sand Hills Region    
Site 32. Snake River Falls    
Site 33. Fort Falls and Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge    
Site 34. Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park    
Site 35. Niobrara State Park    
Site 36. Harlan County Lake    
Site 37. Monument Rocks    
Site 38. Castle Rock    
Site 39. Castle Rock    
Site 40. Section Boundary, Raton/Colorado Piedmont    
Site 41. Comanche National Grassland    
Site 42. El Huerfano    
Site 43. Spanish Peaks    
New Mexico
Site 44. Raton Pass    
Site 45. Sugarite Canyon State Park    
Site 46. Capulin Volcano National Monument    
Site 47. Clayton Lake State Park    
Site 48. Section Boundary, Raton/Pecos Valley    
Site 49. Carlsbad Caverns National Park    
Site 50. Blackwater Draw Clovis Culture Site    
Site 51. Guadalupe Mountains National Park    
Site 52. Llano Estacado Escarpment    
Site 53. Enchanted Rocks State Park    
Site 54. Gault Archaeological Site    
Site 55. Balcones Fault Zone    
Site 56. Confluence of Pecos River and Rio Grande    
Site 57. Seminole Canyon State Park    
Appendix 1. Geologic Subdivisions of the Great Plains    
Appendix 2. Chronology of the Development of Some Geological Concepts    
Appendix 3. Cautions for Travelers on the Great Plains    

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