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Fort Hays Chalk

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Occurrence by Counties

Ellis County

The Fort Hays chalk crops out extensively north of a diagonal line across Ellis County from northeast to southwest. The calcium carbonate content of the chalk (33 feet thick) in sec. 11, T. 13 S., R. 20 W., 6 miles west of Yocemento on U. S. Highway 40 ranged from 89.0 percent for the upper part of the base to 94.4 percent for the fifth bed above the base.

There are additional outcrops along the Union Pacific Railroad in this area. A 2-foot bed was sampled in a quarry producing building blocks in sec. 3, T. 13 S., R. 18 W., on Kansas Highway 183 north of Hays. This bed is very white and contained 95.4 percent calcium carbonate.

There are extensive outcrops, as much as 56 feet thick, bordering Saline River Valley, but the distance to rail facilities and lack of roads limits their economic value.

Finney County

The Fort Hays chalk crops out only in the northeast corner of the county. The chalk in a small building block quarry located in the SW NW sec. 22, T. 22 S., R. 30 W., was sampled in 1943 and 1947 by the Kansas State Geological Survey. The earlier sample is a composite of the quarry face which shows a calcium carbonate content of 96.9 percent. Spot samples taken in 1947 reveal 93.5 and 95.2 percent calcium carbonate. In general, the chalk from this quarry is of exceptional whiteness. The quarry has moderate reserves and is 20 miles from the nearest railroad at Garden City. This distance is not prohibitive, however, in view of the general lack of limestone in the southwest part of the State. The building blocks are very white and contain relatively few concretions. This area could well supply chalk for whiting, lime, and building stone for Garden City, Dodge City, and other towns to the southwest.

Hamilton County

The Fort Hays chalk crops out in Hamilton County north of Arkansas River near the Colorado line. In general, the outcrops are few in number and isolated. Two samples were taken in sec. 3, T. 22 S., R. 43 W. The calcium carbonate content is 95.6 and 96.4 percent; the color is a bluish gray.

Jewell County

The Fort Hays chalk crops out diagonally across the county from northeast to southwest. The greatest thickness observed was 39 feet in a quarry face in the NW SW sec. 10, T. 2 S., R. 8 W., approximately 8 miles north of Mankato. Analyses of the chalk show the calcium carbonate to range from 90.1 to 97.4 percent. The highest calcium carbonate content occurs in the sixth bed above the base which is 3 feet 8 inches thick. This quarry is on a county road with Mankato the nearest shipping point. The remainder of the Fort Hays outcrops in Jewell County are thinner, with usually only the basal part remaining.

Lane County

Samples from the basal bed of the Fort Hays chalk were collected in sec. 28, T. 20 S., R. 27 W. As far as could be determined there are no extensive outcrops of the Fort Hays chalk in this county.

Ness County

As far as could be determined only minor outcrops of the Fort Hays chalk occur in Ness County. The chalk crops out generally in the northeast corner to north of Ness City and along the western edge of the county. Samples from the basal part were collected in sec. 33, T. 18 S., R. 26 W.

Osborne County

The Fort Hays crops out in the western half of Osborne County.

An extensive outcrop occurs south of Alton along the South Solomon River bluffs in the NW sec. 13, T. 7 S., R. 15 W. Approximately 40 feet of chalk is present in this locality. The calcium carbonate content of four white beds in a small quarry face ranges from 92.3 to 97.6 percent. This locality has large reserves and is readily accessible to U. S. Highway 24 and the railroad through Alton.

A 33-foot section was observed in a road cut on Highway 281 in secs. 19 and 30, T. 9 S., R. 12 W. The thicker beds show white on a fresh surface and beds no. 7 and 10 contain 92.7 and 96.9 percent calcium carbonate, respectively. Similar chalk was observed in other road cuts in the same area.

In the southwest corner of the county south of Natoma in secs. 19, 20, 29, and 30, T. 10 S., R. 15 W., an outcrop similar to the one on Highway 281 was observed but not measured because of local faults.

Phillips County

A few outcrops of the Fort Hays chalk are present on the North Solomon River bluffs on Highway 183. Basal samples were collected in the SE SW sec. 36, T. 4 S., R. 18 W. The relatively small outcrops, the distance from roads, and the closeness of such favorably situated quarries as the one at Cedar make development of the Fort Hays chalk in Phillips County improbable.

Rooks County

Both Solomon River and Paradise Creek provide east-west areas through Rooks County along which the Fort Hays crops out extensively. In a road cut south of Codell in sec. 26, T. 10 S., R. 17 W. a 56-foot section of chalk was measured. The calcium carbonate content of the 26 beds of chalk in the exposure ranges from 96.4 percent in bed 4 to 91.1 percent in bed 26. Several of the white beds were not analyzed, however. This location has large reserves. There is a gravel road to Codell and the Union Pacific Railroad runs through Codell.

There are numerous outcrops of the Fort Hays chalk along South Solomon River Valley from Webster to the eastern border of Rooks County. These outcrops were not sampled, but further study may reveal suitable chalk for commercial development.

Smith County

Fort Hays chalk crops out as bluffs on North Solomon River from west of the town of Cedar to the town of Portis just across the Smith County Line in Osborne County.

A small quarry in the SW sec. 36, T. 4 S., R. 15 W., 3 miles west of Cedar on Kansas Highway 9, produces chalk for whiting. The section measures 43.5 feet in this area. Plate 1B shows this section as viewed from the road. Bed 14 shows 98.2 percent calcium carbonate and was the purest chalk studied. Bed 15 shows 95.8 percent. These two beds provide the working face of the quarry where the chalk is hand-picked and averages 97 percent calcium carbonate with 99.1 percent total carbonates. A section in the NE sec. 32, T. 5 S., R. 13 W. measures 38 feet; the top bed (13) has a calcium carbonate content of 97.5 percent.

This entire area is suitable for quarry sites and a Missouri Pacific Railroad line passes through Cedar, Gaylord, and Portis.

Trego County

Chalk of the Niobrara formation crops out over a large part of Trego County. The Fort Hays-Carlile contact crops out along Smoky Hill River from the eastern border of Trego County to the junction of Hackberry Creek with Smoky Hill River.

An incomplete section in the NE SE sec. 1, T. 15 S., R. 23 W. measures 55 feet. Bed 15 contains 95.4 percent calcium carbonate. A 52-foot section in the NW sec. 30, T. 14 S., R. 24 W., at the junction of Hackberry Creek with Smoky Hill River was measured by John C. Frye.

There are large tonnages of chalk available in Trego County, but the distance from transportation makes the economic utilization unfavorable at present. The nearest railroads, are the Union Pacific at Wakeeny and a Missouri Pacific branch line at Ransom.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web Oct. 6, 2008; originally published Feb. 1949.
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