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Morton County Geology

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Water-bearing Formations

The classification and nomenclature of the rocks described in this report have been adopted by the State Geological Survey of Kansas. They differ somewhat from the classification and nomenclature in reports of the Federal Geological Survey.

Permian System

Undifferentiated Redbeds

Character--The Permian redbeds consist principally of red siltstone and sandstone, but include interbedded salt, gypsum, anhydrate, and dolomite. The redbeds are not exposed in Morton County and, as the only data available are the logs of gas test wells drilled in this area, no detailed lithologic description can be given. The Hydraulic Oil Company No. 1 Butts well, in sec. 22, T. 34 S., R. 43 W., encountered about 730 feet of red shale and siltstone, 320 feet of sandstone, 95 feet of salt, 20 feet of gypsum, and 5 feet of "lime" (probably dolomite). Most of the sandstones were red and buff.

Distribution and thickness--The Permian redbeds underlie all of Morton County, but the nearest outcrops of these beds are in Texas county, Oklahoma, and in Meade and Clark counties, Kansas. The thickness of these beds is not definitely known, for their upper limit is not established, but in Morton County they probably are about 1,250 feet thick. Well logs indicate a thickness of 1,350 feet in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, and 1,550 feet in Hamilton County, Kansas.

Age and correlation--As exactly as can be determined from well logs, the redbeds underlying Morton County include representatives of all the formations above the Ninnescah shale and below the Day Creek dolomite. The Day Creek dolomite and the Taloga formation of some authors probably are absent, and well logs indicate the presence of only about 70 to 100 feet of sandstone that probably represents the Marlow formation of the Whitehorse group. Farther east the Marlow formation is about 110 feet thick (Norton, 1939, pp. 1803-1811).

Water supply--A few deep wells (43, 44, and 45) have encountered Permian water-bearing beds and in each of these wells the artesian pressure was sufficient to cause the water to flow. The water from these wells is strongly mineralized, the principal mineral constituents being calcium and sulphate. The water-bearing bed seems to be very permeable, for one artesian well (43) had a re-ported initial flow of 1,200 gallons a minute. In 1939, however, this well was observed to flow only 20 gallons a minute. Water from Permian redbeds probably could be obtained from deep wells in a large part of the county, but the great depth and the poor quality of the water discourage any drilling of wells to this zone.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Morton County Geohydrology
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Web version Sept. 2004. Original publication date March 1942.