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Franklin County Geology

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Location and Area

Franklin County, which extends from about lat. 38 deg. 7' N to lat. 38 deg. 44' N and from about long 95 deg. 4' W to long 95 deg. 31' W, includes a nearly square area of 576 square miles. It is bounded on the north by Douglas County, on the east by Miami County, on the south by Anderson County, and on the west by Osage and Coffey Counties (Fig. 1).

Figure 1--Index map of Kansas showing area described in this report and areas covered by other geologic maps, as of Jan. 2002. For additional information, see the KGS Geologic Maps of Kansas Page.

Index map of Kansas showing status of geologic mapping, 2002

Previous Work

Many geologists have contributed to the understanding of the geology of Franklin County. Only the works particularly pertinent to this study are cited here. J.L. Rich (1933a, 1933b) described local structural and stratigraphic relationships of Douglas and Oread rocks near Baldwin in southeastern Douglas County and near Pamona in northwestern Franklin County. Coal resources of the Douglas Group were comprehensively studied by A.L. Bowsher and J.M. Jewett (1943), and their report includes excellent stratigraphic descriptions. Geologic maps of Douglas, Miami, and Osage Counties, prepared by H.G. O'Connor (1960), N.D. Newell (1935), and H.G. O'Connor (O'Connor and others, 1955), respectively, were utilized in this study along the boundaries of Franklin County. The most detailed account of oil and gas resources in Franklin County appears in a report by J.M. Jewett (1954). Soils of Franklin County were described and mapped by R.C. Dunmire and others (1946); their soils map was utilized in placement of dashed contact lines on the geologic map. The authors also consulted reports by R.C. Moore (1936) and Moore and others (1951), which include classification and description of Kansas strata, as well as unpublished data collected by several members of the State Geological Survey of Kansas. Particularly useful were measured sections by W.B. Hladik, J.M. Jewett, R.C. Moore, H.G. O'Connor, and Norman Plummer, and a reconnaissance geologic map and sections by N.D. Newell.

Methods of Investigation

During the summer of 1956 and in shorter periods between October 1956 and June 1957 details of the stratigraphy were studied and areal geologic maps were prepared by the authors. Rocks in the eastern half of the county, in the southwestern quarter, and in the north-western quarter were mapped by Stanton M. Ball, Mahlon M. Ball, and Dwight J. Laughlin, respectively. Additional field studies were made by S.M. Ball and H.A. Mendoza during August and September 1958.

The areal geology of the county was mapped on aerial photographs (scale 1:20,000) and transferred by means of a Focalmatic desk projector to a base map (scale 1:40,000) adapted from a U.S. Soil Conservation Service drainage and base map. Corrections for distortion due to parallax and tilt were judged to be unnecessary because of the area's low relief and because of the quality of the photographs.

In November 1957, test holes were drilled with a portable hydraulic-rotary drilling machine owned by the State Geological Survey and operated by E.L. Reavis and William Gellinger.


The authors are grateful for the suggestions and criticisms made by J.M. Jewett, who, as supervisor of this project, has contributed to the report in many ways. H.A. Ireland and Walter Youngquist guided The University of Kansas graduate study during which a part of the data was collected. Several other geologists, especially H.G. O'Connor, shared their knowledge of the stratigraphy of eastern Kansas. Throughout the work the cooperation of Franklin County residents was of great assistance to the authors.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology of Franklin County
Web version July 2002. Original publication date Jun. 1963.
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