Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
Susanne U. Janecke
Grasshopper basin, located in southwest Montana, is an east-tilted graben bounded by the listric Muddy-Grasshopper fault and the Meriwether Lewis fault on the eastern and western margins of the basin, respectively. This basin contains a complex stratigraphy of intertonguing facies comprised of five unconformity-bounded sequences of Tertiary alluvial, flu vial, deltaic, and lacustrine sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Sequence 1 consists of the Challis volcanic Group (Middle Eocene). The sedimentary rocks of the Medicine Lodge beds (Late Eocene-Late Oligocene) represent sequence 2 and approximately 90% of the basin-fill within Grasshopper basin. Sequence 3 consists 11 of the Sedimentary Rocks of Everson Creek (Late Oligocene-Early Miocene), sequence 4 is represented by the Sedimentary Rocks of Bannack Pass (Middle-Late Miocene), and the Six Mile Creek Formation (Late Miocene?) corresponds to sequence 5.
Sequence 2 is the synrift deposit for the Muddy-Grasshopper fault, and was dominated by lakes that filled axially by rivers from the north. Transverse sediment influx was present on small fan-delta complexes shed into the lake from the eastern margin and periodic large fluvial-dominated alluvial fan and deltaic deposition from the western margin. Paleocurrent analyses are consistent with these observations and show predominantly south-southeastward axial paleoflow directions with west-directed and east-directed paleoflow on the eastern and western margins, respectively. Petrologic studies, including sandstone petrography and conglomerate petrology, reveal a mixed "basement uplift" and "recycled orogen" tectonic provenance. These findings support a model for Eocene-Oligocene rifting characterized by moderate to high relief superimposed on the Cretaceous-Early Tertiary Sevier fold-and-thrust belt.
Paleogeographic reconstructions of Grasshopper basin reveal the lack of a southern basin margin. A correlation of the basin-fill contained in the Medicine Lodge and Horse Prairie basins to the south with the Medicine Lodge beds (sequence 2) in Grasshopper basin suggests that each of these basins represents a third of a larger preexisting extensional basin that was partially dismembered by later phases of continued extension. Large extensional folds in Grasshopper basin had a small influence on facies architecture in the basin.
Matoush, Joseph P., "The Stratigraphic, Sedimentologic, and Paleogeographic Evolution of the Eocene- Oligocene Grasshopper Extensional Basin, Southwest Montana" (2002). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 6726.
Copyright for this work is retained by the student. If you have any questions regarding the inclusion of this work in the Digital Commons, please email us at .