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Geology

  Barton and Stafford County Geohydrology

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Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Geography

Physiography

Geology

Geologic History

Ground Water

Records of Typical Wells

Logs of Test Holes

References

Plates

 

Geology and its Relation to Ground Water

Stratigraphy of Rock Formations

(The stratigraphic nomenclature used in this report is that of the State Geological Survey of Kansas and differs in some respects from that of the United States Geological Survey)

All the rocks that crop out in Barton and Stafford Counties are of sedimentary origin and range in age from Cretaceous to Recent. Outcrops of the formations are shown on Plate 1. The oldest Cretaceous rocks exposed at the surface are lower Cretaceous (Comanchean) in age and comprise part of the Kiowa shale. The Upper Cretaceous (Gulfian) is represented by the Dakota formation, Graneros shale, Greenhorn limestone, and Carlile shale, which are exposed in the upland areas of Barton County. "Algal limestone" in the Ogallala formation of Tertiary age, locally caps Upper Cretaceous formations in parts of Barton County.

Undifferentiated deposits of silts, sands, and gravels of early Pleistocene age are exposed in a comparatively small area in northwestern Barton County. Also unconsolidated deposits of silt, sand, and gravel (Meade formation) of early Pleistocene age cover the eroded surface of the Cretaceous and, in some areas, Permian rocks in southern Barton and all of Stafford Counties. These deposits are exposed along Rattlesnake Creek and the North Fork of Ninnescah Creek in southern Stafford County. Later Pleistocene silts, sands, and gravels (Sanborn formation) underlie parts of the upland in southern Barton County, the Cow Creek drainage basin, and terraces along Walnut and Dry Walnut Creeks. Quaternary dune sand covers the surface in most of Stafford County and southern Barton County, and alluvium underlies the surface of the larger stream valleys and Cheyenne Bottoms.

Information on the unexposed rocks that lie beneath Barton and Stafford Counties has been obtained from test holes drilled during the course of the investigation, from logs of oil and gas test wells, and from exposures of these rocks in other areas. They include sandstones, siltstones, and shales (Cheyenne sandstone) of Lower Cretaceous (Comanchean) age that underlie the Kiowa shale Over most of this area; and Paleozoic limestones, dolomites, and shales with lesser amounts of sandstone, gypsum, anhydrite, and salt that are encountered beneath the Cretaceous deposits.

A generalized section of the geologic formations of this area is given in Table 6. The locations of the 106 test holes drilled by the State Geological Survey during the course of the investigation are shown in Figure 9. Geologic cross sections based on these test holes are shown in Figure 10 and Plate 3.

Table 6.--Generalized section of the geologic formations of Barton and Stafford Counties, Kansas.

System Series Subdivision Thickness Physical character Water supply
Quaternary Recent and Pleistocene Alluvium 0-125 Very coarse gravel, sand and silt comprising stream deposits in the larger valleys and Cheyenne Bottoms. Includes deposits underlying low terrace on the north side of Arkansas River and marsh deposits beneath Big and Little Marshes in northeastern Staffor Yields large amounts of water to wells in Arkansas and Walnut Valleys and small to moderate amounts to wells in Cheyenne Bottoms and smaller stream valleys. Supplies water to many irrigation and a few industrial wells in Arkansas and Walnut Valleys. Water
Unconformable on older formations
Dune sand 0-50+ Fine- to medium-grained wind-blown sand containing minor amounts of silt, clay, and coarse sand. Covers most of the area in Barton and Stafford Counties south of the Arkansas River and a small area on the east side of Cheyenne Bottoms. Not known to yield water to wells. Areas underlain by dune sand are excellent areas for groundwater recharge from local precipitation.
  Unconformable on older formations
Pleistocene Sanborn formation 0-138 Silt, sandy silt, and fine sand that locally contains lenses of coarse sand and gravel. Occurs beneath Cow Creek drainage basin, Cheyenne Bottoms-Arkansas Valley divide area, and Dry Walnut Valley-Arkansas Valley divide area, and includes terrace deposits Supplies water to domestic and stock wells in the Cow Creek drainage area and the Walnut Valley terrace area. Large supplies available from these deposits locally in Walnut Valley terrace area. Waters from the Sanborn formation are moderately hard to hard
Unconformable on older formations
Meade formation 0-210+ Interbedded lenses of unconsolidated gravel, sand, and silt. Caliche is common throughout the formation. Meade formation occurs at the surface or at shallow depth beneath dune sand or alluvium over all Stafford County and the southern part of Barton Count Sand and gravel beds of the Meade formation are the most important sources of water in Stafford County and southern Barton County, and yield large supplies. Most of the domestic and stock wells and all of the irrigation and public-supply wells south of Ar
Unconformable on older formations
Undifferentiated pleistocene deposits 0-40 Unconsolidated silt, sandy silt, and clay that contains caliche, and, locally, thin lenses of sand and gravel. Restricted to relatively small area surrounding Galatia in northwestern Barton County. Supplies water to a few domestic and stock wells in the vicinity of Galatia.
    Unconformable on older formations
Tertiary Pliocene Ogallala formation 1-3 In northern and western Barton County, "algal limestone" from less than 1- to 3-feet-thick caps small hills at widely scattered localities. Not known to yield water to wells in this area.
    Unconformable on older formations
Cretaceous Gulfian* Carlile shale (Fairport chalky shale member) 85 (?) Chalky shale and thin beds of chalky limestone, containing thin flat concretions in the lower part. Furnishes small to meager supplies of hard to very hard water to a few dug domestic and stock wells in northern Barton County. Not an important water bearer.
Greenhorn limestone 85-90 Chalky tan to blue-gray shale alternating with beds of hard chalk; contains thin beds of hard crystalline limestone in lower part. Furnishes small to meager supplies of water to a few domestic and stock wells in northern Barton County. Not an important water bearer.
Graneros shale 30-40 Noncalcareous light-gray to blue-gray and brown shale; contains selenite, pyrite, and thin beds of fine-grained sandstone. Relatively impermeable; not known to yield water to wells in this area.
Dakota formation 200-300 Alternating beds or lenses of varicolored clay, shale, siltstone, and fine- to coarse-grained sandstone. Contains "ironstone" in thin beds, lignite, and a little pyrite. About a third of the recorded wells in Barton County derive water from sandstones of the Dakota formation. Is the chief source of water in the upland areas of Barton County. Supplies water to city wells at Claflin and Ellinwood. Yields of wells range from
Comanchean Kiowa shale 90-168+ Light-gray to black shale and sandy shale, containing beds or lenses of fine- to medium-grained sandstone and thin beds of hard calcareous sandstone and sandy limestone. Pyrite, gypsum, shell fragments, and cone-in-cone calcite are common. Exposed in two Unimportant in this area as a water bearer. One recorded well (20-11-12ad) in Barton County taps sandstone of the Kiowa shale. In most of this area water in the Kiowa is probably highly mineralized.
Cheyenne sandstone 0-134+ Sandstone, very fine- to medium-grained, siltstone, and some clay and shale. Not exposed in Barton and Stafford Counties. No wells in Barton and Stafford Counties obtain water from the Cheyenne sandstone. Scanty data indicate that the water in this formation is highly mineralized and unfit for ordinary uses.
Permian Guadalupian and Leonardian* Undifferentiated red beds   Red siltstone, shale, and sandstone containing lesser amounts of salt, gypsum, anhydrite, limestone, and dolomite. Not exposed in Barton and Stafford Counties. No wells in Barton and Stafford Counties obtain water from Permian rocks. Water is probably too highly mineralized for most ordinary uses.
* Classification of the State Geological Survey of Kansas

Figure 9--Location of test holes drilled in Barton and Stafford Counties (numberd circles) and location of geologic cross sections shown in Figure 10 and Plate 3. The numbers shown give the section, quarter section, and quarter-quarter section n which the test hole is located. A larger version of this figure is available.

Location of test holes

Figure 10--Geologic cross sections of Tertiary deposits in northewestern Barton County, along lines A-A' and B-B' in Figure 9. A larger version of this figure is available.

cross sections shows undifferentiated Pleistocene over Carlile shale and Greenhorn limestone

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  Kansas Geological Survey, Barton and Stafford County Geohydrology
Comments to webadmin@kgs.ku.edu
Web version Dec. 2001. Original publication date Dec. 1950.
URL=http://www.kgs.ku.edu/General/Geology/Barton/05_geol.html