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North Dakota Eclectics

Great Plains
The third in the three-step stairway crossing North Dakota is the Great Plains, which begin with a three to four hundred foot rise of the Missouri Escarpment onto what is known as the Missouri Plateau.

The glaciers that covered much of North Dakota did not extend far into the Missouri Plateau. The first glacier penetrated beyond the current location of the Missouri River, but the second glacier stopped shortly after it had climbed the Missouri Escarpment.

When the front edge of a glacier remains stationary, a large amount of drift is deposited, and this is what happened when the glacier reached a point slightly beyond the Missouri Escarpment. The result was a line of high hills, which are known as the Coteau du Missouri, extending from northwestern North Dakota across to the southeast, leaving the state in Dickey County. Several of these hills are quite high, and some are so close together that they run into one another, while others are separated by meadows and prairies. Plowing is difficult in much of the area due to a large amount of stones.

Black Butte, in Slope County, is 3,468 feet high, and the highest point in North Dakota. Sentinel Butte, in Golden Valley County, is 3,430 feet high.

There are lakes, but many of them have no outlets, causing the water to be bad, although some are fresh. There are very few trees, even along the lakes. There are very few rivers or streams. Those that are there flow into the Missouri River.

Of Interest