Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Lee Opheim


This thesis is a systematic-area geographical analysis of the James River Highlands (figure 1). It is comprised of a ridge-bordered section of the James River located in the Southern-most part of the James River Basin. The Highlands is a teardrop shaped area approximately 35 miles in diameter. The James River Highlands consist of a group of three ridges, varying in elevation from 1, 255 to 1, 440. feet above sea level. The ridges consist of drift covered bedrock that partially block the southern end of the James River Basin. The three ridges are the most conspicuous features of the heavily dissected inter-valley areas still remaining. From east to west the Highlands are Turkey Ridge, James Ridge, and Yankton Ridge. All owe their prominence chiefly to the fact that they are underlain by the relatively resistant chalk and limestone of the Niobrara formation. The importance of this study is to provide a general data base for use in future studies of the area, as well as to provide information necessary for future planning of the area. The last known geographic study of the James River Highlands was conducted 65 years ago. This study is an attempt to update geographic understanding of the area in a contemporary study. The Department of Geography at South Dakota State University has adopted as a major goal of its graduate program the completion of a series of master's theses on the geography of South Dakota. Each of these theses will examine the geography of one of thirteen physiographic divisions that exist within the state. This will provide the people of South Dakota and the nation with a clearer understanding of the state's geographical patterns and conditions. It is important to remember that there are limitations involved with this study. Some of the information provided is in a sense general to eastern South Dakota and other areas of the state. The area known as the James River Highlands includes parts of Clay, Hutchinson, Turner, Yankton, and Bone Homme counties. However, because of the extremely small portion located in. Bon Homme County it is not included in the statistics utilized in this study.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

South Dakota -- Description and travel
Uplands -- James River (N.D. and S.D.)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University