Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans known as American Indians, Indigenous Americans and other terms, are the indigenous peoples of the United States, except Hawaii. There are over 500 federally recognized tribes within the US, about half of which are associated with Indian reservations; the term "American Indian" excludes Native Hawaiians and some Alaska Natives, while Native Americans are American Indians, plus Alaska Natives of all ethnicities. Native Hawaiians are not counted as Native Americans by the US Census, instead being included in the Census grouping of "Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander"; the ancestors of modern Native Americans arrived in what is now the United States at least 15,000 years ago much earlier, from Asia via Beringia. A vast variety of peoples and cultures subsequently developed. Native Americans were affected by the European colonization of the Americas, which began in 1492, their population declined precipitously due to introduced diseases as well as warfare, territorial confiscation and slavery.
After the founding of the United States, many Native American peoples were subjected to warfare and one-sided treaties, they continued to suffer from discriminatory government policies into the 20th century. Since the 1960s, Native American self-determination movements have resulted in changes to the lives of Native Americans, though there are still many contemporary issues faced by Native Americans. Today, there are over five million Native Americans in the United States, 78% of whom live outside reservations; when the United States was created, established Native American tribes were considered semi-independent nations, as they lived in communities separate from British settlers. The federal government signed treaties at a government-to-government level until the Indian Appropriations Act of 1871 ended recognition of independent native nations, started treating them as "domestic dependent nations" subject to federal law; this law did preserve the rights and privileges agreed to under the treaties, including a large degree of tribal sovereignty.
For this reason, many Native American reservations are still independent of state law and actions of tribal citizens on these reservations are subject only to tribal courts and federal law. The Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted U. S. citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States. This emptied the "Indians not taxed" category established by the United States Constitution, allowed natives to vote in state and federal elections, extended the Fourteenth Amendment protections granted to people "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States. However, some states continued to deny Native Americans voting rights for several decades. Bill of Rights protections do not apply to tribal governments, except for those mandated by the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968. Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange.
As most Native American groups had preserved their histories by oral traditions and artwork, the first written sources of the conflict were written by Europeans. Ethnographers classify the indigenous peoples of North America into ten geographical regions with shared cultural traits, called cultural areas; some scholars combine the Plateau and Great Basin regions into the Intermontane West, some separate Prairie peoples from Great Plains peoples, while some separate Great Lakes tribes from the Northeastern Woodlands. The ten cultural areas are as follows: Arctic, including Aleut and Yupik peoples Subarctic Northeastern Woodlands Southeastern Woodlands Great Plains Great Basin Northwest Plateau Northwest Coast California Southwest At the time of the first contact, the indigenous cultures were quite different from those of the proto-industrial and Christian immigrants; some Northeastern and Southwestern cultures, in particular, were matrilineal and operated on a more collective basis than that with which Europeans were familiar.
The majority of Indigenous American tribes maintained their hunting grounds and agricultural lands for use of the entire tribe. Europeans at that time had patriarchal cultures and had developed concepts of individual property rights with respect to land that were different; the differences in cultures between the established Native Americans and immigrant Europeans, as well as shifting alliances among different nations in times of war, caused extensive political tension, ethnic violence, social disruption. Before the European settlement of what is now the United States, Native Americans suffered high fatalities from contact with new European diseases, to which they had not yet acquired immunity. Smallpox epidemics are thought to have caused the greatest loss of life for indigenous populations. William M Denevan, noted author and Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said on this subject in his essay "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492".
Old World diseases were the primary killer. In many regions the tropical lowlands, populations fell by 90 percent or more in the first century after the contact. "Estimates of the pre-Columbian population of what today constitutes the U. S. vary ranging from William M Denevan's 3.8 million in his 1992 w
Pacific Northwest Trail
The Pacific Northwest Trail is a 1200-mile hiking trail running from the Continental Divide in Montana to the Pacific Ocean on Washington’s Olympic Coast. Along the way, the PNT crosses three national parks, seven national forests, two other national scenic trails, against the grain of several mountain ranges, including the Continental Divide, Whitefish Divide, Selkirks, Kettles and Olympics; the Pacific Northwest Trail was designated as the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail by Congress in 2009. The route was first conceived by Ron Strickland in 1970. Between 1970 and 1976, extensive fieldwork was performed by Strickland and others, including early supporters along the PNT corridor who lent extensive knowledge of local trail systems to the effort. In that time, the Pacific Northwest Trail was cobbled together using preexisting trails and Forest Service roads. In 1977, Strickland founded the Pacific Northwest Trail Association, an organization responsible for education and information and advocacy for the PNT.
That same year, the first five successful thru-hikes of the Pacific Northwest Trail were completed. Two of those hikers would appear on the cover of Backpacker Magazine, in a 1979 issue which introduced the Pacific Northwest Trail to an international audience. In 1979, the first short guide for the PNT was published by Signpost Magazine, which would become Washington Trails Association; the guide consisted of two pages that described the route, came unaccompanied by maps. In 1983, Ron Strickland would hike the entire length of the PNT alongside the PNTA's first cartographer, Ted Hitzroth, they used the information collected on their journey to develop the first full-length guidebook for the PNT, published in 1984. Throughout the 80's and 90's, the trail gained in popularity. Regional volunteer groups emerged to help the PNTA maintain and improve the PNT in their areas, including SWITMO in the Puget Sound area, the Yaak Trail Club, who helped select and maintain the route through northwest Montana's Yaak Valley.
In 2000, the Pacific Northwest Trail received its first federal designation, when the Clinton administration designated the trail as a Millennium Trail. More federal recognition would come in the following years. In 2002, the North Cascades National Park / Ross Lake National Recreation Area segment was designated a National Recreation Trail; the Olympic National Park segment received this designation in 2003, the Glacier National Park segment received the same designation in 2005. In 2008, Congressman Norm Dicks and Senator Maria Cantwell introduced Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail legislation to Congress; the marked up version of the legislation for the designation passed the full Natural Resource Committee of the US Senate on September 11, 2008, was inserted into the Public Lands Omnibus Bill. Congress passed the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009 on March 25 of that year, the Pacific Northwest Trail became the Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail with President Obama's signature on March 30.
The Public Lands Omnibus Act of 2009 placed the trail under the management of the Department of Agriculture, with the United States Forest Service serving as the trail administrator. A comprehensive management plan for the Pacific Northwest Trail is under development. In 2017, the Pacific Northwest Trail Association celebrated its 40th anniversary, as well as the 40th anniversary of the first five thru-hikes of the trail. Beginning at Chief Mountain Customs on the United States–Canada border in central Montana, the Pacific Northwest Trail traverses the high mountains and valleys of Glacier National Park, where it shares mileage with the Continental Divide Trail, it enters Flathead National Forest, travels across the Flathead River into Polebridge, Montana, up the Whitefish Divide, into Kootenai National Forest, through the Ten Lakes Wilderness Study Area and Ten Lakes Scenic Area on its way to the Idaho state line. In Idaho Panhandle National Forest, the PNT crosses the Moyie River Valley, winds its way through the forest lands and farmlands of the Kootenai River Valley, up Parker Ridge to the Selkirk Crest down Lions Head and over Lookout Mountain to Upper Priest Lake.
From there, the trail climbs toward the Washington state line. In Washington, the PNT enters Colville National Forest in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness crosses the Pend Oreille River on the Metaline Falls Bridge, before continuing over Abercrombie Mountain and reaching the Columbia River, in the town of Northport. Next, the trail wanders along the Kettle Crest, through Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and into the range lands and orchards of the Okanogan River Valley. From the city of Oroville, the PNT follows the Similkameen River to Palmer Lake, where the trail travels through Loomis State Forest, begins its ascent into the Pasayten Wilderness, where the PNT shares tread with the Pacific Crest Trail. After traversing the Pasayten, the trail crosses Ross Lake National Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park; the trail exits the park via Hannegan Pass, continues through the Mt. Baker Wilderness. From Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, the trail uses a mix of federal and private timber lands to reach the shores of Puget Sound.
Along the dikes and through the farmlands of Skagit County, the trail traverses Fidalgo Island, crosses the bridge at Deception Pass State Park and continues across Whidbey Island to the Washington State Ferry Terminal in Coupeville, Washington. After a thirty-minute ferry ride, the trail picks up in the quaint seaside community of Port Townsend and the confluence of three trails: the Larry Scott Trail, the Olymp
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres of public lands in the United States which constitutes one eighth of the landmass of the country. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service; the agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; the mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by. All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres of BLM public lands.
The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 27 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Conservation Lands, totaling about 36 million acres. In addition the National Conservation Lands include nearly 2,400 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, nearly 6,000 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails. There are more than 63,000 gas wells on BLM public lands. Total energy leases generated $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states, Native American groups. The BLM's roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; these laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution. As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain and other countries, the United States Congress directed that they be explored and made available for settlement. During the Revolutionary War, military bounty land was promised to soldiers who fought for the colonies.
After the war, the Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed by the United States, England and Spain, ceded territory to the United States. In the 1780s, other states relinquished their own claims to land in modern-day Ohio. By this time, the United States needed revenue to function. Land was sold. In order to sell the land, surveys needed to be conducted; the Land Ordinance of 1785 instructed a geographer to oversee this work as undertaken by a group of surveyors. The first years of surveying were completed by error. In 1812, Congress established the General Land Office as part of the Department of the Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands. By the early 1800s, promised bounty land claims were fulfilled. Over the years, other bounty land and homestead laws were enacted to dispose of federal land. Several different types of patents existed; these include cash entry, homestead, military warrants, mineral certificates, private land claims, state selections, town sites, town lots. A system of local land offices spread throughout the territories, patenting land, surveyed via the corresponding Office of the Surveyor General of a particular territory.
This pattern spread across the entire United States. The laws that spurred this system with the exception of the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 have since been repealed or superseded. In the early 20th century, Congress took additional steps toward recognizing the value of the assets on public lands and directed the Executive Branch to manage activities on the remaining public lands; the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed leasing and production of selected commodities, such as coal, oil and sodium to take place on public lands. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees; the Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937 referred as the O&C Act, required sustained yield management of the timberlands in western Oregon. In 1946, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior.
It took several years for this new agency to reorganize. In the end, the Bureau of Land Management became less focused on land disposal and more focused on the long term management and preservation of the land; the agency achieved its current form by combining offices in the western states and creating a corresponding office for lands both east of and alongside the Mississippi River. As a matter of course, the BLM's emphasis fell on activities in the western states as most of the mining, land sales, federally owned areas are located west of the Mississippi. BLM personnel on the ground have been oriented toward local interests, while bureau management in Washington are led by presidential guidance. By means of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress created a more unified bureau mission and recognized the value of the remaining public lands by declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership; the law directed that these lands be managed with a view toward "multiple use" defined as "management of the public lands and their various resource values so that th
Nez Perce National Historical Park
The Nez Perce National Historical Park is a United States National Historical Park comprising 38 sites located throughout the states of Idaho, Montana and Washington, which included traditional aboriginal lands of the Nez Perce people. The sites are associated with the resistance of Chief Joseph and his band, who in June 1877 took off from Oregon in an attempt to reach freedom in Canada and avoid being forced on to a reservation, they were pursued by U. S. Army cavalry fought numerous skirmishes against them; the park was established in 1965, a museum was opened at the park headquarters in Spalding, Idaho, in 1983. The 38 sites span three main ecoregions. Numerous animal species inhabit the park, including several; the park commemorates the history and stories of the Nez Perce. It includes sites associated with the Nez Perce War of 1877, when the people resisted takeover by the United States, the flight of Chief Joseph and his band; the park is administered overall by the National Park Service, a number of the sites are managed by other federal and state agencies as well as local communities.
The park was established by Congress in 1965. Construction of the planned headquarters site and museum at Spalding were delayed by land acquisition and federal funding problems. Soon after construction began in September 1979, Native American graves were discovered at the site. Remains and artifacts were preserved in consultation with the Nez Perce. Construction of the visitor center and museum was restarted; the museum opened in June 1983. The Nez Perce National Historic Park does not follow the format of most national parks, in that it is composed of dozens of sites spread over four states; the 38 sites are linked by the history of the Nez Perce people, rather than by geographic location. Twenty-six of the sites are on or near the Nez Perce Indian Reservation in Idaho and can be toured in one day. Adjacent states hold the other twelve sites. Several of the sites are connected by the Nez Perce National Historic Trail, managed by the United States Forest Service, it preserves the route taken by Chief Joseph and his band when they tried to reach Canada in 1877.
The sites include: Battle of Bear Paw – Blaine County, Montana Battle of the Clearwater – Idaho County, Idaho Battle of White Bird Canyon – Idaho County, Idaho Big Hole National Battlefield – Beaverhead County, Montana Camas Meadows Battle Sites – Clark County, Idaho Camas Prairie – Idaho County and Lewis County, Idaho Camp Chopunnish – Idaho County, Idaho Joseph Canyon – Wallowa County and Asotin County, Washington Old Chief Joseph Gravesite – Wallowa County, Oregon Weippe Prairie – Weippe, Idaho The NPNHP sites cover three main ecoregions. The first, found at the sites in the Palouse grasslands and Missouri Basin, is shortgrass prairie; these flat or rolling prairies include rivers and streams, have an altitude of about 1,000 to 3,500 feet. The second, found in the plateaus of the Columbia and Snake rivers, is sagebrush steppe at around 3,000 ft in altitude; the third, found in the sites in the Blue Mountains, Salmon River Mountains, southwestern Montana and northern Rocky Mountains, is conifer and alpine meadows.
These high-elevation sites have lower temperatures and greater precipitation than the other ecoregions. Numerous species of mammals, reptiles and invertebrates inhabit the various park sites. Several of these species are classified in terms of their status as "threatened," "endangered" or "sensitive" at the state level. Montana Arctic grayling, mountain plover, swift fox, great grey owl, boreal owl and several fish species are all sensitive species that inhabit the park, while gray wolf and bald eagles are sometimes seen. Managers of the park have several ecological concerns including issues of invasive plant species, the degradation of animal habitat due to human activity, the protection of endangered species, dealing with effects of climate change. "Master Plan Nez Perce National Historic Park". National Park Service. 1968. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Ted Catton. "Administrative History-Nez Perce National Historic Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. John Dishon McDermott. "Forlorn Hope-A Study of the Battle of White Bird Canyon Idaho and the Beginning of the Nez Perce Indian War".
National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Robert Applegate. "Museum Management Plan-Nez Perce National Historical Park". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-12-10. Official website
Yellowstone County, Montana
Yellowstone County is the most populous county in the U. S. state of Montana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 147,972, a 2017 estimate put the population at 158,980, its county seat is Billings. Yellowstone County is named for the Yellowstone River which bisects the county, flowing southwest to northeast; the river in turn was named after the yellow Sandstone cliffs in. Yellowstone County is included in MT Metropolitan Statistical Area, it is not adjacent to Yellowstone National Park. According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,649 square miles, of which 2,633 square miles is land and 16 square miles is water. Nez Perce National Historical Park Pompeys Pillar National Monument As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 129,352 people, 52,084 households, 34,219 families in the county; the population density was 49 people per square mile. There were 54,563 housing units at an average density of 21 per square mile; the racial makeup of the county was 92.78% White, 0.45% Black or African American, 3.05% Native American, 0.54% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.26% from other races, 1.87% from two or more races.
3.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 31.1% were of German, 10.4% Norwegian, 9.7% Irish, 9.3% English and 5.4% American ancestry. There were 52,084 households out of which 31.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.80% were married couples living together, 10.10% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.30% were non-families. 27.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.10% had someone living alone, 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98. The county population contained 25.50% under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 28.70% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, 13.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.60 males. The median income for a household in the county was $36,727, the median income for a family was $45,277. Males had a median income of $33,475 versus $21,566 for females.
The per capita income for the county was $19,303. About 8.50% of families and 11.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.50% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over. As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 147,972 people, 60,672 households, 38,367 families residing in the county; the population density was 56.2 inhabitants per square mile. There were 63,943 housing units at an average density of 24.3 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 90.7% white, 4.0% American Indian, 0.6% black or African American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.2% from other races, 2.8% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.7% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 32.4% were German, 14.0% were Irish, 11.3% were English, 10.0% were American, 9.9% were Norwegian. Of the 60,672 households, 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.0% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 36.8% were non-families, 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals.
The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.94. The median age was 38.3 years. The median income for a household in the county was $48,641 and the median income for a family was $62,380. Males had a median income of $42,899 versus $30,403 for females; the per capita income for the county was $26,152. About 7.9% of families and 11.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.6% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over. Yellowstone County voters have been reliably Republican for over a century, they selected the Democratic Party candidate in only one national election since 1940. Billings Laurel Broadview List of cemeteries in Yellowstone County, Montana List of lakes in Yellowstone County, Montana List of mountains in Yellowstone County, Montana National Register of Historic Places listings in Yellowstone County, Montana County website
Montana is a landlocked state in the Northwestern United States. Montana has several nicknames, although none are official, including "Big Sky Country" and "The Treasure State", slogans that include "Land of the Shining Mountains" and more "The Last Best Place". Montana is the 4th largest in area, the 8th least populous, the 3rd least densely populated of the 50 U. S. states. The western half of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller island ranges are found throughout the state. In all, 77 named; the eastern half of Montana is characterized by badlands. Montana is bordered by Idaho to the west, Wyoming to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota to the east, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan to the north; the economy is based on agriculture, including ranching and cereal grain farming. Other significant economic resources include oil, coal, hard rock mining, lumber; the health care and government sectors are significant to the state's economy. The state's fastest-growing sector is tourism.
Nearly 13 million tourists annually visit Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, the Beartooth Highway, Flathead Lake, Big Sky Resort, other attractions. The name Montana comes from the Spanish word Montaña, which in turn comes from the Latin word Montanea, meaning "mountain", or more broadly, "mountainous country". Montaña del Norte was the name given by early Spanish explorers to the entire mountainous region of the west; the name Montana was added to a bill by the United States House Committee on Territories, chaired at the time by Rep. James Ashley of Ohio, for the territory that would become Idaho Territory; the name was changed by Representatives Henry Wilson and Benjamin F. Harding, who complained Montana had "no meaning"; when Ashley presented a bill to establish a temporary government in 1864 for a new territory to be carved out of Idaho, he again chose Montana Territory. This time Rep. Samuel Cox of Ohio, objected to the name. Cox complained the name was a misnomer given most of the territory was not mountainous and that a Native American name would be more appropriate than a Spanish one.
Other names such as Shoshone were suggested, but it was decided the Committee on Territories could name it whatever they wanted, so the original name of Montana was adopted. Montana is one of the nine Mountain States, located in the north of the region known as the Western United States, it borders North South Dakota to the east. Wyoming is to the south, Idaho is to the west and southwest, three Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Saskatchewan, are to the north. With an area of 147,040 square miles, Montana is larger than Japan, it is the fourth largest state in the United States after Alaska and California. S. state. The state's topography is defined by the Continental Divide, which splits much of the state into distinct eastern and western regions. Most of Montana's 100 or more named mountain ranges are in the state's western half, most of, geologically and geographically part of the Northern Rocky Mountains; the Absaroka and Beartooth ranges in the state's south-central part are technically part of the Central Rocky Mountains.
The Rocky Mountain Front is a significant feature in the state's north-central portion, isolated island ranges that interrupt the prairie landscape common in the central and eastern parts of the state. About 60 percent of the state is part of the northern Great Plains; the Bitterroot Mountains—one of the longest continuous ranges in the Rocky Mountain chain from Alaska to Mexico—along with smaller ranges, including the Coeur d'Alene Mountains and the Cabinet Mountains, divide the state from Idaho. The southern third of the Bitterroot range blends into the Continental Divide. Other major mountain ranges west of the Divide include the Cabinet Mountains, the Anaconda Range, the Missions, the Garnet Range, Sapphire Mountains, Flint Creek Range; the Divide's northern section, where the mountains give way to prairie, is part of the Rocky Mountain Front. The front is most pronounced in the Lewis Range, located in Glacier National Park. Due to the configuration of mountain ranges in Glacier National Park, the Northern Divide crosses this region and turns east in Montana at Triple Divide Peak.
It causes the Waterton River and Saint Mary rivers to flow north into Alberta, Canada. There they join the Saskatchewan River, which empties into Hudson Bay. East of the divide, several parallel ranges cover the state's southern part, including the Gravelly Range, the Madison Range, Gallatin Range, Absaroka Mountains and the Beartooth Mountains; the Beartooth Plateau is the largest continuous land mass over 10,000 feet high in the continental United States. It contains Granite Peak, 12,799 feet high. North of these ranges are the Big Belt Mountains, Bridger Mountains, Tobacco Roots, several island ranges, including the Crazy Mountains and Little Belt Mountains. Between many mountain ranges are rich river valleys; the Big Hole Valley, Bitterroot Valley, Gallatin Valley, Flathead Valley, Paradise Valley have extensive agricultural resources and multiple opportunities for tourism and recreation. East and north of this transition zone are the expansive and sparsely populated Northern Plains, with tableland prairies, smaller island mountain ranges, badlands.
The isolated island ranges east of the Divide include the Bear Paw Mountains, Bull Mountains, Castle Mountains, Crazy Mountains, Highwood Mountains, Judi
Hell Creek Formation
The Hell Creek Formation is an intensively-studied division of Upper Cretaceous and some lower Paleocene rocks in North America, named for exposures studied along Hell Creek, near Jordan, Montana. The formation stretches over portions of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming. In Montana, the Hell Creek Formation overlies the Fox Hills Formation; the site of Pompeys Pillar National Monument is a small isolated section of the Hell Creek Formation. In 1966, the Hell Creek Fossil Area was designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service, it is a series of fresh and brackish-water clays and sandstones deposited during the Maastrichtian and Danian by fluvial activity in fluctuating river channels and deltas and occasional peaty swamp deposits along the low-lying eastern continental margin fronting the late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. The climate was mild, the presence of crocodilians suggests a sub-tropical climate, with no prolonged annual cold; the famous iridium-enriched Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, which separates the Cretaceous from the Cenozoic, occurs as a discontinuous but distinct thin marker bedding above and within the formation, near its boundary with the overlying Fort Union Formation.
The world's largest collection of Hell Creek fossils is housed and exhibited at the Museum of the Rockies, in Bozeman, Montana. The specimens displayed are the result of the museum's Hell Creek Project, a joint effort between the museum, Montana State University, the University of Washington, the University of California, the University of North Dakota, the University of North Carolina which began in 1998; the Hell Creek Formation in Montana overlies the Fox Hills Formation and underlies the Fort Union Formation, the boundary with the latter occurs near the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, which defines the end of the Cretaceous period and has been dated to 66 ± 0.07 Ma old. The 90 metres of deposit was created in about 2 million years. Fauna characteristic of the Hell Creek are found as high as a few meters below the boundary; the K-Pg boundary is situated near the contact between the upper Hell Creek and the lower Ludlow member of the Fort Union Formation, though in some areas the boundary is well within the Ludlow Member, 3 metres above the boundary with the Hell Creek in some areas.
On the other hand, in some small regions of Montana, the Hell Creek Formation contains the K-Pg boundary, extends into the Paleogene. The Tanis site in North Dakota contains evidence of what is proposed to be a record of the effects of the Chicxulub meteorite impact - such as the chaotic mixing of fossil carcasses and a layer of glass tektites with associated impact impressions - deposited minutes to hours after the impact. Many animals including dinosaurs lived in the Hell Creek Formation; the Hell Creek Formation has world-famous dinosaur fossil sites. Fossils are found of sea creatures from the recession and adjacent inland sea at that time. Vertebrates include dinosaurs, crocodiles, lizards, turtles and salamanders. Remains of fishes and mammals have been found in the Hell Creek Formation; the formation has produced impressive assemblages of invertebrates, mammals, reptiles, marine reptiles, amphibians. Notable dinosaur finds include Tyrannosaurus and Triceratops, ornithomimids as well, caenagnathids like Anzu, a variety of small theropods, pachycephalosaurs, ankylosaurs and squamates, including various animal fossils unearthed in the Hell Creek Formation.
The most complete hadrosaurid dinosaur found, an Edmontosaurus, was retrieved in 2000 from the Hell Creek Formation and publicized in a National Geographic documentary aired in December 2007. A few bird and pterosaur fossils have been found; the teeth of sharks and rays are sometimes found in the riverine Hell Creek Formation, suggesting that some of these taxa were as now, tolerant of fresh water. The "Lancian" fauna is more similar overall phylogenetically to East Asian and Canadian/Alaskan faunas than most Campanian North American faunas, it is a series of fresh and brackish-water clays and sandstones deposited during the Maastrichtian and Danian by fluvial activity in fluctuating channels and deltas and occasional peaty swamp deposits along the low-lying eastern continental margin fronting the late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. The Hell Creek Formation, as typified by exposures in the Fort Peck area of Montana, has been interpreted as a flat, forested floodplain with a subtropical climate that supported a variety of plants ranging from angiosperm trees to conifers such as the bald cypress and ginkgos.
The Hell Creek Formation was laid down by streams, on a coastal plain along the edge of the Western Interior Seaway. The presence of crocodilia suggests; the Hell Creek Formation, Lance Formation and Scollard Formation represent different sections of the western shore of the shallow sea that divided western and eastern North America during the Cretaceous. Swampy lowlands were the habitat including dinosaurs. A broad coastal plain extended westward from the seaway to the newly formed Rocky Mountains; these formations are composed of sandstone and mudstone which have been attributed to floodplain, lacustrine, swamp