Quartzite boulders can be found throughout northeastern Kansas, but they were not formed there. Glaciers carried the rocks in from South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota. They are red, brownish red, or purple.
Kansas doesn't have an active volcano, but lava did flow onto the surface as recently as 90 million years ago when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth. Hot magma forced its way up from over 100 miles below the Earth's surface in two small areas of eastern Kansas. The hot liquid, which spread upward through cracks in other underground rocks, cooled and hardened, forming a rock called lamproite in Woodson and Wilson counties and one called kimberlite in Riley County.
In one area of Riley County, lava flowed onto the surface but a volcanic cone was never formed. The kimberlite formed from the lava is now buried. Lamproite and kimberlite found at the surface in Kansas were exposed when the rock above was eroded away. Diamonds have been found in kimberlites and lamproites in other parts of the world, but none has been found yet in Kansas.
Granite, another type of igneous rock, has been found mixed with lamproite in Woodson County. It is older than the surrounding surface rocks and was formed deep in the Earth. Lamproite magma carried it toward the surface, where it is now exposed.
Some igneous and metamorphic rocks have traveled into Kansas from other places. Volcanic ash, basalt, granite, and quartzite have been carried in by wind, glaciers, and water.
Identifying meteorites in Kansas is easier than in other places, because they don't look like other Kansas rocks. Meteorites usually have a burned appearance, are pitted, and are denser than other rocks. Iron meteorites, consisting of heavy metals, iron, and nickel, are the easiest to identify. Stony meteorites are harder to identify because they look like volcanic rocks. Because Kansas has few volcanic rocks and lots of wide-open spaces, many meteorites have been found in the state.