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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Sept. 19, 2003

Earth Science Week Field Trip on Oct. 11

LAWRENCE--The geology and fossils of the Kanopolis Lake area in Ellsworth County will be the focus of a non-technical field trip to be led by the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.

The trip is scheduled for October 11. There is no charge, though space is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. People interested in participating should call Pam Griffin at 785-864-2156.

The trip will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. Participants will drive their own cars, with discussion and collecting at four stops.

The field trip will provide an overview of the geology of this part of the Smoky Hills. The trip will include visits to Horsethief Canyon, Mushroom Rocks State Park, an outcrop of "fencepost limestone" that contains numerous fossilized clams, and a Kanopolis Lake location to collect fossil snails.

The rocks and fossils in this area were deposited during the Cretaceous Period, the time of the dinosaurs, about 80 million years ago. At that time central Kansas was along the edge of a shallow sea. The Kanopolis area is known for outcrops of sandstone and other rocks that were originally deposited in stream channels or along the edge of that ancient ocean. Today these sandstones are part of the rock layers called the Dakota and Kiowa formations.

The field trip is part of the Survey's participation in National Earth Science Week, a week devoted to education about the earth sciences. For more information about the week, go to the American Geological Institute's web site ( For more information about Survey field trips or the geology of Kansas, go to the GeoKansas web site (at

Links of interest to this article:
Earth Science Week

For more information, contact Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-2106

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach