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Dakota and Kiowa Formations

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Purpose of the stiudy

The increasing demand for suitable material for riprap, railroad ballast, road material, and concrete aggregate in Kansas has led to the present study of cemented sandstones in the Dakota formation and Kiowa shale of the State. In central and western Kansas, where surface deposits consist chiefly of clays, shales, chalk, silt, soft limestone, and friable sandstone of Permian to Recent age, hard durable rock is needed for construction, including the completion of Federal projects. Excellent construction material is known to occur in the Dakota formation of north-central Kansas, but it is distributed in isolated, lenticular deposits scattered throughout the area. The purpose of the present study is to determine the extent of some of these deposits and to describe some of their characteristics. The first part of the report concerns their stratigraphy, physiographic expression, and petrology. The second part describes the uses of the rock, presents the results of physical test data, and includes descriptions of individual localities in nine counties in central Kansas.

Distribution of cemented sandstones

Cemented sandstones occur at many localities throughout the outcrop area of the Dakota and Kiowa formations. Although, as will be discussed, the cemented sandstones are restricted to certain types of depositional environments, stratigraphic position is only of slight value in prospecting for new deposits. The Dakota and underlying Kiowa formations of Cretaceous age crop out in north-central Kansas in a broad belt trending northeast-southwest (Fig. 1), and also in several small areas in the southwestern part of the State. The Kiowa shale in north-central Kansas unconformably overlies deposits of Permian age. The Dakota formation is overlain by the Graneros shale and is conformable on and interfingering with the Kiowa shale, although in the northernmost part of the area it overlaps directly on Permian rocks.

Fig. 1-Outcrop areas of the Kiowa shale and Dakota formation in north-central Kansas.

Primary outcrops in wide band from Washington to Ellsworth and Lincoln counties; Kiowa outcrops in narrower band, east of Dakota, from Rice to Owwata and Clay.

The Dakota formation consists for the most part of variegated clays, with a few relatively persistent thin siltstones and sandstones, and many thick, lenticular, channel sandstones. Most of these sandstones are soft and friable. Lenticular, well-indurated sandstones occur at several horizons within the formation and are widely distributed geographically. The Kiowa shale consists of dark shales and fine-grained white sandstones. Cementing materials in the two formations are of several types, including iron oxide, calcite, dolomitic calcite, silica, barite, and mixtures of two or more of these. Clay is the matrix in some of the resistant sandstones, notably in the upper siltstone marking the top of the Dakota formation, but this type of rock has not been studied for the present report.

Commercial uses

The calcite-cemented sandstone is known locally as "Lincoln quartzite" because of its abundance near the town of Lincoln, Kansas, and has been used extensively as road material, railroad ballast, and high-quality concrete aggregate. It is also crushed and used in sewage disposal plants, as, for example, at Lindsborg, Kansas. The iron oxide cemented sandstone, which has a tendency to case-harden upon exposure to the atmosphere, has been used as building stone, road material, and riprap on stock-pond dams. The silica-cemented sandstone is restricted to small, scattered areas, but has been quarried for use on county roads. Barite-cemented sandstone is rare, and has been found associated with calcite cement. The occurrence and uses of dolomitic calcite-cemented sandstone are similar to those of calcite-cemented rock.

Methods of investigation

Six weeks were spent in the field locating and examining deposits, and samples were studied in the laboratory by means of thin sections, mechanical analyses, and chemical analyses.

Acknowledgments--The study was made upon the instigation of Dr. John C. Frye, who supplied indispensable criticism and advice throughout its preparation. Thanks and appreciation are expressed to Colonel William E. Potter and Dr. Stafford C. Happ, Corps of Engineers, War Department, Kansas City, Missouri, who furnished chemical analyses and physical test data on the calcite- and dolomite-cemented sandstones. Thanks are also expressed to Mr. J. R. Carlgren of the Quartzite Stone Company, for information concerning carbonate-cemented sandstone in Lincoln County, and to many farmers in the area, especially Mr. R. G. Beil, Spearville, who supplied information concerning outcrop localities. Mr. Russell T. Runnels made chemical analyses of several samples in the laboratory of the State Geological Survey of Kansas. Mr. Norman Plummer supplied detailed stratigraphic information concerning the location and occurrence of many of the cemented sandstones. Dr. F. J. Pettijohn supplied helpful suggestions concerning the process of cementation. The manuscript has been read and criticized by D. H. McCoskey and Stafford C. Happ of the Corps of Engineers, War Department, Kansas City office, and Raymond C. Moore, Norman Plummer, and John C. Frye of the State Geological Survey of Kansas.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web June 14, 2007; originally published Nov. 1947.
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