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Nebraska Geologic Map

Geologic Maps of the 50 United States

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Nebraska is old in the east and young in the west. (more below)
Nebraska's rocks

Created by Andrew Alden from the U.S. Geological Survey's Geologic Map of the United States, 1974, by Philip King and Helen Beikman (fair use policy)

Click the map for a larger version
Along the eastern edge of Nebraska, defined by the Missouri River, is ancient sedimentary rock of Pennsylvanian (gray) and Permian (blue) age. The famous coals of Pennsylvanian rocks are almost absent here. Cretaceous rocks (green) occur mainly in the east, but also are exposed in the valleys of the Missouri and Niobrara rivers in the north, the White River in the extreme northwest and the Republican River in the south. Almost all of these are marine rocks, laid down in shallow seas.

The majority of the state is of Tertiary (Cenozoic) age and terrigenous origin. A few slivers of Oligocene rocks crop out in the west, as do larger areas of Miocene (pale tan), but most is of Pliocene age (yellow). The Oligocene and Miocene rocks are freshwater lake beds ranging from limestone to sandstone, the sediment derived from the rising Rockies to the west. They include large volcanic ash beds from eruptions in present-day Nevada and Idaho. The Pliocene rocks are sandy and limy deposits; the Sand Hills in the west-central part of the state derive from these.

The thick green lines in the east mark the western limit of the great Pleistocene glaciers. In these areas glacial till overlies the old rock: blue clay, then thick beds of loose gravel and boulders, with occasional buried soils where once forests grew.

More about Nebraska Geology

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