KGS Home General Info Index Page News Releases

News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Aug. 13, 2009

Kansas Geological Survey Mapping Program Receives Funding

LAWRENCE--Researchers at the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, have received funding from the U.S. Geological Survey to continue mapping projects in four Kansas counties.

The nearly $200,000 award given for 2009 is matched by state funding to support ongoing geologic mapping projects in Reno, McPherson, Harvey, and Morris counties.

Geologic maps, which illustrate rock layers at the surface or just beneath the soil, have not been produced for the four counties since the 1940s and 1950s.

"These maps provide basic information on the distribution of geologic deposits," said Survey geologist Greg Ludvigson. "They can be used for a breadth of applications, including locating construction materials, developing and managing groundwater resources, and planning for transportation infrastructure and municipal development."

To update information about rocks and other natural resources, the Survey is using traditional mapping techniques, such as fieldwork in each county, as well as computer and drilling technology.

In Reno and McPherson counties the Survey will also drill to explore underground sediment layers. The collected data will be used to create three-dimensional illustrations of subsurface units that will supplement the surface mapping.

"Mapping in Reno and McPherson counties is intended to improve our understanding of the Equus Beds aquifer," said Ludvigson. "We are using a new drilling technology specifically designed for use in water-saturated sands."

The Equus Beds aquifer, on the eastern edge of the extensive High Plains aquifer system, is an important water source for Wichita and the surrounding area and underlies portions of Reno, McPherson and, Harvey counties.

The three counties were chosen for the mapping program partially because demand for water has risen with a growing regional population and saltwater contamination threatens the aquifer. Competition for land use also is increasing in the developing corridor north and west of Wichita, which encompasses the three counties.

Morris County in the Flint Hills is more rural than the other three counties but is adjacent to the I-70 corridor and expanding Fort Riley area. It has extensive limestone resources for building stone and aggregates and contains the headwaters of the Neosho River, an important source of water in southeastern Kansas.

The funding comes from the U.S. Geological Survey's STATEMAP program, which is part of the U.S.G.S. National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program (NCGMP). Providing support for state and federal mapping efforts, NCGMP is the primary source of funds for the production of geologic maps in the country.

When completed, the maps will be available to the public. More information about KGS county maps and other publications is available at the Survey's web site (

Links of interest to this article:
KGS web page on County Geologic Maps
KGS Public Information Circular 4--"Geologic Mapping in Kansas," by Robert S. Sawin
U.S.G.S. National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program
STATEMAP Summary sheet for Kansas for FY2008 (Acrobat PDF)

Story by Cathy Evans, (785) 864-2195.
For more information, contact Greg Ludvigson, (785) 864-2734

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach