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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Information Circular (PIC) 4
Geologic Mapping in Kansas--Part 2 of 4

Benefits and Uses

Geologic maps are usually the first source of information--the starting point--for any geologically related investigation. They are useful in construction and engineering projects, city and county planning, and in a variety of environmental activities. Large projects (dams, roads, bridges, buildings) require detailed geological analysis because of monetary, health, and safety concerns. Smaller projects, such as surface-water impoundments, houses, and water wells, also benefit from an understanding of the surface bedrock. For example, if a farm pond is located in a porous bedrock unit (such as sandstone), that unit may function as a drain and the pond will not hold water. If placed in a nonporous unit, such as shale, which contains clay that forms a tight seal, the pond should not leak. This basic information about the local geology can be ascertained from a geologic map. Other examples of how geologic maps can be used include

Geologic maps can be used to evaluate and predict the consequences of natural and human-induced activities on the environment. The use of geologic-map information during a project's planning and design stage produces long-term benefits and reduces problems that may develop after the project is completed.

Figure 2--McDowell Creek Road just south of Manhattan, Kansas. Damage caused by a landslide to over one-quarter mile of the road after heavy rains during the spring of 1995. The roadway was displaced about 20 feet vertically and 40 feet horizontally by the slide.

Photo of road destroyed by landslide.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology Extension
1930 Constant Ave., Lawrence, KS 66047-3726
Phone: (785) 864-3965, Fax: (785) 864-5317
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Web version August 1996