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Chase County Geohydrology

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Economic Geology of Outcropping Rocks

Properties and the sequence of limestones and shales that crop out and surficial deposits of gravel, sand, and silt are discussed in Part I of this report. Their distribution is shown on Plate 1.


Several limestones occurring in the exposed portion of the geologic column are of economic importance because of their thickness and qualities. The more common uses for which these rocks are suitable include concrete and other aggregate, crushed rock for road metal and other uses, agricultural limestone, riprap, and building stone. Some of them, because of chemical composition, may be suited to more specialized uses. Chemical analyses of rock taken from the more important ledges are listed in Table 1. Data on limestone quarries are listed in Table 2.

Table 1--Chemical analyses of selected limestones that crop out in Chase County.

Stratigraphic unit,
thickness, and
type of sample
Location SiO2 Al2O3 Fe2O3 TiO2 CaO MgO P2O5 SO3 Ignition
Herington ls, composite of four spot samples NW NE 3-22-6E 13.35 1.71 1.37 0.55 25.50 18.83 0.17 tr. 38.93 45.47 39.39
Krider ls, spot sample of 0.8-ft bed in upper part NW NE 3-22-6E 10.27 1.62 1.32 0.77 26.68 18.72 0.09 tr. 40.49 47.57 39.16
Cresswell ls, composite of complete member (12.8 ft) SW NW 16-22-6E 6.34 0.85 0.76 0.21 50.04 1.89 0.14 .... 40.01 89.23 3.95
Cresswell ls, composite of lower 5.6 ft NE NW 17-22-7E 5.30 1.72 0.14 0.56 50.06 0.68 0.20 0.26 41.01 89.26 1.42
Towanda ls, composite of 10 spot samples of ls beds of member SW SW 24-21-6E 2.84 1.11 0.27 0.17 52.59 0.65 0.03 tr. 41.88 93.78 1.36
Ft. Riley ls, composite of 8.85 ft lower part of member NW NE 6-22-6E 5.69 1.65 0.65 0.15 50.18 0.66 tr. tr. 40.44 89.48 1.38
Threemile ls, composite of upper 13.3 ft without chert NW NE 18-19-8E 1.72 0.30 0.32 tr. 54.56 0.48 tr. nil 42.92 97.29 1.00
Crouse ls (upper) composite of lower massive 2.75 ft of bed NW NW 4-18-9E 4.94 0.85 1.49 0.45 50.83 0.28 tr. tr. 40.46 90.64 0.59
Crouse ls (lower) composite of all 3.10 ft of lower Crouse ls NW NW 4-18-9E 4.41 0.83 0.58 0.41 51.48 0.74 tr. tr 41.20 91.80 1.55
Cottonwood ls, composite of ±5 ft (complete member) SE SE 30-19-7E 5.50 1.74 0.49 0.69 50.09 0.65 0.15 0.32 40.71 89.32 1.36
Cottonwood ls, composite of ±5 ft (complete member) NE NW 36-19-8E 4.75 0.98 0.28 ** 50.55 1.35 0.17 tr. 41.13 90.14 2.82
Cottonwood ls, composite of 3.2 ft (complete bed) NW SW 3-22-9E 6.85 1.18 0.59 ** 49.53 1.78 0.20 tr. 40.24 88.32 3.72
Eskridge sh (lower ls bed) 3.9 ft, composite of complete bed SW NW 23-19-8E 1.62 1.30 0.36 .... 52.78 0.57 0.12 0.12 42.96 94.11 1.19
Upper Neva, composite of complete upper bed, 5.1 ft SW NW 23-19-8E 5.09 1.03 0.42 ** 50.97 0.56 0.11 0.21 41.38 90.89 1.17
Middle Neva, composite of complete middle Neva, 3.8 ft SW NW 23-19-8E 6.05 2.31 0.21 ** 50.04 0.75 0.09 0.22 37.04 89.23 1.56
Glenrock ls, composite of upper 5.95 ft SE NW 26-19-7E 2.85 0.76 0.32 ** 52.89 1.05 0.14 tr. 42.07 94.31 2.20
Long Creek ls, composite of lower 9.75 ft of member NW SE 24-21-9E 13.69 1.53 0.38 0.23 41.66 4.22 0.06 37.20 74.29 8.88
* Not corrected for small percentages of calcium in phosphates and sulfates.
** Reported with Al2O3.
† S + SO4 = 0.12; FeS2 = 0.97.

Table 2--Locations of limestone quarries in Chase County.

Location where quarried Thickness of
quarried part, feet
Total thickness
of member, feet
Nolans Limestone
Herington limestone member
SE SE sec. 14, T. 21 S., R. 6 E.3 (upper)10-15
NE sec. 28, T. 21 S., R. 6 E.3 (upper)10-15
NW NE sec. 35, T. 21 S., R. 6 E.3 (upper)10-15
Winfield Limestone
Cresswell limestone member
NE SE sec. 18, T. 22 S., R. 6 E.1010-14
NW NW sec. 20, T. 22 S., R. 6 E.10-1310-14
Doyle Limestone
Towanda limestone member
NW SW sec. 5, T. 22 S., R. 7 E.8-108-10
Barneston Limestone
Ft. Riley limestone member
SE cor. sec. 27, T. 20 S., R. 7 E.8-10 (lower)±40
SE NW sec. 1, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.8-10 (lower)±40
NE SW sec. 1, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.8-10 (lower)±40
NW SE sec. 12, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.8-10 (lower)±40
Cen. N/2 SE sec. 13, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.2-8 (upper)±40
NW SE sec. 13, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.2-8 (upper)±40
Cen. E line sec. 19, T. 22 S., R. 7 E.±8 (upper)±40
Matfield Shale
Kinney limestone member
NE NW sec. 1, T. 21 S., R. 5 E.....±19
NE NW sec. 7, T. 22 S., R. 8 E.....±14
NW SE sec. 18, T. 22 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±19
NW NE sec. 19, T. 22 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±19
Wreford Limestone
Threemile limestone member
NW SE sec. 16, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.....14-21
NE sec. 18, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±1314-21
Funston Limestone
NE NW sec. 31, T. 18 S., R. 8 E.....±19
NW SW sec. 29, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.....±19
Cen. W/2 SW sec. 29, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.....±19
SE sec. 10, T. 19 S., R. 6 E.....±20
SE NW sec.11, T. 19 S., R. 6 E.....±20
NE SE sec. 7, T. 19 S. R. 8 E.....±18
SE NW sec. 3, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±6 (lower)±25
NE NE sec. 15, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±5 (upper)±22
NE sec. 22, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±5 (upper)
±6 (lower)
Crouse Limestone
SE cor. sec. 2, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.±3 (upper)±16
NW cor. sec. 3, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.±3 (upper)±16
Cen. W/2 NW sec. 4, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.±3 (upper)±16
Cen. W/2 W/2 sec. 33, T. 18 S., R. 9 E.±3 (upper)±16
NW NW sec. 14, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±16
SE NW sec. 15, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±16
NE NW. sec. 16, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±2 (upper)±16
Cen. E/2 sec. 30, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±2 (upper)±16
N/2 sec. 32, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±16
NE SE sec. 33, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±3 (upper)±16
SE NW sec. 3, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±2 (upper)±16
SW NW sec. 4, T. 20 S., R. 8 E.±2 (upper)±16
Cen. N/2 N/2 sec. 4, T. 20 S., R. 8 E.±2 (upper)±16
SW SW sec. 29, T. 20 S., R. 8 E.±2 (upper)±16
Bader Limestone
Eiss limestone member
NW NW sec. 23, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±2 (upper)±18
Beattie Limestone
Morrill limestone member
NE NE sec. 16, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±43.4-6
Cottonwood limestone member
SW SW sec. 32, T. 18 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SW SW sec. 14, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NE NE sec. 16, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NW SW sec. 16, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SE NW sec. 17, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
Lot 9 sec. 18, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SW NE sec. 22, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
Cen. W/2 NW sec. 23, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NE NW sec. 23, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SW cor. sec. 26, SE sec. 27, N/2 sec. 34,
NW cor. sec. 35, T. 19 S., R 8 E.±54-6.5
Cen. S/2 sec. 28, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NW SW sec. 28, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SE NW sec. 29, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
Cen. E/2 SW sec. 33, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SE NE sec. 34, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NE NW sec. 36, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
SW SE sec. 11, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±54-6.5
SE SW sec. 14, T. 20 S., R. 6 E.±54-6.5
NE NE sec. 27, T. 20 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
NW NE sec. 28, T. 20 S., R. 8 E.±54-6.5
Eskridge Shale
Unnamed limestone member
S/2 NW sec. 23, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.3.9 
Grenola Limestone
Neva limestone member
SE NE sec. 22, T. 19 S., R. 8 E.±5 (upper)±13
S/2 NW sec. 23, T. 19 S., R. 8 E. ±9 (upper and middle)±13
SE SE sec. 31, T. 19 S., R. 9 E.....±13
SE NW sec. 7, T. 20 S., R. 7 E.....14-17
Red Eagle Limestone
Glenrock limestone member
SE NW sec. 5, T. 20 S., R. 7 E.±5±5
Foraker Limestone
Long Creek limestone member
SE NE sec. 12, T. 20 S., R. 9 E.....±6
Americus limestone member
SE NE sec. 24, T. 19 S., R. 9 E.1.5 (lower)±14

Agricultural Limestone

Limestone having a calcium carbonate equivalent of 80 percent or more occurring in ledges sufficiently thick to allow economical quarrying is regarded as potential material for agricultural limestone. Physical requirements for agricultural limestone largely are dependent on processing and are not considered here.

Limestones that are potential sources of agricultural limestone include: Herington, Cresswell (locally), Towanda, Fort Riley, Crouse, Cottonwood, a limestone in the lower part of the Eskridge shale (locally), Neva, Glenrock, and Long Creek.

Because of the chert content in the Florence, Shroyer, and Threemile ledges, these rocks are not regarded as sources of agricultural limestone.

Dolomitic limestones, such as the Herington and Long Creek, are of special interest as sources of agricultural limestone because they meet minimum requirements for calcium carbonate equivalent of 80 percent or more and have other desirable properties, namely (1) a slower rate of neutralization and (2) they supply soluble magnesium which is now known to be beneficial to plant growth. The Cottonwood limestone, a limestone in the Eskridge shale, and the Neva limestone have been utilized for agricultural limestone in the county.

Building Stone

Nearly all the thicker and more massive limestone ledges in Chase County have been used as sources of building stone. Although rough dimension blocks can be obtained from all of them, the Fort Riley, Cottonwood, and Americus limestones are especially well adapted for cut stone. Other limestones regarded as possible sources of rock for building stone include parts of the Towanda, Kinney, Funston, Crouse, Neva, and the Glenrock limestones. Factors considered include durability, thickness of ledges and individual beds, spacing of joints, and color on weathering.

The principal uses of the limestones regarded as of minor importance as building stone are for construction of local bridge foundations and abutments, foundations for small buildings, and in construction of farm buildings and other relatively small structures.

Fort Riley limestone.--The Fort Riley limestone has not been quarried extensively in Chase County, but is an important source of material for cut stone in Cowley and Geary counties. Parts of this rock are light and uniform in color, uniform in texture, easily cut, and have bedding and joint planes spaced to allow quarrying of large blocks. The durability of the Fort Riley limestone, taken from elsewhere in Kansas, has been demonstrated in many buildings.

Cottonwood limestone.--The Cottonwood limestone for a long time has been an important source of building stone. Early in the century six or more commercial quarries produced cut stone in Chase County (Prosser and Beede, 1904, p. 5). The rock is massive, nearly white in color, even-textured, durable, and commonly remarkably free from jointing. Blocks of stone 3 feet or more thick and of much greater length and width can be taken from the ledge. The crushing strength is reported as 6,800 pounds per square inch, the weight 161.6 pounds per cubic foot, and the specific gravity 2.59 (Prosser and Beede, 1904, p. 5). One commercial quarry is now operating in the county about 2 miles east of Cottonwood Falls.

Americus limestone.--The lower part, or "main ledge," of the Americus limestone is regarded as a potential source of commercial building stone because of properties that allow quarrying of large blocks uniformly about 1 1/2 feet thick. The rock is gray in color and has no tendency to become slabby after long exposure.

Crushed Rock and Riprap

All the thicker limestone ledges in Chase County are potential sources of rock for crushing and for riprap material. Many have been used for road metal or aggregate material. No recommendations of individual ledges for aggregate material are made because of the many current sets of specifications for aggregate for specialized uses and because no physical tests were made.

Wreford limestone.--The importance of the Wreford limestone as a source of crusher rock has been recognized for many years. According to Prosser and Beede (1904, p. 6): "This rock [Wreford limestone] was extensively quarried for ballast at the Crusher Hill quarry, one mile northwest of Strong." Chert in the Wreford and Florence limestones may cause them to be undesirable for crushing or for some uses.

Other limestones.--Other comparatively thick limestone ledges that are important sources of road metal and crushed stone for other uses include the Herington, Cresswell, Towanda, Fort Riley, Funston, Crouse, Eiss, Morrill, Cottonwood, limestone in the Eskridge shale locally, Neva, Glenrock, Long Creek, Americus, and Five Point limestones. All the limestones mentioned in this section are regarded as potential sources of riprap material for various uses.

Ceramic Materials

Ceramic data from firing tests on several samples of clay from Permian shales and from Pleistocene alluvial deposits were obtained in the Geological Survey Ceramic Laboratory by Norman Plummer. Ceramic data are listed in Tables 3 and 4. The paragraphs below were prepared in part by Plummer.

Clay for Structural Products

Most of the shales have a very short firing and maturing range when being made into brick or other ceramic products because of their high content of lime. The lime content, however, has the property of neutralizing red colors of iron oxides, and buff and greenish colors are produced. Data (Table 3) indicate that brick and tile can be produced from the Florena shale if the firing temperature is controlled to within 30°F of cone 1 (about 2100°F). The Blue Springs shale also is usable for making brick and tile but an even closer control of firing temperature is necessary. Other shales that were tested are unsatisfactory or of doubtful value for structural clay products (Table 3).

Table 3--Ceramic data on samples of Permian shales from Chase County.*

Plastic and Dry Properties
Sample no. Stratigraphic position Thickness sampled, feet Water of plasticity, percent Shinkage water, percent Pore water, percent Volume shrinkage, percent Measured linear shrinkage, percent Calculated linear shrinkage, percent
CS-10Roca sh521.687.40 14.2814.073.854.94
CS-6Eskridge sh721.589.40 12.1818.255.155.76
CS-5Florena sh425.059.20 15.8516.975.315.37
CS-13Blue Springs sh723.269.72 13.5418.425.296.55
CS-38Blue Springs sh519.264.76 14.509.153.132.97
CS-14-AGage sh (upper)627.4414.83 12.6129.297.948.94
CS-14-BGage sh (lower)625.319.33 15.9817.095.295.40
Fired Properties
Sample no. Ignition loss, percent Firing range, cones Fired to cone Color Volume shrinkage, percent Linear shrinkage, calculated, percent Percent absorption Saturation coefficient
24 hrs, cold water5 hrs, boiling water
CS-1014.494-504pink-buff 5.951.96 18.05 
   3white & brown 9.933.4211.6517.190.68
CS-619.793-4(?)04cream 0.090.03 26.22 
   7green 30.7617.315.547.760.77
CS-58.8601-204orange-buff 7.222.46 17.40 
CS-1312.081-304pink-buff 2.390.79 26.60 
   3green 18.606.634.158.020.52
CS-3814.662-4(?)04yellow 1.210.40 24.52 
   3green 10.133.4713.0517.440.75
CS-14-A16.82?04yellow (disintegrated in water--no data) 
CS-14-B22.612-404cream 0.640.20 28.92 
   7green 37.1114.322.494.140.60
*Sample locations are given in table 5 and shown on plate 2.

A ceramic analysis was run on a composite sample of 18 feet of alluvial clay from the bank of Cottonwood River, NE NE sec. 35, T. 19 S., R. 8 E. (CS-15). It was first tested by mixing with water and extruding from a de-airing brick machine (CS-15). Working properties were excellent, but cracks formed in the bricks in drying. The clay was then mixed with 15 percent river sand for one test (CS-15-5) and was preheated to 600°F before forming into bricks for another test (CS-15-C). In both cases the working characteristics were good and no cracking occurred in drying. Results of the tests are given in Table 4. The color after firing ranged from orange red to brick red and the clay proved satisfactory for use in any type of structural clay product. The firing range of about 120°F is sufficiently long. At the maximum temperature attained in the test (2030°F), there were no symptoms of overfiring. The low saturation coefficient of the fired sample indicates that the brick or tile made from the clay will withstand severe weathering (Table 4).

Table 4--Ceramic data on three methods of using an alluvial clay from Chase County.

Plastic and Dry Properties
Water of
CS-15-S1825.839.40slight warping
Fired Properties
to cone
Color Linear
Percent absorption Saturation
24 hrs,
cold water
5 hrs,
boiling water
CS-153.8104-0105red-orange 0.6711.2613.680.82
CS-15-S3.7205-0105red-orange 0.04-10.1713.580.75
CS-15-C3.3104-0105red-orange 0.7113.7916.460.84
   01red 6.863.075.400.57

Shales for Ceramic Concrete Aggregate and Railroad Ballast

Several tests have been made on Permian shale samples to determine their suitability for use in the production of a sintered railroad ballast (ceramic slag) by means of heating to a high temperature in a rotary kiln (Plummer and Hladik, 1948). The same shales were used in these tests as for the regular ceramic tests reported in Table 4. Sample CS-5 which proved to be best for brick and tile was also best for railroad ballast or heavy concrete aggregate manufacture. Samples CS-10, CS-13, and CS-38 also are satisfactory raw materials for the manufacture of these products, but should be ground, mixed, and pelleted before firing in order to eliminate slaking of calcareous portions (Table 5).

Subsequent tests on the same materials in an attempt to produce a lightweight concrete aggregate similar to Haydite indicate that a bloated shale product cannot be manufactured from these Permian shales by the rotary kiln method, but that any one of the various sintering or moving-hearth methods is well adapted to materials like the Florena and the Roca shales (Plummer and Hladik, 1951).

Table 5--Data on firing and physical properties of "ceramic slag" produced from Chase County shales.

Sample no. Stratigraphic position Thickness, feet Location Temp., Degrees F Absorption*
5 hours boiling
Sat. coefficient Bulk spec. gravity Form of testing Remarks
Max Min Avg
CS-5Florena sh426-19-7E 21004.823.314.330.84 2.22BarsGood material
CS-6Eskridge sh418-19-8E 22108.007.407.760.77 2.00BarsToo calcareous
CS-6Eskridge sh418-19-8E 22209.912.826.05.... 2.07LumpsCalcareous, not uniform
CS-10Roca sh5SW 23-19-9E 211018.1316.5117.190.68 1.79PressedFairly good material
CS-10Roca sh5SW 23-19-9E 2150................ ....LumpsHighly calcareous,
not uniform
CS-13Blue Springs sh7SE 2-21-6E 21201.380.340.86.... 2.14PressedNot uniformly
fired in lump form
CS-13Blue Springs sh7SE 2-21-6E 21008.767.278.020.52 2.04BarsFairly good material
CS-14-AGage sh (upper)6SW 8-21-6E 2280................ ....LumpsCalcareous, not uniform
CS-14-BGage sh (lower)6 SW 8-21-6E 22105.673.364.140.60 2.10BarsSome limestone pocks
CS-38Blue Springs sh5 SE 28-19-6E 2165................ ....LumpsNot fired uniformly
CS-38Blue Springs sh5 SE 28-19-6E 210018.5116.2417.440.75 1.83BarsToo calcareous
CS-38Blue Springs sh5 SE 28-19-6E 2120........3.02.... 2.19PressedFairly good material
* Absorption after 24 hours submersion in cold water equals average absorption after 5 hours submersion in boiling water multiplied by the saturation coefficient.

Material for Rock Wool

Although no specific tests have been run with Chase County samples, a number of Permian shales proved satisfactory for the production of rock wool in a series of tests run several years ago (Plummer, 1937). Sample CS-14-B, from the Gage shale included in this report, is sufficiently calcareous to produce a rock wool without additions. The Grant shale as sampled in Cowley County and also in Riley County is a natural wool rock (a wool rock is defined as a rock having a composition such that no additional material need be added to prepare it for processing into rock wool). Rock wool produced from the Cowley County sample was excellent in quality. Parts of the Eskridge and Holmesville shales are sufficiently calcareous to be classed as wool rocks, but in general small additions of limestone would be necessary in order to increase the fusibility. A material suitable for the production of rock wool should have a calcium carbonate plus magnesium carbonate content of 50 to 65 percent. The balance should consist largely of silica, with some alumina and other oxides. Usually a shale having an ignition loss ranging from 22 to 30 percent can be used for the production of rock wool.

Gravel and Sand

Extensive accumulations of chert gravel together with chert and quartz sand occur in the terrace deposits and alluvium in the stream valleys. One washing and screening plant which utilizes terrace deposits of sand and gravel is located north of Bazaar along the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.

The locations of the Bazaar and other pits, most of which are operated intermittently, and the disposition of gravel deposits of commercial importance are shown on Plate 2; the materials are described in Part 1 of this report. The reserves of gravel and sand in Chase County are large.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Chase County Geohydrology
Placed on web March 2001; originally published Aug. 1951.
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