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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, March 1, 2010

Kansas Geological Survey Mapping Program Receives Funding

LAWRENCE--The Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas, has received funding from the U.S. Geological Survey for mapping projects in seven counties.

The $221,000 award for 2010 will support ongoing geologic mapping in Reno, McPherson, Harvey and Morris counties and new projects in Haskell, Jefferson and Atchison counties.

These counties were chosen because of environmental and cultural changes, such as industrial and residential growth, expanding transportation infrastructure, geologic hazards and declines in water quantity or quality.

Geologic maps depict rock layers and unconsolidated materials, such as sand and gravel, at the surface or just beneath the soil and vegetation.

"Geologic maps have a host of practical applications, such as planning for water use and highways in developing areas," said Survey geologist Greg Ludvigson. "These multiple uses have been central to the lasting value of geologic mapping over many years."

Last mapped in the 1940s, Harvey, Reno and McPherson counties are in a developing corridor north and west of Wichita where demand for water is on the rise and saltwater contamination threatens the region's groundwater supply. Land subsidence in Reno County caused by dissolution of underground salt deposits is also a concern.

To supplement the surface maps in those counties, Survey researchers will drill into underground rock layers and create a three-dimensional illustration of the subsurface based on their findings.

Morris County, in the Flint Hills, is located just south of the expanding Fort Riley-Manhattan region and has extensive limestone resources for building stones and aggregates.

Haskell County in southwest Kansas has experienced significant water-level declines in the underlying High Plains aquifer, the source of nearly all municipal and irrigation water in the region. In the northeast, increased development in Jefferson, Atchison and surrounding counties has driven up demand for groundwater in glacially derived deposits. Test drilling will also be conducted in Haskell, Jefferson and Atchison counties.

The funding comes from the U.S. Geological Survey's STATEMAP program, 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