Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School


First Advisor

Edward Patrick Hogan


This thesis is a systematic regional study of the Sandhills of South Dakota. The Sandhills of South Dakota occupy an area of slightly more than 400 square miles in south central South Dakota and are a northward extension of the much larger expanse of Nebraska Sandhills. Their distribution in South Dakota includes the southern portions of Shannon, Bennett, Todd, and Tripp counties. The Sandhills extend northward from the South Dakota-Nebraska border approximately five miles. Their east-west extent is some 100 miles. Sand dunes comprise the prevailing surface formation of the Sandhills. The dunes resulted from erosion of the underlying loosely cemented sandstone. The surface sand of the region is now largely stabilized by a covering of prairie grass. In small localized areas this grass covering has been removed, resulting in moving ·sand. A number of features make the Sandhills region unique· for South Dakota. Extensive dune sand is not found elsewhere in South Dakota. The numerous lakes of the Sandhills are a result of a high water table which lies exposed in many of the low-lying valleys. In the remainder of the region the water table lies only a few feet underground. Cattle ranching comprises the sole economic activity for the entire region. The purpose of the study is to provide a resource data base for further studies of and planning for the Sandhills of South Dakota. It will serve to provide the people of South Dakota and the nation with information and a greater understanding of the geography of the Sandhills. 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 Masters theses on the geography of South Dakota. Each of these theses will examine the geography of one of the thirteen physiographic divisions that exist within the state. This study is limited to the Sandhills of South Dakota. Geographic data of the upper Great Plains and surrounding areas are included only as they influence or explain phenomena in the study region.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Sand dunes -- South Dakota
Geography -- South Dakota



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State