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Kansas Geological Survey, Open-file Report 2010-11

Kansas Geology as Viewed by the Artist

Dan Merriam

KGS Open File Report 2010-11


The geology of Kansas is simple in general but complex and detailed in specifics. Artists can capture the essence of the form in their art on many scales from landscapes to individual fossils and can and do reconstruct ancient environments. The physiography of Kansas reflects the bedrock geology so that the High Plains in the west are Tertiary flat-lying largely unconsolidated clastic rocks, whereas the Flint Hills are composed of alternating layers of flint (chert)-bearing limestone and shale forming prominent hills and valleys. The rolling hills of northeastern Kansas are the remnants of the glaciers that once covered that part of the state. The present landforms were and are produced by erosion of the sedimentary sequence by either running water or the abrasive work of the wind.

Everyone views a subject a bit differently and that is what makes the world interesting. An artist or a artistic geologist views their subject in different ways too. Some capture an image in the field and others take photographs or make preliminary drawings and then finalize them in the studio. Either way, the recorder tries to make the reproduction as authentic as possible and preserve the ambience as if viewed on the spot. Some of the preeminent Kansas artists of the 20th Century include Birger Sandzén, John Steuart Curry, Raymond Eastwood, Robert Sudlow, Louis Copt, James Hamil, and Margaret Whittemore.

The complete presentation is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file.

merriam_OF2010-11.pdf (848 kB)

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Kansas Geological Survey
Placed online Aug. 3, 2010
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