Several general conclusions may be drawn from the study of the Quaternary geology and ground-water resources in this part of the Kansas River valley:
- Pleistocene deposits of Kansan, Illinoian, and Wisconsinan and Recent age are represented in the area, but only stream-deposited alluvium of Wisconsinan and Recent age provides abundant ground water.
- Kansan Till and the Meade Group, deposited during Kansan time, are widespread in the area. The till mantles the uplands, and the Meade Group occurs as dissected terrace deposits or abandoned valley fills laid down as glacial outwash.
- Illinoian deposits are quantitatively insignificant in the area, being represented only by fluvial deposits underlying discontinuous terraces at intermediate levels, generally along tributary streams.
- Alluvium of Wisconsinan and Recent age underlies the relatively flat alluvial floor of the Kansas River valley and most tributary valleys. The upper surface of the alluvium comprises a low terrace, an intermediate surface complex, and a modern floodplain. The boundaries between these divisions are not everywhere distinct, possibly as a result of an essentially progressive downcutting of Kansas River since the initial dissection of the low terrace.
- The low terrace (called Newman Terrace) extends up most tributary valleys, large or small, whereas the intermediate surface complex extends up the major tributary valleys only. Tributary streams have not developed modern floodplains with free meanders, except where tributary streams cross the Kansas River floodplain. Tributary streams are intrenched in their alluvial fills and may be regarded as misfit in their present regimen.
- Wisconsinan and Recent alluvium in this portion of the Kansas River valley has an average thickness of 55 feet. This alluvium is an excellent aquifer, because the lower portion everywhere consists of several feet of permeable sand or gravel. Surficial silts several feet thick generally overlie the coarse-textured deposits and, where sandy, permit recharge from local precipitation. During periods of heavy pumpage the ground-water body, which normally discharges into Kansas River, receives large quantities of recharge from the river, increasing severalfold the amount of ground water available to properly spaced and constructed wells. Adequate quantities of ground water of fair quality are available for future municipal, irrigational, and industrial expansion in this part of the Kansas River valley.
Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web March 29, 2012; originally published April 15, 1958.
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