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Geology of Ness and Hodgeman Counties

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Purpose of Report

The geologic investigations in Ness and Hodgeman counties were undertaken for the purpose of adding to the geologic knowledge of the state and assisting in the development of local mineral products. The Kansas Geological Survey is preparing a large-scale geologic map of the state, and the areal geologic maps in this report will form a part of that map. Data on the stratigraphy of the rocks outcropping in Ness and Hodgeman counties add to the knowledge of the rocks of Kansas and assist in the correlation of these rocks with those of other states. A knowledge of the stratigraphy and geologic structure is indispensable in searching for petroleum and is a great aid in developing other natural resources.

Previous Geologic Work

No detailed geologic reports on Ness and Hodgeman counties have been published previously, but some data have been published that apply to the area in a general way.

N.H. Darton (Darton, 1905), in describing the geology and underground water resources of the Central Great Plains, discusses the general geology and stratigraphy of western Kansas. Records of water wells in Ness and Hodgeman counties are included in this report. Darton and others (1915), in a geologic guidebook of the area along the route of the Santa Fe railway, include a geologic cross-section which crosses Ford County just south of the south line of Hodgeman County. Rubey and Bass (1925) made the first detailed report on an area in western Kansas in a bulletin on the geology of Russell County. This publication contains detailed descriptions and correlations of the Cretaceous strata and names a chalk member of the Greenhorn limestone after the town of Jetmore in Hodgeman County. Bass (1926), published a report on geologic investigations in western Kansas in which the geology of Ellis and Hamilton counties and the regional structure of the rocks of western Kansas are discussed. The authors of the Russell and Ellis county bulletins originated the classifications of structure and surface rocks used in the present report.

During the last few years oil companies have done a vast amount of geologic work in western Kansas. Most of the data collected by them are, for commercial reasons, not available to the public, but the records of wells drilled are generally available. These give considerable knowledge of the buried rocks and furnish a guide to future prospecting. Millions of dollars have been expended in western Kansas in prospecting for oil. Several oil pools have been discovered, but, taken as a whole, the production to date has not paid for the drilling that has been done. Many areal geologic data in this area have been kindly furnished the Kansas Geological Survey by oil companies.

Field Work and Acknowledgments

The field work upon which this report is based was done in the summers of 1929 and 1930. Most of the data on Ness County were obtained in 1929, and those for Hodgeman County in 1930. A field conference with J. B. Reeside, Jr., Kenneth K. Landes, and A. L. Morrow was held in July, 1930, to study the invertebrate paleontology of the Cretaceous strata. The valuable assistance given by Doctor Reeside is greatly appreciated. The writer wishes to express appreciation of helpful supervision and criticism in the field work and in preparation of the manuscript by Kenneth K. Landes; and also to acknowledge help given by Thos. H. Allan and others of the Midwest Refining Company for areal geologic data and well elevations. The Phillips Petroleum Company furnished areal geologic data in Hodgeman County which were very useful. The writer also wishes to acknowledge assistance by Robert McNeely, of the Independent Oil Company, in checking stratigraphic intervals in the Niobrara formation, and by William F. Howell, of the Phillips Petroleum Company, who furnished core-drill information on the thickness of the Carlile shale. Subsurface data on the Coleman well were kindly furnished by Charles Ryniker and Roy Hall, of the Gypsy Oil Company. The writer is indebted to many local citizens for data on water wells, sand and gravel deposits, and other geologic information, particularly L. L. Hunt and P. G. Roth, of Ness City, William Benge, of Jetmore; and Humphrey Owens, of Utica.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Ness and Hodgeman Geology
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Web version May 2004. Original publication date Dec. 1, 1932.