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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, March 26, 2003

Geology Field Trip Set for May 3

LAWRENCE--Rocks and fossils of northwestern Kansas will be the focus of a non-technical field trip sponsored by the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas. The field trip, scheduled for Saturday, May 3, 2003, is open to the public.

The trip is also sponsored by The Nature Conservancy, Kansas Chapter, and includes a stop at the Smoky Valley Ranch Preserve, 16,800 acres of shortgrass prairie in Logan County that the group purchased in 1999.

The trip will provide an overview of the geology of the Smoky Hills and High Plains. At Monument Rocks, chalk monoliths carved by wind and water, participants will learn about the chalk that was deposited in the inland seas that covered the region during the Cretaceous Period about 80 million years ago. At Lake Scott State Park, participants will get a close look at outcrops of the Ogallala Formation, well known as an aquifer throughout the High Plains, and visit Big Spring, one of the largest springs in western Kansas. The trip will also stop at the Smoky Valley Ranch Preserve, where participants will learn more about the region's Niobrara Chalk and the plants and animals of the shortgrass prairie. The last stop will allow participants to look for fossils in the region's Cretaceous chalk, which is famous for the large marine vertebrate fossils, including sharks, mosasaurs, and giant fish.

The field trip will depart from Oakley at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, May 3, and return about 5:30 p.m. The trip is open to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited. A $15 registration fee will be charged per person. Additional information about this and previous field trips is available on the GeoKansas web site (

The KGS has conducted public field trips during the fall and spring for the past three years. The fall trips are held in conjunction with national Earth Science Week, which was established in 1998 by the American Geological Institute (AGI), based in Alexandria, Virginia, to educate people about the Earth and earth sciences. To find out more about Earth Science Week or to request an information kit, visit their web site at

To register for the trip, contact Liz Brosius (785-864-2063;, Rex Buchanan (785-864-2106; or Bob Sawin (785-864-2099; at the Kansas Geological Survey.

Story by Liz Brosius, (785) 864-2063
For more information, contact Rex Buchanan (785-864-2106)
Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach