Osage Cuestas—Places to Visit

drawing of outline of this region on Kansas map

Osage Cuestas--Intro | Osage Cuestas--Rocks and Minerals
Osage Cuestas--Places to Visit | Other regions

Download fact sheet on the rocks and minerals of the Osage Cuestas.

Johnston Geology Museum. The Geology Museum at Emporia State University contains a wide range of material on Kansas geology. Included among the museum's displays are fossils from different parts of the state, including a Cretaceous mosasaur from western Kansas, minerals exhibits, and Indian artifacts. The museum is open 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:00 to noon Saturday when the university is in session (316) 341-5330.

Clinton Spillway. A good place to get a look at the limestones and shales of this region is at the spillway near Clinton Lake dam, 3.5 miles west of Lawrence. The spillway provides a dramatic illustration of the cycles of deposition common during the Pennsylvanian Period, about 300 million years ago. The interbedded limestone and shale sequence exposed here, which is part of the Oread Limestone, is common throughout eastern Kansas, and is probably the result of changing sea levels during Pennsylvanian time. The strata exposed on the north face of the spillway include the interval from the Plattsmouth Limestone Member of the Oread Limestone down to the Amazonia Member of the Lawrence Shale.

Elk Falls. At Elk Falls, near the town of the same name in Elk County, the Elk River drops four to six feet over a sandstone ledge. This sandstone, informally known as the Elgin Sandstone for exposures near the town of Elgin in Chautauqua County, is another Pennsylvanian rock unit. The remains of an old mill are located near the waterfall. Downstream from the falls is an iron bridge built in 1893 that is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

color photo of water flowing over grey sandstone ledge

Elk Falls, Elk County.


Buchanan, Rex C., and McCauley, James R., 1987, Roadside Kansas--A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks: Lawrence, Kansas, University Press of Kansas, 365 p.

Evans, Catherine S., 1988, From Sea to Prairie--A Primer of Kansas Geology: Kansas Geological Survey, Educational Series 6, 60 p.

Schoewe, Walter H., 1949, The Geography of Kansas: Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, v. 52, no. 3, p. 261-333.

Wilson, Frank W., 1978, Kansas Landscapes--A Geologic Diary: Kansas Geological Survey, Educational Series 5, 50 p.

Tolsted, Laura L., and Swineford, Ada, revised by Buchanan, Rex C., 1986, Kansas Rocks and Minerals: Kansas Geological Survey, Educational Series 2, 60 p.

Text by Liz Brosius, Kansas Geological Survey. Unless noted otherwise, illustrations by Jennifer Sims, Kansas Geological Survey; photographs by John Charlton, Kansas Geological Survey.

Osage Cuestas--Intro | Osage Cuestas--Rocks and Minerals
Osage Cuestas--Places to Visit | Other regions