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Coal Resources of the Douglas Group

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Coal Resources of the Douglas Group in East-Central Kansas

By Arthur L. Bowsher and John M. Jewett

Cover of the book; tan paper with black text.

Originally published in 1943 as Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 46. This is, in general, the original text as published. The information has not been updated.


This report on some seemingly unimportant coal deposits has a special war-time purpose. For a number of years 75 percent or more of the coal mined in Kansas has come from the extensive fields in the southeastern part of the state where several relatively thick beds of high quality coal lie near the surface of the ground. Under normal conditions the Southeastern Kansas Field and the Eastern Kansas Field (Linn and Bourbon counties) supply much of the coal used in the area discussed in the present report. Some consumers in this part of Kansas are in the habit of burning still higher grade coal shipped from more distant mines. It is obvious, however, that every unessential ton of freight that can be diverted from the railroads makes room for additional war material.

The coal deposits described in this paper occur in counties that are relatively densely populated. A few millions of tons of bituminous coal, possessing a high heating value, but generally of somewhat lower rank than most of the consumers in the area are in the habit of using, are available. The chief purpose of this report is to call attention to this supply of emergency fuel and to indicate locations where it can be most easily obtained.

The heretofore unpublished observations on the stratigraphy of the rocks that include these coal deposits give to the report a more permanent value.

Field work in this investigation and the preparation of the following paper was begun by Arthur L. Bowsher under my supervision, and it was planned that the report should be published under his authorship. Mr. Bowsher, however, entered military service in the United States Army soon after he had completed the first rough draft of the manuscript. Thus, I have assumed the responsibility of putting the report into final form for publication.

John M. Jewett


Rocks of the Douglas group, Missourian series, Pennsylvanian. crop out in eastern Kansas in a belt a few miles wide extending from Leavenworth County to Chautauqua County. Several coal beds occur in these rocks and a few million tons of bituminous coal are available for mining. Because this coal is of relatively low grade and occurs generally in thin beds it has not been mined very extensively. The greatest mining developments have been in Franklin County, but the deposits have been mined intermittently in several other places. Both open pit and underground mines have been operated.

These coal deposits are known to be of sufficient quality and quantity to be potential sources of emergency fuel. They lie in a rather densely populated area. In some locations, economical strip mining can be developed and coal can be easily and quickly obtained.

Chemical tests indicate that although this coal is not of the same grade as that from the larger Kansas fields, it lies well within the limits of coal classed as bituminous, and that the heating value ranges up to 13,900 B.T.U's. per pound.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web Jan. 28, 2009; originally published Sept. 1943.
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