Places to Visit—Mushroom Rocks

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color photo of mushroom shaped rock in field of brown grass
small drawing of Kansas map with Ellsworth County highlighted in red

Ellsworth County, Kansas

The strangely shaped rocks at Mushroom Rock State Park in Ellsworth County are made of sandstone from the Dakota Formation, deposited along the edge of a Cretaceous sea about 100 million years ago. Over time, circulating water deposited a limy cement between the sand grains, creating harder bodies of sandstone called concretions.

Concretions, such as the cap of the rock shown here, are often spherical (the top half of the concretion pictured here has eroded away). The softer sandstone of the stem has eroded more rapidly, creating the mushroom-shaped rock. Mushroom Rock State Park is located two miles south and two and a half miles west of the intersection of Kansas highways 140 and 141 (from The Geologic Record, vol. 3.1).

Other places to visit in the Smoky Hills region.

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