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Physiographic Map--Glaciated Region

Several glaciers, which are huge masses of ice, covered much of the northern United States hundreds of thousands of years ago. The glaciers grew and melted as the climate changed. Most of the glaciers did not reach Kansas, but at least two dipped down into the northeast corner. When the glaciers retreated, rocks and soil that had been carried into the area from the north were left behind. The force of the moving ice was so strong, it broke large quartzite boulders off outcrops in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota and carried them over 200 miles into Kansas. The boulders can still be seen scattered throughout the area today.

Wabaunsee County hillside

The glaciers also left behind a layer of sediment. Finely ground silt, called loess, was sorted and carried by the wind. Thick layers of loess were deposited throughout the area. Fertile soils formed from loess are good for farming because they contain few rocks.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Updated March 14, 1997
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