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The Permian System in Kansas

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Our knowledge of Permian rocks in Kansas has increased greatly in recent years. Based on detailed biostratigraphic studies, a global standard for the Carboniferous-Permian boundary has been established and is clearly recognized in the Kansas sequence. Recognition of genetic surfaces and a sequence stratigraphic framework have provided a better understanding of the temporal setting and depositional environments during the Permian. The role of climate has been more widely recognized with the well-preserved paleosols of the Kansas Permian providing useful proxies. Data useful in the study of the Permian climate are coming from a number of disciplines including the analysis of carbon and oxygen isotopes. These new approaches have resulted in more meaningful sea-level curves. In the absence of ash beds, isotopic studies of 1) clay minerals within evaporates, and 2) pedogenic calcite, are providing radiometric dates. Rocks inferred as terrestrial in origin are being studied using the techniques of magnetostratigraphy. By combining and modifying what we knew with what we have learned recently, inferring a more complete picture of Kansas during the Permian is possible.

To arrive at that picture requires a consideration of 1) early research efforts as well as current studies, 2) currently understood aspects of the stratigraphic units composing the Permian in Kansas, and 3) the contents of the major subdivisions of the Permian in Kansas. These constitute the first three major sections of this effort. The inferred history, i.e., the picture referred to above, is the fourth section. Economic aspects and future opportunities for research on the Permian in Kansas are discussed in sections five and six. A summary, acknowledgments, and references complete the paper.

This is a publication of the Kansas Geological Survey and the names of stratigraphic units herein are those currently recognized as acceptable by that organization. Currently, a Stratigraphic Nomenclature Committee of the Kansas Geological Survey is evaluating the names of stratigraphic units and reviewing and revising, as appropriate, the stratigraphic nomenclature of Kansas. Ultimately the efforts of this committee will result in a terminology that is appropriate, current, and more globally recognized.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web April 27, 2010; originally published April 2010.
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