The Hedstrom Lake area is located on the southwestern flank of the Williston basin, which is a major structural feature in eastern Montana and western North Dakota. Locally, the rocks have a structural high in T. 12 N., R. 47 E., a structural low in T. 18 N., R. 46 E., and a maximum structural relief of more than 700 ft.
The exposed rocks in most of the area are part of the Tongue River Member of the Paleocene Fort Union Formation. The Tongue River Member consists of interbedded siltstone, sandstone, shale, and coal. In ascending order, the five main or principal coal beds are the S, Haughins, R, Q, and Rogers. The S bed ranges in thickness from 0 to 11 ft. The Haughins bed is usually a single bed 2-10 ft thick; in the southern part of the area, it splits into two benches which have a total thickness of 12 ft. The R bed is thin in most of the area, but in the northern part it attains a thickness of 9 ft.. The Q bed occurs at about the same horizon as the Rogers bed, but the drilling control and surface mapping are insufficient for correlation. The Rogers bed has a maximum thickness of 17.1 ft in sec. 15, T. 13N., R. 47 E., but thins rapidly to the northwest.