MONTANA, a State in the Western Division of the North American Union, bounded by British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Da kota, Wyoming, and Idaho, admitted to the Union, Nov. 8, 1889; number of coun ties, 50; area, 145,310 square miles; pop. (1890) 132,159; (1900) 243,329; (1910) 376,053; (1920) 548,889; capital, Helena.
Topography.—The surface of the State is highly diversified. In the W. it is extremely mountainous. The Bitter Root Mountains from the W. boundary line, and E. of this the main chain of the Rocky Mountains cross the State. Be tween these ranges is a great basin, forming one-fifth of the entire area. E. of the Rocky Mountains is a rolling tableland, traversed by several large rivers. In the S. near the Yellowstone river the mountains reach an altitude of 10,000 feet and the peaks are perpetually covered with snow. Besides the prom inent mountain ranges there are many spurs, detached ridges, and smooth, slop ing buttes. The mountains are inter sected by numerous valleys and canons, through which flow most beautiful rivers. The highest point in the State, Emi grant Peak, is 10,969 feet high, and Mount Powell is 10,500 feet high. The principal river systems in Montana are the Shoshone, the Missouri, and the Yel lowstone. The Shoshone rises in the Rocky Mountains in the S. part of the State, and after flowing W. turns N. and forms portion of the Idaho boundary. The Missouri river, formed by the Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin rivers crosses the N. E. part of the State and enters North Dakota. The Yellowstone, a tributary of the Missouri, rises in the Yellowstone Park in Wyoming, flows N. E. across the State through grand canons and gorges, and enters the Missouri, a few miles E. of the North Dakota boundary.
Geology.—The geological formations are separated into five distinct belts. In the extreme W. the Eozoic period pre dominates; this is followed by the Silu rian, Jurassic, Cretaceous, and Ter tiary extending E. in the order named. The Rocky Mountains are principally of igneous origin, and are made up of granite, basalt and metamorphic rocks, and at the base of the mountains are strata of Jurassic and Carboniferous rocks. Near the Missouri river fossil re
mains of sea serpents, snakes, snails, and petrified tree trunks abound.
Mineralogy.—Montana is one of the most important mineral-producing States. It is second in the production of copper, second also in the production of silver. Copper production began on an impor tant scale in 1880 and has steadily in creased since. The entire output is fur nished by the Butte district. The gold production has been falling off in recent years from the deep mines, but the placer mines have shown an increase. Lead and zinc are produced in important quanti ties. The State has important coal pro duction. The fields are widely scattered and the coal ranges from lignite to good grade of bituminous coal. Montana is among the first of the States in the pro duction of precious stones. Other min eral products are cement, clay manufac tures, iron ore, mineral waters. etc. The copper production in 1918 was 326,426, 761 pounds, compared with 276,225,977 pounds in 1917. The silver production in 1918 was 15,341,793 fine ounces, valued at $15,341,793. The gold production was 153,375 fine ounces, valued at $3,170,600. The coal production in 1918 was 4,276, 000 tons, an increase of about 50,000 tons over the production of 1917.
Soil and Prodvetions.—The soil under proper irrigation, excepting in the moun tain district, becomes quite fertile, and useful for agricultural purposes. The mountains are well covered with forests of willow, cottonwood, poplar, pine, spruce, fir, cedar, and balsam. There is little or no hardwood timber in the State. The valleys afford excellent grazing facil ities and the "bunch grass," which cov ers the hillsides and plains, makes ex cellent fodder for cattle. The production and value of the principal crops in 1919 were as follows: corn, 1,728,000 bushels, valued at $2,851,000; oats, 6,120,000 bushels, valued at $5,569,000; wheat, 10,729,000 bushels, valued at $25,214,000; hay. 827,000 tons, valued at $19,021,000.