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Geohydrology of Trego County

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Economic Geology, continued

Mineral Resources

Mineral resources of Trego County, other than soil and ground water, include oil, construction materials, and volcanic ash.


Trego County has been explored for oil since 1923. Oil was first discovered in May, 1929, in sec. 20, T. 13 S., R. 21 W. Production was from the basal conglomerate of Pennsylvanian age at a depth of 3,960 to 3,972 feet. Named the Rega pool, it was soon abandoned after producing about 15,000 barrels of oil. The pool was revived with a producer in 1947, but was abandoned again in 1950. The WaKeeney pool, discovered in 1934 in the northern part of the county, was the second pool discovered. Production was from the Lansing Group of Pennsylvanian age. The Gugler pool was discovered in 1936 about 4 miles northeast of the Rega pool. Production was from rocks of Pennsylvanian age and from Arbuckle rocks of Cambrian and Ordovician age. No new pools were discovered until 1941, when the Ogallah pool was opened about 4 miles north of the Gugler pool. Further development of the oil industry in Trego County is summarized in Table 2.

The 1963 production from 331 wells in 29 fields was 1,582,000 barrels of oil. Cumulative production to the end of 1963 was almost 19 million barrels. Gas in commercial quantities has not been produced in Trego County. Yearly data on production of oil and gas in Kansas are available in the files of the Oil and Gas Division of the State Geological Survey of Kansas and are published as bulletins of the State Geological Survey of Kansas. [Current information on the oil and gas resources of Trego County is available from the KGS website.]

Table 2--Number of producing wells and producing fields, and annual production of oil from 1938 to 1963 in Trego County, Kansas.

Year Producing
of barrels
1938 13 2 326*
1939 13 2 43
1940 8 2 48
1941 9 3 45
1942 8 2 23
1943 6 1 42
1944 9 2 33
1945 11 3 64
1946 11 3 74
1947 14 5 88
1948 17 5 97
1949 18 7 107
1950 IS 7 90
1951 51 10 264
1952 110 14 802
1953 139 20 1,032
1954 160 23 1,028
1955 182 25 1,077
1956 243 29 1,470
1957 278 26 1,928
1958 276 29 1,877
1959 287 31 1,781
1960 294 31 1,584
1961 293 30 1,537
1962 295 32 1,590
1963 331 29 1,582
*Cumulative production to the end of 1938.
Data from Bulletins of the State Geological Survey
of Kansas, oil and gas development reports.

Construction Materials

Mixed Aggregate

Deposits of sand and gravel suitable as road metal for light-traffic roads and in the construction of black-top roads are abundant in Trego County. The deposits are found chiefly along the Smoky Hill Valley as terrace deposits and in the Ogallala Formation in the upland areas. Terrace deposits along the Smoky Hill Valley are predominantly sand and gravel and are more suitable for mixed aggregate than are terrace deposits along other streams in the county, which in places contain considerably more silt with little or no sand and gravel.

Concrete Aggregate

Aggregate for concrete should be free from adherent coatings or silt and clay particles that would interfere with bonding. Arkosic sand and gravel in terrace deposits along the Smoky Hill Valley are generally suitable for concrete aggregate, although if silicious materials such as opaline or chalcedonic chert is present in significant quantities, a low-alkali cement may be necessary.

Structural Stone

The Fort Hays Limestone Member of the Niobrara Chalk has been quarried for structural stone at numerous localities in Trego County. The Fort Hays is relatively soft, although it hardens upon weathering. The Fort Hays also tends to absorb water and thus to deteriorate through freeze-and-thaw action and from spalling. Many farm buildings, city dwellings, and business houses in the area constructed of the Fort Hays Limestone seem to stand up well for many years, however. In a report by Risser (1960) the sources and characteristics of building stone in Kansas are discussed.

Volcanic Ash

Volcanic ash in Trego County consists predominantly of minute, platy or curved fragments of volcanic glass. The ash is generally white to light pearly-gray, but occasionally may show tints of yellow or red. The most common uses of volcanic ash are as an ingredient of ceramic glazes, as an additive to certain types of concrete, and as a mineral filler for bituminous-surfaced highways. A small pit of volcanic ash has been opened in the SE sec. 36, T. 14 S., R. 21 W. About 10 feet of ash is present, with the lower 6 feet relatively free of impurities. The deposit becomes thinner laterally from the pit. Only a small amount of ash has been taken from the pit. Two other ash deposits were noted--one in the SE sec. 28, T. 14 S., R. 21 W., and another in the SW sec. 30, T. 14 S., R. 22 W. These deposits are small and have little commercial value.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web Dec. 12, 2008; originally published June 1965.
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