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Kansas rocks

In 1541 the Spanish traveler Coronado do the very first European observation about Kansas geology--there was no gold. Because that time rocks and also minerals have actually played one integral component in the state"s history. The earliest occupants of Kansas, American Indians, used aboriginal flint to fashion your arrowheads and also spearpoints; they offered chunks of aboriginal sandstone to grind your grain; they even mined native clay to do their pottery. The first white residents, moving into Kansas 300 year after Coronado, quarried limestones to build their houses and also dug coal because that heating and cooking. Through the rotate of the century, Kansans were mining whatever from salt come gypsum, lead and zinc, oil and also natural gas, and also even floor water for irrigation.

In short, Kansas residents have long been interested in their state"s geology. That is partly because of geology"s financial importance. Rocks are the resource for the multibillion dollar mineral sector in Kansas. Various other Kansans are interested in rocks and also minerals since of your intrinsic beauty, your appearance. The complying with chapter explains Kansas rocks: where they are found, just how they to be formed, what they space composed of, and also how we use them today. To begin, we need to answer a simple question: what is a rock?


A rock is any type of naturally occurring mass that develops a part of the earth"s crust. Together a mass might consist the sediments and also particles (sand, gravel, clay, or volcanic ash, for example) and also solid product (limestone, sandstone, granite, etc.). A rock normally is written of one or much more minerals. Rocks take place in three key types, each of which was created in a different way. These species are igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks.

Igneous rocks have actually been developed by the cooling and also hardening of molten absent material. Igneous rocks therefore are those that have actually been cook to melt temperatures, creating magma, and also then have cooled and hardened or solidified, as black cindery absent is formed by the cooling of lava. Part rocks have actually been developed by sluggish cooling of molten products beneath the surface of the earth. This slow-moving cooling enables time because that relatively big mineral crystals to form, and the result rocks are referred to as "coarsely crystalline." Rocks that have actually cooled quickly on or close to the surface of the earth do no have huge crystals and also are stated to it is in "finely crystalline" or "glassy."

Sedimentary rocks are formed by wearing down and also dissolving other rocks into tiny bits or particles of assorted sizes and also by later deposition or laying under of these particles. Together deposits, do of the broken-down substance of preexisting rocks, are dubbed clastic rocks. Two other crucial varieties that sedimentary rocks exist-chemical sediments (which room nonelastic) and deposits of necessary origin. The chemistry deposits encompass gypsum, salt beds, some limestone, part quartz-containing rocks such together cherts, some iron ores, and some carbonate spring deposits such as travertine. The organically created deposits include numerous limestones, diatomaceous earth, countless iron ores, and coal.

These deposits might be laid down on the sea floor, follow me stream and river valleys, in lakes or ponds, top top the land surface by the activity of wind or gravity, and around the edges of and also under glaciers. When an initial deposited, this sediments generally are loose or unconsolidated, however many the them space hardened right into solid rocks through the weight of materials over them or through the cementing action of mineral substances deposited between the grains.

Clastic sedimentary rocks are named according come the dimension of the particles they contain. Loose sediments in i beg your pardon the grains are really fine may be silt, mud, or clay. Corpuscle slightly bigger than clay dimension are dubbed silt; those bigger than silt are dubbed sand; and also so it goes indigenous pebbles, come cobbles, to boulders. That course, the sizes may be mixed, and clays and also sands might be found in the exact same deposit through boulders, but the absent is called for the particle size the is predominant.

Metamorphic rocks are those created by adjust in igneous or sedimentary rocks. This change, or metamorphism, is the result of great heat, pressure, or activity of some usually hot mineral solution. With metamorphism, limestones become marble, shales become slate, and also sandstones become quartzites.

Of the 3 main varieties of rocks, sedimentary rocks space by far the most common in Kansas. In fact, almost all the surface exposures that the state covers this type. The exceptions room several small areas that igneous rocks in Riley County and two areas of igneous and also metamorphic rocks in Woodson County. Plenty of pebbles and boulders the igneous or metamorphic rocks are found in Kansas, however they space not aboriginal to the state. Lock were formed elsewhere and also brought to Kansas by ice cream or water and now are considered parts the sedimentary deposits.

All rocks ~ above or near the surface of the earth are experience weathering. This weathering causes changes in the rock and also a break down into smaller fragments. It might be caused by alters in temperature; by chemical action between the absent minerals and the air, floor water, or plants; or by other factors. The impacts of weathering have the right to be checked out on the surface of rocks that have actually been exposed to the atmosphere. The weathered surfaces generally have a shade different from that of unweathered or new surfaces, and one should be very careful to find the true shade of the unaltered rock beneath the weathered outer surface.

Sedimentary rocks

Limestone and dolomite

Limestone and also dolomite are two an extremely closely connected rocks. The former, in a pure state, consists of grains and also crystals of the mineral calcite, and also the last of the mineral dolomite (which is calcite v some magnesium added). For this reason the term dolomite is supplied for both the mineral and also the rock.

Calcite is composed of calcium carbonate and also is one of the most common minerals known. The mineral dolomite is made of calcium magnesium carbonate and likewise is fairly common. These two minerals are frequently found with each other in the same deposits, and whether the rock is classed together a limestone, a dolomitic limestone, or a dolomite counts on the relationship of every mineral. The 2 minerals deserve to be called apart by the method dilute hydrochloric (muriatic) mountain reacts top top each. Cold dilute hydrochloric acid will certainly bubble and also fizz as soon as it is placed on limestone. In bespeak to reaction in the same manner v dolomite, the hydrochloric acid have to be cook or the dolomite must be powdered.

Fort Riley Limestone Member and also Underlying Limestone Formations in Geary County.


In surface exposures, dolomite is uncovered in southeastern Kansas and in particular rocks that Permian age, which take place in the central part the the state. Limestone, top top the various other hand, is really widespread. Plenty of of the rocks of east Kansas consist of of nearly pure limestones. In the central and western parts of the state, limestone is not quite so common, although extensive deposits of chalk, a form of limestone, are found.


Pure limestones space white or nearly white. Since of impurities such together clay, sand, necessary remains, steel oxide, and also other materials, countless limestones exhibit different colors, specifically on weathered surfaces. Limestone may be crystalline, clastic, granular, or dense, depending upon the technique of formation, and also crystals that calcite, quartz, or dolomite might line small cavities or geodes in the rock. Chert balls or nodules and also stringers are usual in limestone layers, particularly in the Florence limestone that Permian age, which plants out in the Flint Hills area indigenous Marshall county southward come Cowley and Chautauqua counties.

Most limestones are marine deposits, but some are created in lakes, in rivers, and also on land. Kansas has plenty of different ranges of limestones together spring deposits or together caliche beds. These are defined separately regarding occurrence and origin.

Limestone is used in make Portland cement, and the alternating limestone and shale beds of eastern Kansas space a an excellent source the the 2 chief ingredient of the cement. Portland cement is made in Allen, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson, and also Wyandotte counties. Limestone likewise is provided in the building and construction of roads and railroads, as a structure stone, as a floor fertilizer, together a resource of lime in chemicals, and in countless other ways. Chalk, one type of limestone, is one ingredient in paints and also polishes.

Cement Plant near Humboldt in Allen County.


Limestones consisting largely of animal shells

The shells of plenty of animals, those that live either in the sea or in freshwater, covers calcite and also the mineral aragonite, which also is written of calcium carbonate. When the animals die, their shells space left on the ocean floor, lake bottom, or river bed where they may accumulate right into thick deposits.

Crinoidal limestones--Crinoids room sea pets having lengthy stems and cuplike bodies the look so much like flowers the they are dubbed sea lilies. The tribe break right into small, disc-shaped fragments. Some limestones that the Pennsylvanian and also Permian rocks the Kansas contain so numerous of this stem fragments that the term crinoidal limestone explains them well. These are found generally in eastern Kansas. The Cretaceous Niobrara Chalk in a couple of localities in western Kansas consists of beautiful specimens that stemless crinoids, in i m sorry both the bodies and the lengthy arms are excellently preserved.

Fusulinid Limestones--One group of the single-celled pets called Foraminifera is known as the fusulinids. These little animals, whose shells look favor grains the wheat, to be abundant during the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods, and also many of the rocks of those periods are almost solid masses that fusulinid shells. Both limestones and also shales save multitudes the these pet shells.

Reeflike Limestones and also Shell Limestones--Many limestones save the shells not only of crinoids and fusulinids, but additionally of corals, brachiopods, clams, oysters, bryozoans, and other forms. Some of the animals lived in colonies, and also the remains developed lens-shaped or elongate deposits, i m sorry sometimes grew to number of hundred feet in thickness and hundreds of mile in length. However, those in Kansas were lot smaller. Reeflike bodies in eastern and southeastern Kansas were developed by limy mud trapped by leaflike knives of marine algae. (One limestone development in Labette County has a reeflike structure at the very least 12 mile long and also 13 feet thick.) small colonies or groups of fossil shells in part formations measure just a foot in diameter.

Limestones developed partly through chemical processes

Calcium carbonate is an ext soluble in water that has carbon dioxide than in pure water, and when the carbon dioxide is eliminated for any reason, the calcium carbonate falls out of solution and also settles come the bottom. Plants remove carbon dioxide indigenous the water by making use of it in their food. As soon as the water is heated, evaporated, or merely stirred, the carbon dioxide contents is decreased and also limestone is deposited.

Algal Limestone--Algae are primitive plants; most seaweeds and also pond scums room algae. They may live in seawater or freshwater. Prefer all plants, they usage carbon dioxide come manufacture food and when the carbon dioxide originates from water include calcium carbonate, the calcium carbonate might be precipitated. The limestone the results commonly takes top top the kind of algae or teams of algae and may kind irregularly shaped, banded structures. Approximately fifty percent the limestones of the Pennsylvanian and also Permian rocks of eastern Kansas space at the very least partly created by algae. Particularly great exposures have the right to be checked out in Johnson and also Brown counties and in the Flint Hills.

Oolitic Limestones--Oolites are little rounded particles or grains, therefore named since they look prefer fish eggs. Oolites commonly are created by class of material, commonly calcite, that have actually been deposited around some tiny particle such together a sand serial or fossil fragment and then developed by rolling back and soon in quiet waters. Once the grains formed by this an approach are more than two millimeters in diameter (about the size of the head the a pin), they are referred to as pisolites.

Many limestones in Kansas, specifically limestones that Pennsylvanian age, save on computer oolites. Castle are specifically noticeable in Johnson, Miami, Linn, Bourbon, and Labette counties, and near the communities of Independence and also Cherryvale in Montgomery County. Rocks that Permian and also younger age in Kansas carry out not contain many oolites; hence, many outcrops the oolitic limestone are uncovered in the eastern third of the state. Few of the oolites may be of algal origin.

Chalk--Chalk is a range of limestone that more than likely was formed in either or both of two ways. Component of the limestone is the buildup of shells the the small, single-celled pets called Foraminifera. The remainder of the limestone resulted mostly from chemistry precipitation the calcium carbonate. Pure chalk is white, but it may be stained with iron oxide or other impurities. The is a soft, porous rock that crumbles easily.

In the top Cretaceous rocks of western Kansas, a chalk and also chalky shale formation, the Niobrara, crops out in an rarely often rare belt indigenous Smith and Jewell counties on the northeast come Finney and Logan counties ~ above the southwest. In shade the absent is gray come cream yet weathers white, yellow, or orange. The typical thickness the the whole formation consisting of pure chalk and also chalky shale is around 600 feet.

Chalk is abundant in west-central Kansas and also is together representative the Kansas geology as the sunflower and the cottonwood tree are of the state"s tree life or the meadowlark and buffalo room of the animal kingdom. Furthermore, chalk has actually been a component of the Kansas an ar not because that centuries but for thousands of centuries.

Kansas chalk beds are recognized the human being over for the reptilian and also other vertebrate fossils discovered in them, and also they room equally famed for the pinnacles, spires, and odd-shaped masses formed by chalk remnants in countless localities. Specifically notable room Monument Rocks and also Castle rock in gove County and the chalk bluffs follow me the Smoky Hill river in Logan, Gove, and Trego counties.

Castle absent in gave County.


Diatomaceous Marl--This absent is important not since of the calcium carbonate it contains, but since of the diatoms: tiny, single-celled creatures the have qualities of both plants and also animals and have outer shells the silica. As soon as diatoms die, your shells settle to the bottom that the lake or sea and accumulate. In the Ogallala formation of Wallace and Logan counties are deposits of white marl containing many shells that these tiny diatoms. The deposits deserve to be checked out plainly from a distance wherein they crop out follow me the southern side the a sink for around four miles. Outcrops that diatomaceous marl also are uncovered in Meade and Seward counties and also elsewhere in west Kansas. The marl can be mined and also used because that filtering water or various other solutions and as a filler in paints and other products.

Travertine--Travertine is created along streams, particularly where there room waterfalls, and around warm or cold springs. Calcium lead carbonate is deposited since evaporation the the water leaves a systems that is supersaturated v chemical ingredient of calcite. Travertine is a banded and more or less compact range of limestone. A an excellent deposit of travertine in Kansas was once found around Waconda feather in Mitchell County, wherein the mineral in the feather water gradually constructed a hill that travertine 42 feet high and also 300 feet in diameter. The travertine the Waconda Spring, now covered through the waters of glenn Elder Reservoir, was created chiefly that the mineral aragonite, one unusual form of calcium carbonate.

Waconda Spring, currently Covered by glen Elder Reservoir, in Mitchell County.


Tufa, a porous or cellular variety of travertine is discovered near waterfalls. Such deposits have actually been reported in Riley, Wabaunsee, Geary, Meade, and also Butler counties, and also they occur in many an ext places.

Caliche--Caliche is a type of calcite-cemented sandstone that creates in the soils of dried regions. The is normally impure (clayey, silty, sandy) and reasonably soft, although very old caliche might be very hard. Part caliche is composed only of small nodules, such as the Loess Kindchen in wind-blown silt, but also occurs as a consistent bed that deserve to be traced for plenty of miles. The pisolitic limestone near the surface of the High levels in western Kansas is such a bed. This thick limestone (formerly called "algal") has a distinctive structure and can be known by the pinkish color, banded appearance, and also concentric areas. The was created after the near of Tertiary time as soon as the climate to be drier 보다 it is now.


Dolomites room fine- come coarse-grained rocks that, in the unweathered state, are typically gray to irradiate colored. On weathering castle may come to be buff or tan because of impurities that generally consist of iron in ~ or in between the dolomite crystals or of tiny amounts of pyrite, siderite, or marcasite. Dolomites might be developed by the same procedures as limestones such as chemical precipitation, or periodically by breakdown and redeposition of larger dolomites. They additionally are converted from limestone by a process appropriately called dolomitization. This requires the instead of of calcium by magnesium. The change may take it place prior to or after ~ the rock has been solidified and also is brought about by the activity of seawater, ground water, or hot mineral water.

Among the surface rocks that Kansas, dolomite is uncovered chiefly in three formations in the main and southern part of the state. One formation (the stone Corral dolomite) has a best thickness of about six feet in Rice County. An additional formation (Day Creek Dolomite), found in Clark County, is about two and also a fifty percent feet thick. This formations to be deposited in the attached evaporating basin of the Permian sea, as evidenced by the presence of lot anhydrite, one evaporite deposit in the subsurface rocks. A thick dolomite additionally is discovered in the southern Flint Hills. Dolomite is used in ways comparable to the of limestone.

Mortar beds in the Ogallala formation at Scott ar State Lake.



Clay is among the most usual earth building materials in Kansas. The is a very fine grained material that have the right to be molded right into shapes and also can be heated or baked into hard, resistant creates that have plenty of uses.

The particles in a clay deposit are so little (less 보다 1/256 mm in diameter) the they cannot be checked out without a microscope. Formed by weathering and also breaking down of heavy rocks, this particles may then be lugged to part quiet human body of water, such together a lake or pond or the sea, whereby they clear up to the bottom. Clay particles space made the several species of minerals, many of which are small, platy flakes. The deposits formed may have nearly any color--white, gray, black, red, yellow, buff, or green. Countless clay deposits contain impurities such as sand, calcium carbonate (the chemical compound that develops limestones), and also iron minerals.

Clays and shales are supplied in do bricks, tiles, pottery, chemical ware, heating system linings, and lightweight concrete aggregates. In Kansas, the finest deposits of refractory clays--those that can withstand firing in ~ high temperatures--are in rocks the Cretaceous age in Washington, Clay, Cloud, Lincoln, Ottawa, Ellsworth, and other main Kansas counties. Thousands of loads of these Cretaceous clays are used each year in the produce of light-colored confront bricks, and smaller quantities are supplied in do pottery.

Bentonite is a clay developed by chemical modification of volcanic ash. As soon as water is included to it, bentonite may swell come as much as 15 times its original bulk and form a milky cloud in the water. Most Kansas bentonites swell, when wet, to much less than three times their original volume. Some bentonites can be determined by your waxy or soapy appearance. Numerous deposits are known in western Kansas, the thickest in Phillips County. Very thin layers deserve to be seen at McAllaster Buttes in Logan County, and also a thin layer occurs in places over the volcano ash in the Calvert ash mine in Norton County. Other thin deposits space interbedded through the chalks and also chalky shales in west Kansas, and also a particularly pure bed is situated in Clark County.

Underclay is a clay that occurs under a charcoal bed or under a charcoal horizon. This clay, generally defined by absence of bedding, frequently contains fossilized roots of plants and other carbonaceous material. Underclay is current under many of the coal beds in southeastern Kansas; in Cherokee ar it is used in the produce of buff brick. Few of the underclays are an ideal for firing in ~ high temperatures.

Brick Plant near Kanopolis in Ellsworth County.



A hardened, compacted clay or silty clay that commonly (but no in every case) breaks along bedding airplane is referred to as shale. The particles that consist of a shale are too small to be seen without a microscope. Plenty of shales have actually a leaflike bedding and also weather right into thin slabs or plates, few of which room no thicker than paper. As soon as shales weather, they kind clays or muds.

Shales and also clays are conveniently eroded, or worn away. In turn the best exposures are uncovered beneath ledges the harder, an ext resistant rocks, such as limestones and sandstones. Many shales are soft enough to be reduced with a knife and also are one of two people brittle or crumbly. They are usually gray, however black, green, red, or buff shales room common. Numerous contain nodules of pyrite, selenite (gypsum) crystals, or concretions of miscellaneous forms, i beg your pardon are defined in other sections of this booklet.

Shale and also clay with each other make up around 80% of the sedimentary rocks of the earth"s crust. In Kansas castle are very common. Dark-gray to black color Cretaceous shales, hundreds of feet thick, are typical in the west-central component of the state. Lot of the shale found in Pennsylvanian rocks is interbedded v layers of limestone. Shale in east Kansas has actually been supplied for plenty of years in do bricks. When heated its color transforms to popular "brick-red." Shale additionally is used blended with limestone for making Portland cement.

Dark-Black Shale in the ft Scott formation in Crawford County; Round features are Marble-Sized Nodules the Phosphate.


In details eastern counties, particularly Labette and also Neosho, are numerous black, platy shales the contain huge amounts of necessary matter. Some are so affluent in this product that thin slivers may be collection on fire through a match; they are a form of oil shale.

Some black, really thin bedded shales often are dubbed slate because they have actually the same color as plenty of slates and because they break right into thin, hard, platy sheets. Slate, however, is a metamorphic rock, created when shale is put under great heat and pressure, and also no true slate occurs normally in Kansas.

Silt and also siltstone

Some of the finest and also thickest soils in the people are created in the upper component of special deposits the loess. Together wind moves small particles only, a soil emerged in a deposit that this type is cost-free from boulders and pebbles. Loess deposits have been gathered by successive dust storms. Much more than 90% that the soil in Thomas, Sherman, Cheyenne, Greeley, Hamilton, Wichita, Scott, Lane, and other west counties is composed of the upper part of these loess deposits. In Ford, Grant, Gray, Haskell, Kiowa, Meade, and Stevens counties in southwestern Kansas, loess deposits likewise are widespread. In short, those dust storms past and present, i m sorry we think about as damaging come the state, have actually helped to offer us one of our most an useful resources--a rich, abundant soil.

Loess Canyon in Cheyenne County.


In northeastern Kansas a really rich soil has developed on the loess, specifically in Brown and Doniphan counties and along the bluffs the the Missouri river as much south together Kansas City. This loess is current on the hilltops and also slopes and in the valleys. That is thickest in a strip about two miles large bordering the Missouri River and in Doniphan county in the area the the big bend that the Missouri River. ~ above the river bluffs the loess is 60-100 feet thick. Farther native the flow it might be no an ext than five feet thick. This loess that northeastern Kansas is the fine product ground through the proceeding ice sheet and also deposited top top the flood levels by streams coming from the melt glaciers. The product was later operated over by winds. The is thought that most of the loess in northeastern Kansas was laid down more than 50,000 year ago.

Consolidated or compacted silt is recognized as siltstone. This rock might be uncovered as thin, slabby beds in many of the Pennsylvanian formations of eastern Kansas. Plenty of siltstones and fine sandstones save on computer layers rich in small flakes that mica i m sorry glitter in the sun. The mica is concentrated along the bedding planes wherein the rocks break easily.

Sands and sandstone

Sands room loose, unconsolidated rocks having particle sizes between those of silt and also pebbles (1/16-2 mm). When organized together by chemistry cement or by clay, they are dubbed sandstones. These rocks result from the breaking down or weathering of enlarge rocks and also from the transportation and sorting of rock pieces by moving water or by wind.

Sand is discovered abundantly in Kansas. Many of it is composed of seed of quartz, yet some the it contains a large amount of feldspar. Sand also contains traces of rare igneous and also metamorphic minerals formed exterior the state and also carried in, together with the various other grains, by to run water. Sand occurs practically everywhere follow me the large stream valleys in the state; in areas of old glacial drainage or outwash, particularly near Atchison in Atchison County; or in good deposits that wind-blown sand in dunes follow me the Arkansas river in Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, Ford, Kiowa, Edwards, Pratt, Pawnee, Stafford, Barton, Clark, and also Reno counties. Also loose sand is found in parts of the Tertiary Ogallala formation along old river deposits in western Kansas.

Outcrop the Sandstone in the Dakota Formation, Ellsworth County.


Sandstones, like sand, consist greatly of quartz grains, yet sandstones are hosted together through some herbal cement or procession such together calcium carbonate, iron oxide, silica cement, or clay, and also the rocks deserve to be classified according to the type of cement.

Sandstone wake up interbedded with shale and limestone in the eastern part of the state. In Pottawatomie, Wabaunsee, Nemaha, Brown, Jackson, Riley, Shawnee, Lyon, Greenwood, Cowley, and Chautauqua counties, the occurs as channel store cutting with shale and limestone. Most of this sandstone is buff or brownish in color, and also some is cemented by stole oxide. Sandstone of the Dakota development is present in the Smoky Hill an ar in north-central Kansas in a vast belt expanding from Rice and McPherson counties come Washington County. Much of the is cemented through dark-brown steel oxide and also is so resistant to erosion that it cap steep hills. This Dakota sandstone additionally forms the large concretions at rock City close to Minneapolis and also at Mushroom Rocks State Park.

Sandstone Concretions at absent City, Ottawa County.


In the same an ar are some little areas where the sandstone is cemented by calcite (calcium carbonate) in crystals so large that broad areas the the rock reflect light in a manner well-known as "luster-mottling." This absent is sometimes called "quartzite" because it is an extremely hard, yet it is not a true quartzite. True quartzites space cemented through a kind of quartz frequently called silica. Soft, crumbly sandstones of Cretaceous age type cliffs and also box canyons in small areas in Kiowa, Comanche, and also Clark counties. Iron-oxide cement in this sandstone (the Cheyenne) produce a wide range of colors, consisting of yellow, assorted bright reds, purple, and brown. Bright-red, fine-grained sandstones the Permian age crop out in picturesque canyons in south-central Kansas.

At the surface, the most usual rock in the Ogallala development of Tertiary period in western Kansas is sandstone cemented by really fine grained calcium carbonate. This rock is porous and the particles space poorly sorted. The looks lot like concrete and also is popularly known as mortar beds. Good outcrops of the mortar beds take place at Scott ar State Lake and cap allude of Rocks in Morton County. Hard, dense, gray-green sandstone likewise is found in some components of the Ogallala, particularly in southern Phillips County, but also in Graham, Hodgeman, Ness, Norton, Rawlins, Rooks, and Smith counties. This rock has actually an opal cement and also therefore is referred to as opaline sandstone or ortho-quartzite. The is sometimes used as a building material, and good examples are current in a Hill City park.

Ogallala formation in Rawlins County.


Sands and sandstones are supplied in making glass, as building materials (mainly in concrete), together filters, and also for make molds in foundries. The supply along the larger rivers is abundant, although several of the deposits room impure.

Gravel and also conglomerate

The ax "gravel" in lay state usually way a rock written of particles varying from sand come pebble dimension or larger (2-64 mm). Gravel deposits vary substantially in mineral composition, size, shape, and color. Glacial-outwash gravels take place in northeastern Kansas. Present gravels underlie the High levels in the western part of the state. In the Flint Hills section and also in southeastern Kansas space gravels that consist mostly of simply one mineral, chert or flint, which weathered from Paleozoic limestones. This brown, hard, resistant gravels commonly cap the uplands in Anderson, Cowley, Elk, Greenwood, Lyon, Morris, Wabaunsee, Geary, Riley, Pottawatomie, and also Marshall counties.

The gravels native the continental glaciers, and also those gravels in the western component of the state that come from the Rocky Mountains, are fantastic sources of countless rocks and also minerals that room not found in ar in the sedimentary rocks cropping the end in Kansas. Among these are feldspar, agate, clear transparent quartz, aboriginal copper, granite, basalt (a dark, fine-grained igneous rock), and also other igneous rocks.

Conglomerate is a hardened, normally cemented gravel and, prefer sand, silt, and clay, has been formed by the breaking under of enlarge rocks and also by later on redeposition. Typically it is found interbedded with layers the sandstone. It additionally occurs in ~ the base of many Pennsylvanian formations, as for instance near the town of Baldwin in Douglas County. Local little areas of difficult conglomerate are uncovered in countless gravel pits in Tertiary and Pleistocene deposits. Conglomerate and also gravel are used in making concrete, in surfacing roads, and also as railroad ballast.

Boulder clay

Boulder clay is very varied deposit consisting, together the surname suggests, of particles of all sizes from big boulders come clay. That is a common product that glacial action and is often called glacial till. Therefore, boulder clay is uncovered only in the northeastern ar of Kansas, the only part of the state that has been glaciated. Boulder clay forms low, rounded, rojo hills extended with loess, soil, and vegetation. Subsequently very few good outcrops occur. The boulders and also pebbles which have been carried by ice cream from both local and also distant rocks space of many different types.

They encompass limestone, sandstone, quartzite, granite, basalt, and also many others. The quartzite boulders space hard, red rocks and their nearest resource is southeastern south Dakota, an ext than 400 mile away. Most of these rocks have been deep weathered due to the fact that they were left by the melting of the ice sheet. Often they have actually been weathering so lot that a "hard" granite can be crumbled with bare hands. Few of the quartzite, however, is therefore hard and also well preserved that it can not be broken with a hammer. Top top close examination, some pebbles and boulders are seen to have actually been scratched and also polished native rubbing versus other rocks in the ice.

Glacial Erratic near Vermillion in Marshall County.


Glacial it rotates conceals the bedrock over much of the glaciated region. This is among the factors that northeastern Kansas to be overlooked so long in prospecting because that oil and also gas. However, the thick deposits that boulder clay have developed deep soils, especially an excellent for fruit crops. Furthermore, the streams cutting their valleys right into the unconsolidated glacial material have developed a form of scenery the is not uncovered in various other parts of the state.


Rocks created by the evaporation of water are well-known as evaporites. This evaporation may take place either in shallow containers on the land or in the sea. However, the rocks that were laid under under the sea form the more thick and an ext widespread deposits. Kansas rocks developed in this method include shop of gypsum, anhydrite, and common salt or halite.

Seawater consists of many salt in solution. These are brought into the oceans by rivers, which are continually wearing down or eroding floor surfaces and dissolving the salts. When seawater evaporates, the salts precipitate and also settle come the bottom. The less-soluble compounds, those that dissolve much less readily in water, are deposited first during the evaporation process. Calcium sulfate, the link that develops gypsum and anhydrite, is amongst the the very least soluble and consequently is among the an initial deposited after dolomite. Following in order of solubility and also hence in deposition is sodium chloride, or common table salt.

The Permian sea, in i beg your pardon evaporites were deposited in Kansas, to be a shallow eight of the ocean that to be shut turn off from the key body of water by some barrier, maybe land areas in Oklahoma and Texas. The price of evaporation was higher than the merged inflow that water from the ocean and also from rainfall and as evaporation continued, the salts of the s water became more and more concentrated. Occasionally more water native the s came into the Kansas sea, and also this consequently was evaporated. Progressively thick shop of gypsum, anhydrite, and also salt were gathered on the sea bottom. These were buried by later deposits that Permian age and then through younger rocks.

Evaporite store are explained more completely under the separate mineral name gypsum, anhydrite, and halite. Castle are really common in Kansas, specifically in the main and western components of the state, and also they have plenty of uses.

The evaporites developed on the land space neither so thick nor so common as those created under the sea. However, at various locations in Kansas, specifically in northeastern Stafford County and also near jamestown in Cloud County, salt flats sometimes form. These an outcome from the equipment of gypsum or halite by floor water that later on evaporated once it reached the surface and left the gypsum and salt deposited on or close to the optimal of the ground. Gypsum deposit in this method looks like dark granular earth and also is called gypsite or "gypsum dirt."

Gypsum Plant close to Blue Rapids in Marshall County.



Quartzite is a absent consisting that quartz sandstone so completely cemented through silica the the absent breaks through the grains as conveniently as about them. It is differentiated from sandstone no only since it breaks with the grains, but additionally because it can not be scratched by a knife. Quartzites may be one of two people metamorphic or sedimentary in origin, and the two types are so similar in appearance that in many situations they can not be differentiated without a microscope. Kansas has little quantities that both types.

Metamorphic quartzites are brought about by intense folding the the absent or by solutions from surrounding igneous intrusions, or both. The just metamorphic quartzite known in Kansas is situated in Woodson County, four miles west and also 10 1/2 miles south of Yates Center and is probably linked with an intrusion that igneous absent in that area. The quartzite that Woodson ar is a thin-bedded, slabby, hard rock of plenty of different colors-green, gray, pink, and black. It plants out in a hillside for hundreds of feet. Throughout the 1870"s, this place was the site of an unsuccessful silver-mining rush, and many old prospecting pits have the right to still it is in seen.

Sedimentary quartzite in Kansas is discovered locally in two Cretaceous formations, the Kiowa Shale and also the Dakota sandstone, where quartzite caps hills and also forms hard, resistant ledges in east McPherson County and also in Kearny County close to Hartland. The silica cement to be deposited from solution in seawater during or quickly after deposition of the sand. The rock arrays in shade from white to brown and light red. The environment-friendly opal-cemented rock in the Ogallala development has been explained in the section on sandstones, yet it is virtually as difficult as a true quartzite. As opal is a form of silica, this rock may be considered a special form of quartzite. Usual quartzites, however, space cemented with quartz rather than v opal.

Quartzite boulders are common in the boulder clay that the glaciated area. The rock consisting of these boulders is red, brownish red, or purple, and it breaks through a splintery fracture. That is called "Sioux quartzite" because the ice brought it to Kansas indigenous the area wherein the Sioux quartzite crops out-southeastern southern Dakota, northwestern Iowa, Minnesota, and also adjoining states.

Quartzite, due to the fact that it is for this reason hard and also resistant, can be offered as a railroad ballast (the crushed absent upon i beg your pardon the tracks room laid) and also in the building and construction of dams. The is used in some areas as roadway material and also as building stone.

Field the Glacial Boulders southern of Wamego in Wabaunsee County.


Asphalt absent

Asphalt, a hard or practically solid necessary substance created of carbon and hydrogen, is formed as the lighter parts of petroleum evaporate and the heavy, tarry residue stays behind. Organic asphalt, the made by nature and also not in an oil refinery, is found in Kansas in the pores the both limestone and sandstone. It occurs in rocks of Pennsylvanian period in the eastern part of the state and in tiny amounts in the Cretaceous sandstone the McPherson County. At once asphalt rock from Linn County to be quarried and also used in paving roads. Samples the the Linn county asphalt rock contain approximately 12% asphalt. As countless porous sandstones and limestones perform not have actually asphalt in them, specifically where the rocks chop out and also weathering has had actually a possibility to plot on them, much exploration must be excellent in stimulate to find a great deposit of asphalt rock. This is commonly done by drilling shallow test holes.

An interesting form of asphalt rock is a Linn ar limestone the was once a coral reef. Countless of the tiny openings that were the coral cells or cups are partly filled through asphalt.


Jasperoid is contempt metamorphosed sedimentary rock in which the lead and also zinc ores of the Tri-State mining area (a district making up the southeastern corner of Cherokee County, Kansas, and adjacent parts of Missouri and Oklahoma) are frequently found. A gray to black mottled chert, coarser grained than plain chert, is the cementing material about angular piece of the original light-colored chert.


Igneous rocks


Granite is a coarsely crystalline igneous rock formed by the slow cooling of warm molten absent deep within the earth. Every granite includes quartz and also feldspar and a little amount the at least one the several various other minerals.

The just granite indigenous to Kansas and also exposed at the surface crops out on a short hill or ridge follow me U.S. Highway 75, eight miles south of Yates Center, Woodson County. The granite consists largely the cream-colored to white feldspar crystals and also bluish quartz. That is badly weathered, yet fresh specimens may be derived by breaking right into the rock. Most of the granite that is viewed at this locality is in the form of residual boulders. More than likely the granite exposed here does not represent an igneous body the extends to great depth in ~ this locality. Drilling to demonstrate tonnage that the granite revealed peridotite and also metamorphosed and also unmetamorphosed Pennsylvanian sediments listed below the surface. The granite has actually been age-dated as Precambrian, vice versa, the peridotite is Cretaceous. It is supposedly a large boulder the was ripped loose at depth and carried come the surface by the eruptive pressure of younger igneous rocks.

Tremendous amounts of granite and also granite-like rock occur in the subsurface rocks of Kansas. This granite is the "basement" absent upon which the earliest Paleozoic sediments to be deposited, and also it is uncovered at depth of from 600 to numerous thousand feet. It is closest come the surface ar in Nemaha County.

Specimens of countless varieties of granite and other igneous rocks are found in the boulder clay or glacial it spins in northeastern Kansas. Cobbles and pebbles that granite are also found in west Kansas, brought there native the Rocky mountains by prehistoric streams.


Peridotite crops out in a sill-like mass around one mile long and one-fourth mile broad in southern Woodson County. Peridotite is a medium- to coarse=grained basic igneous rock, comprise phlogopite mica in this area. At the surface, the absent is changed to a yellowish-gray massive of clay studded through vermiculite. Kimberlite, a kind of peridotite, is discovered in several areas in Riley County. Kimberlite is created much favor a volcano, together igneous rock wells approximately the surface from deep underground. Therefore, these rocks, prefer the granite, are dubbed intrusive igneous rocks due to the fact that they were compelled into various other rocks listed below the surface of the earth. In figure the kimberlite is a soft, dull gray-green rock and also is cut by thin white veins the calcite and also magnetite. Kansas peridotite also contains irregular spots of hardened or altered shale. Once the hot, molten igneous rock came in call with the Paleozoic shale, or nation rock, pieces of shale damaged off and also fell into the fluid mass. Several kimberlites likewise contain such minerals as ilmenite and garnet. In part places, together as southern Africa, diamonds are formed in kimberlites, return no diamonds have been uncovered in the Kansas kimberlite.

Riley county Kimberlite; Dark Specks in Rock are Garnets.


Volcanic ash

Volcanic ash, or volcanic dust (in some places dubbed "silica," back this name is not specifically accurate), consists of tiny glass or congealed lava pieces that have actually been blown right into the atmosphere during the eruptions of volcanoes such together Mount St. Helens. The is a type of extrusive igneous rock; that is, it has been required out, or extruded, top top the earth"s surface. Volcano ash in Kansas is uncovered in sedimentary shop of Tertiary and Quaternary age. In some areas it is an ext than 20 feet thick. Under a microscopic lense or a hand lens, ash is viewed to contain little curved piece of glass that room the broken walls of balloon of the lava rock that burst from the volcano. Kansas volcano ash has about the exact same chemical composition as granite, however in the instance of the ash, the molten absent cooled so conveniently that over there was no time for crystals to form. Ash can conveniently be identified from various other rocks by its white to bluish-gray color. Its glassy surfaces sparkle in the sun, and also its particles perform not dissolve in water as perform particles of limestone and also chalk.

No volcanoes existed in Kansas during Tertiary and Quaternary time so a resource outside the state must have been responsible for the huge quantities the ash deposited here. Many of the Kansas ash to be probably lugged in by wind from a volcano in north-central brand-new Mexico, eruptions in Yellowstone, Wyoming, and from lengthy Valley caldera in California. When in Kansas, few of it was brought for quick distances by streams and also was deposited in quiet ponds, burying pond grasses and snails in the clays beneath. Ash occurs abundantly in main and western Kansas and also has been uncovered as far east as Nemaha, Douglas, and Chautauqua counties. In the previous it has had plenty of uses: in toothpastes and also powders; together abrasives, cleaning compounds, and also glazes because that pottery; in filters; and in the to produce of cement and also road asphalt.

Volcanic-Ash Mine near Calvert in Norton County.



When volcanoes erupt quietly instead of explosively, molten absent pours the end in a fluid state of differing thickness depending upon the silica contents of the lava. The solidified material developed by cooling that the lava sometimes has a ropy appearance. It is a dark, fine-grained rock referred to as basalt. No basalt indigenous to Kansas occurs at the surface, but many persons have mistaken for such igneous rock some of the ropy-appearing, dark-brown sandstone of the Dakota Formation, together that top top Coronado Heights in Saline County. This structure, which had actually nothing to execute with molten rock, was brought about by the chemical deposition of stole oxide in the sand.

Boulders and also pebbles of basalt happen in currently deposits in the southwestern part of the state and also in the boulder clay and related deposits of the glaciated region.


Almost everyone has seen" shooting stars." this "shooting stars," or meteors, room properly dubbed meteorites if they reach the earth"s surface. Castle consist the extra-terrestrial rock fragments that have actually come into the earth"s atmosphere. The friction in between the rock and the air reasons the meteors and also surrounding gases come glow indigenous the heat, and it is this hot, glowing objects that us see. Most of them never ever reach the earth"s surface since the intense heat consumes them very quickly by vaporization.

Two main varieties of meteorites have the right to be identified, one easily, the other with difficulty. The first type, the steel meteorite, consists mostly that the heavy metals, iron and also nickel. The various other variety, the so-called stony meteorite, is composed of hefty minerals and also looks an extremely much like volcanic rock. Ordinarily, however, this stony meteorites, unlike true volcano rocks, save metallic iron. Meteorite fragments vary from pea size to a fixed of about 36 tons and most of castle weigh less than 100 pounds. In general, meteorites may be identified from other rocks in the complying with ways: 1) as a ascendancy they room denser than various other rocks, 2) in all cases they space solid masses of either iron or stone or both, 3) they have actually a distinctive "burned" appearance, 4) they are typically pitted or pockmarked, and 5) most of lock will attract a magnet due to the fact that of the iron lock contain.

Over the years, many meteorites have been uncovered in Kansas. Absence of vegetation, predominance of sedimentary rocks, and also widespread plowing are components that have actually led to document finds.

Mineral fuels

Coal and lignite

Coal is a basic name applied to black color deposits consisting chiefly that carbon compounds obtained from plants and plant debris that have actually been compacted into firm, brittle rocks mirroring either a dull or shiny luster. The 3 main varieties of coal are anthracite, or tough coal; bituminous, or soft coal; and lignite, a soft, low-grade impure type. Anthracite, i m sorry is not found in Kansas, is a dense, brittle coal v either a shiny or dull luster and also a shell-like fracture. That burns with a pale-blue, smokeless flame. Bituminous coal, back soft, does no crumble ~ above exposure to air. That breaks into irregularly shaped blocks, has actually a luster varying from dull to relatively bright, and burns v a yellow flame. Lignite contains well-preserved plant frameworks (such together ferns, horsetails, and also club mosses), showing that it source in swamps.

Sketch the a Nonmarine charcoal Swamp during Pennsylvanian duration in east Kansas; sketch by R. C. Moore, a former Director of the Kansas geological Survey.


Kansas coal is greatly bituminous and is found in the eastern third of the state. It has actually played an important role in Kansas economy and also has to be mined in Anderson, Atchison, Bourbon, Brown, Cherokee, Coffey, Crawford, Chautauqua, Doniphan, Douglas, Elk, Franklin, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Labette, Leavenworth, Linn, Lyon, Montgomery, Nemaha, Neosho, Osage, Shawnee, Wabaunsee, and Wilson counties. Most of it originated throughout the Pennsylvanian Period, occasionally referred to together the "Great coal Age," yet a couple of beds room in Permian rocks. Originally this charcoal was more than likely vegetation in freshwater swamps comparable to those discovered on parts of the Atlantic shore today. ~ the tree died and also were hidden under muds and sands, they started to decay. The first stage in the development of charcoal is the breakthrough of peat. The happen of geologic time changes peat into lignite, or "brown coal," and eventually right into bituminous coal. Had Kansas coal undertaken even much more heat and pressure than it has, it could have come to be anthracite.

"Brown coal" (lignite) is found in Kansas in younger rocks of Cretaceous age. Small quantities occur in the Dakota development in Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Ford, Hodgeman, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Republic, Russell, Washington, and perhaps a couple of other counties. Lignite coal, woody in appearance, is intermediary in quality between peat and bituminous coal. That is water contents is as lot as 40%, and also when exposed come air it dries out and also crumbles.

Coal Sample from Southeastern Kansas.


Petroleum and natural gas

Petroleum is one oily fluid consisting of many compounds the hydrogen and also carbon. Most of the is discovered by drilling come subsurface store in absent formations. Rarely, some may be viewed oozing from cracks in rocks or floating top top the surface ar of water. Oil seeps have been reported in southeastern Kansas and a few other places where oil coverings have actually been found on the surface ar of water in wells and ponds.

Oil, like coal, is developed from the continues to be of living organisms. The is created by gradual geothermal "cooking" the transforms the most mobile hydrocarbon chemicals over a few million years. Uneven coal, however, oil normally moves from the resource rock to a "reservoir rock" after its formation. For example, geologists theorize that much of the oil in main Kansas was developed in Oklahoma and migrated north, wherein it was trapped. Oil in the reservoir rock occurs in the pore spaces in limestone or dolomite or between sand grains; it is not found in underground pools or lakes. Oil wells are drilled v the expect of finding a porous reservoir absent containing a commercial accumulation of oil. Kansas has produced oil due to the fact that the 1860"s, and regularly ranks amongst the leading says in the nation in terms of oil production and exploration.

Kansas oil production started in southeastern Kansas wherein oil was developed from shallow rocks the Pennsylvanian age. In the beforehand 1900"s, however, oil was uncovered near El Dorado, kicking off one of the best oil booms in the background of the state. In 1918, the El Dorado field alone produced an approximated 6% of all oil pumped in the joined States. By the 1920"s and 1930"s, expedition had relocated west, concentrating on areas along the main Kansas uplift, a hidden arch the rocks that extends from main Kansas to the northwest. Counties close to that attribute such together Ellis and also Russell space still the top oil producers in the state.

Natural gas is associated with oil in most oil fields. In some places--such as the Hugoton Gas Area, among the world"s largest gas areas (Finney, Grant, Hamilton, Haskell, Kearny, Morton, Seward, Stanton, and also Stevens counties)--natural gas wake up in substantial quantities.

Comanche ar Oil Well.


Oil shale

Oil shale is a compact, laminated, sedimentary rock containing a huge amount that organic issue that have the right to yield oil when distilled. The organic matter came from partly decomposed algae and animals. Oil shales are an important source the oil in parts of Europe, but deposits in the united States may be related to as a to make reservation supply because that future needs.

Deposits of black color oil shale are found in Labette, Crawford, Bourbon, Douglas, Linn, Neosho, Wallace, and Franklin counties. They take place in Pennsylvanian shales in the east counties and also in Cretaceous shales in western Kansas.

See more: Newest M= Y2-Y1/X2-X1 - Solution: Given: M = (Y2


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Kansas geological SurveyPlaced on net Feb. 28, 2017; originally revised and reprinted 1998.Comments to webadmin