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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, Sept. 3, 1997

Survey Produces New Map of Elk County

LAWRENCE--A new geologic map of Elk County, showing the age and type of rocks at the earth's surface, is now available from the Kansas Geological Survey, based at the University of Kansas.

The map, compiled by Survey geologist Daniel Merriam, is part of a Survey program to produce new geologic maps of counties in the state.

In addition to showing the county's geology, the map shows roads, railroads, streams, lakes, and other features. Because geologic maps show the rock formations likely to be encountered in a given location, they are useful in construction, in understanding soils and agriculture, in searching for water and mineral deposits, and in a variety of engineering and environmental uses.

"Elk County was originally mapped in the 1950s, but this map is more detailed, updated with new features, and reflects current thinking about the geology," said Merriam.

The eastern edge of Elk County is part of the Chautauqua Hills region, an area where mostly sandstones and shales were deposited during the Pennsylvanian Period of geologic history, about 330 million years ago.

Much of the central part of the county is rolling hills of the Osage Cuestas region. In this area, limestones and shales are also of Pennsylvanian age, but the sandstones are not as abundant as in the Chautauqua Hills.

The western edge of the county is part of the Flint Hills region, composed of rocks deposited in the Permian Period, about 300 million years ago.

"These regions are quite distinctive," said Merriam. "The Chautauqua Hills are covered with cedars and pin oaks. Much of the Osage Cuestas is farm land, where the bedrock is limestone and shale. And the Flint Hills are, of course, mostly range land."

Rocks of much younger age occur along the county's rivers, particularly the Elk River, which drains the bulk of the county.

The map also shows the location of quarries in the county, including the limestone quarry east of Moline that is the largest quarry in the state.

The map, produced in full-color, is drawn at a scale of 1:50,000, so that one inch on the map equals about 3/4 mile of actual distance. The full-color map measures about 48 inches by 32 inches. Production of the map was partially funded by the U.S. Geological Survey's COGEOMAP program.

Copies of the new map are available from the Kansas Geological Survey, 1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047 (or phone 785-864-3965). The cost is $15.00, plus $5.00 for handling. Kansas residents should add 6.9% sales tax.

For more information on geologic maps in Kansas, see Public Information Circular 4 or the Geologic Maps in Kansas page.

Story by Rex Buchanan, (785) 864-3965
Kansas Geological Survey, Publications and Public Affairs