The Baraboo District - A North American classic

L. Gordon Medaris, Robert H. Dott, John P. Craddock, Stephen Marshak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Baraboo District includes an exceptional array of outcrops that have provided geological enlightenment to students and professionals, alike, for 150 years. In the late nineteenth century, several fundamental structural principles were developed here, such as criteria for determining stratigraphic facing and the significance of cleavage-bedding relations. More recent studies of deformational features in the folded Baraboo Quartzite, such as crenulation cleavage and quartz fabrics, have yielded insights into the kinematics of folding in the District and the significance of regional tectonics in the context of the Proterozoic assembly of North America. Additional petrologic, geochemical, and isotopic studies have established the age of the Baraboo Quartzite (≤1700 Ma), identified a Paleoproterozoic weathering profile, confirmed the supermature composition of the Baraboo Quartzite, established the presence of geon 14 hydrothermal alteration, and elucidated the Proterozoic tectonothermal evolution of the District, all of which bear importantly on Proterozoic tectonic, atmospheric, and climatic conditions in the southern Lake Superior region. By Late Cambrian time, the Baraboo Quartzite was a ring of islands, which was abutted by spectacular conglomerates deposited by tropical storms. These were surrounded by more distal sandstones and were eventually buried by Ordovician dolomite and sandstone. During the field trip, we will visit eleven localities, which have been selected to illustrate the key geological features of this North American classic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-82
Number of pages20
JournalGSA Field Guides
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Stratigraphy
  • Palaeontology


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