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Physiographic Map--Chautauqua Hills

West of the Osage Cuestas are the Chautauqua Hills, known for their thick layers of sandstone and usually densely vegetated with oak and other timber. During the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods, rivers and streams flowed into the sea in this area. Sand and other sediment collected at the mouths of the rivers, forming deltas. When the seas dried up, the sediments were buried and formed rocks. The sands became sandstone and the muds became shale. Uplift and erosion eventually exposed sandstone and shale outcrops at the Earth's surface.

Orso waterfall

At Osro Falls in Chautauqua County, the Caney River drops over a ledge of naturally eroded limestone.

sandstone outcrop

Sandstone deposited during the Pennslyvanian Period of geologic history, about 300 million years ago, forms the Chautauqua Hills in Chautauqua County.

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Kansas Geological Survey
Updated March 14, 1997
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