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Cretaceous Stratigraphy, Belvidere Area

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Cretaceous Stratigraphy of the Belvidere Area, Kiowa County, Kansas

by Bruce F. Latta

Originally published in 1946 as Kansas Geological Survey Bulletin 64, Part 6. This is, in general, the original text as published in 1946. The information has not been updated.


The Belvidere area comprises about 100 square miles in southeastern Kiowa County, Kansas, located at the eastern edge of the High Plains. This is the type area for the Comanchean series of Early Cretaceous age as developed in Kansas and includes the type localities for 17 group, formation, and member names. Only two of these names--Cheyenne sandstone and Kiowa shale--have come into general use, however. The development of present classification of the Cretaceous rocks in southern Kansas is reviewed and a detailed description of the Cretaceous formations exposed in the Belvidere area is given.

Sandstone, sandy shale, and conglomerate belonging to the Cheyenne sandstone are the oldest Cretaceous rocks known in Kansas. They are of continental origin and were deposited on the eroded surface of various Permian rocks. The thickness of the Cheyenne sandstone in the Belvidere area ranges from 32 to 94 feet. Conformably overlying the Cheyenne is the Kiowa shale, which comprises nearly 300 feet of marine shale, thin sandstone, and fossiliferous limestone. Beds of iron-cemented sandstone, light-colored clay, and shale containing fossil plants that overlie the Kiowa shale in the upper part of the Medicine Lodge Valley are assigned to the Dakota (?) formation.

The contact between Kiowa and Dakota (?) beds, which is presumed to divide the Comanchean from the succeeding Gulfian series, is difficult to determine in most places for the two formations are conformable and gradational. In places the contact is represented by a transition zone in which rocks having predominantly marine characteristics are interbedded with rocks having predominantly continental characteristics. The line between the two formations in Kansas is arbitrarily placed at the top of the highest bed of marine origin.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web Aug. 28, 2007; originally published December 1946.
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