Field Trip Highlights—Southeastern Kansas

color photo of people standing along roadcut with bus and gravel road in back ground

On the public field trip that was held on October 13, 2001, we focused on the rocks and fossils at several stops in Greenwood and Woodson counties. This was the second annual trip in celebration of national Earth Science Week (October 7-13, 2001). Earth Science Week was established in 1998 by the American Geological Institute (AGI), based in Alexandria, Virginia, to educate people about Earth and the earth sciences.

The first stop was the spillway at Eureka City Lake, where several distinctive sedimentary rocks layers are visible.

color photo of participants spread out throughout spillway at Eureka City Lake

The spillway at Eureka City Lake is a good place to see a cross section of the three common rock types in Kansas: limestone, shale, and sandstone.

The next stop was the Micro-Lite Quarry near Buffalo, where participants learned about lamproite, a kind of igneous--or once molten--rock. (Igneous rocks are rare in Kansas.) These lamproites originated deep in the earth and exploded to the surface during the Cretaceous Period, about 90 million years ago. Although lamproites are associated with diamonds in some parts of the world, the lamproite at the Micro-Lite Quarry is mined for use as a mineral supplement for cattle feed. (Note: the Micro-Lite Quarry is private property.)

color photo of participants listening to speaker with refinery equipment in background

KGS geologist Jim McCauley talks about lamproites before participants head down into the quarry for a closer look.

Following the lunch stop at Toronto Lake (where participants got a closer look at one of the sandstones that crops out in the Chautauqua Hills region of the state), we headed to the roadcut at Round Mound. At this site, numerous invertebrate fossils have weathered out of the shale and thin limestones in the Kanwaka Shale.

color photo of speaker gesturing toward camera with participants looking on

Field trip participants learn a little about the fossils exposed at Round Mound from KSU Geology Professor Ron West.

View additonal pictures from the field trip.

Guidebooks – Geology of South-central Kansas Field Trip is available online and as Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2001-41, from KGS Publications Sales office, 785-864-3965.

Unless noted otherwise, field trip photographs by Bob Sawin or Liz Brosius, Kansas Geological Survey.

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