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Kansas Geological Survey, Guidebook 1, originally published in 1976
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Midwestern Friends of the Pleistocene Field Trip

Road Log and Stratigraphic Sections

Saturday, May 22, 1976. Depart from Holiday Inn Motel a.m.

MilesDirection and Check Points
0.0 Holiday Inn Motel
Turn right onto U.S. 54, straight ahead
1.3 National Beef Packing Plant on left which processes 2,000 head per day.
9.3 Approaching Cimarron River
11.7 Cimarron River
13.6 High Plains surface (black top road on right goes to Meade State Park)
16.7 Kismet, Kansas on left of U.S. 54
20.8 County line between Seward County (to West) and Meade County (to east)
23.7 Plains, Kansas on left (north) side of U.S. 54
30.7 Turn right (south), leave U.S. 54 onto gravel road, last mile is not graveled
35.1 Go through gate and bear right. Danger as trail narrows between field and pasture, bear left and watch for cave off to right
35.8 Turn right into pasture gate. Do not cross Sand Draw in valley
36.0 Stop 1. Seger Gravel Pit area

NOTE: Throughout this road log formation names or member names which are in italics are names which were used by Hibbard and others prior to the finite dating of the ash and the reordering of the faunas in this area. Few, if any, of these names are presently valid and new names will need to be introduced after further stratigraphic studies. C.K.B.

Pleistocene deposits exposed along west side of Stump Arroyo and in the Seger Gravel Pit, 9.25 miles southeast of Plains in NW sec. 3, T. 32 S., R. 29 W., and SE sec. 33, T. 32 S., R. 29 W., Meade County, Kansas. U.S. Geol. Survey Lake Larrabee Quadrangle (1963) 1:24,000. Park on left (south) side of trail. Drivers will later return cars to upland. We will start in bed of draw at top of late Pliocene Rexroad Formation; note abundance of ostracod Cyprideis salebrosa (van der Bold) was Cyprideis littorolis (Brady). Rexroad Formation is overlain by deposits assigned to the earliest Pleistocene of this region. The oldest Pleistocene deposits (Ballard Formation) is well exposed including the massive Ballard caliche at the top, which is overlain by the sand and gravel of the Seger Gravel Pit (Plate 2). This sand and gravel deposit is unnamed. The unnamed deposit previously was assigned to the Stump Arroyo Member of the Crooked Creek Formation (Hibbard, 1951) at the time the vertebrate fossils were reported from the Seger pit.

It is unknown where the Borchers volcanic ash (type B, 2 million years) fits in this section. It may belong near the top of the "Mortar bed" just above the Seger sand and gravel.

Description of Lithologic Units

Section measured May 25, 1973, by Claude W. Hibbard.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
11 Reddish silt with caliche. Covered with rubble 3.0
10 Light reddish fine sand to silt, containing caliche nodules 14.0
9 Fine sand, with some reddish silt 5.0
8 "Mortar Bed," fine sandy silt, calcareous cement 3.0
7 Sand and gravel (Rocky Mt. type) grading upward into fine sand, vertebrate fossils 22.0
6 Coarse gravel and sand with some magnetite at base of channel (vertebrate fossils) 15.0
  Ballard Formation  
5 Massive caliche 1.0
4 Reddish sandy silt, contains calcareous nodules. Some scattered gravel in lower part, upper part of silt more red 25.25
3 Sand and gravel, basal 2 feet cemented (magnetite at base). 22.0
  Rexroad Formation  
2 Shale platy, limy, light gray (abundant ostracodes at base, Cyprideis salebrosa (van der Bold) .25
1 Yellowish silt, grades downward into brown and bluish-gray clay (base not exposed) 3.5
MilesDirection and Check Points
36.7 Drivers return cars to pasture gate on left, enter and park on grass
37.6 Irrigation well on left (west), aquifer, Pliocene sand and gravel
38.3 Turn left (west) on gravel road
40.2 Turn left (south) on gravel road
43.8 Prairie dog town on right
45.2 Turn left (east) on black top (Meade County Lake road). High Plains surface, caliche exposed in fields
48.0 Danger, slow, sharp turn to left into State Fish Station
48.4 Stop 2, lunch. Artesian well, depth about 300 feet, aquifer, lower Pliocene gravels. Down thrown side of Crooked Creek fault. Hibbard's washing area and base camp. After lunch follow leader across wooden bridge and around park on north side. Drive slowly
49.5 To right (south) is Meade County Lake
50.3 Sharp turn right, then left (east) on Kansas Highway 23
52.2 Stop 3. section at Borchers Gravel Pit (Laverne Fm) on Permian (Big Basin Fm). Gas Wells in this area produce from the Morrow, average depth, 5,600 feet. Permian not exposed when section was measured by Frye and Hibbard, 1941, nor did K-23 exist. Located on the east side of Crooked Creek 10 miles southwest of Meade in NE sec. 20, and sec. 21, T. 33 S., R. 28 W., Meade County, Kansas. U.S. Survey Lake Larrabee (1963), and Irish Flats NE (1962), quadrangles 1:24,000.


The Pliocene deposits at this site were assigned to the middle Pliocene on the presence of the fossil seeds (Biorbia fossilia) by Smith in 1940, page 75. This age assignment has been followed by later workers. The recovery of a left P-(U.M.M.P. No. 55113) of a horse, Pseudhipparian gratum (see Webb, 1969, p. 112), in the summer of 1962 and the presence of the four-tusked mastodon, Serridentinus maedensis (U.M.M.P. No. 24377) place these deposits in the base of the lower Pliocene, Laverne Formation of that region.

The exposed deposits along the Cimarron River in southwestern Meade and southeastern Seward counties, Kansas, questionably referred by Smith (1940, p. 37-39) to the lower Pliocene and later called the Laverne Formation are middle Pliocene in age. A right premolar of a horse was collected by D. W. Taylor June 28, 1959, from these deposits and identified as Dinohippus interpolatus by M. F. Skinner. These deposits are unnamed.

The sand and gravel exposed in the Borchers pit is the principal aquifer west of the Crooked Creek fault and supplies the water to the artesian springs and wells. It also supplies the water for the irrigation wells in western Meade County.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
  Laverne Formation  
6 Partly covered interval 13.0
5 Mortar beds sandy silt (fossil seeds) 11.5
4 Sandy silt, reddish, with calcareous deposits (fossil seeds at top) 26.0
3 Sand and gravel, cross-bedded, partly cemented (vertebrate fossils) 30.0
2 Cemented sand and gravel Rocky Mt. with Permian shale, siltstone, dolomite and Cretaceous iron stone, sandstone 3.5
1 Permian in Crooked Creek stream bed  

Return to cars, follow leader:

53.2 stop 4, Type area of Crooked Creek Formation, Borchers local fauna, and Borchers ash (2 million yrs) (Plate 3). Pleistocene deposits exposed nine miles southwest of Meade near the center of N2 sec. 21 and S2 sec. 16, T. 33 S., R. 28 W., Meade County, Kansas. U.S. Geol. Survey Irish Flats NE Quadrangle (1962) 1:24,000.

This area was designated as the type location of the Meade Formation by Frye and Hibbard (1941). In 1949 Hibbard named these Pleistocene deposits the Crooked Creek Formation and attempted a correlation westward across the fault. The presence of the Borchers local fauna and Borchers volcanic ash (type B), 2 million years, resulted in a detailed study of the area in 1971-1973.

Description of Lithologic Units

Measured July 24, 1972, by Claude W. Hibbard

Unit Number Description Thickness,
Crooked Creek Formation
15 Silt, sand and some clay, tan to buff, contains some caliche. The surface is covered with caliche rubble 14.6
14 Silt, sandy, gray to tan 5.0
13 Clay, with some silt, light gray 6.4
12 Gray clay on weathered Borchers Ash containing calcareous concretions (Borchers fauna) 4.5
11 Borchers volcanic ash (type B), white, weathers blocky, 2.0 million years 3.5
10 Silt, clayey and very fine sand, greenish gray 5.0
9 Greenish-yellow sandy, clayey, silt with some small pebbles 5.8
  Ballard Formation  
8 Red sandy silt, with caliche nodules; gravel pebbles at base 6.5
7 Sand, fine to coarse gravel, reddish tan, grades into bed 8 8.8

Borchers ash across road to north is overlain by type "S" 1.2 m.y. ash. The two ashes are separated by 21.5 feet (Plate 4). Leave cars parked and walk one-half mile (north) across K32 to see both ash deposits.

Stop 4 (cont.)


The Pleistocene exposure in section 16 shows the relationship of the Borchers volcanic ash (type B) to the overlying ash discovered May 15, 1973.

Description of Lithologic Units

Section measured by E. D. Gutentag, D. H. Lobmeyer, and C. W. Hibbard, June 11, 1973.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
13 Soil, sandy, light tan  
12 Silt, sandy nodules, very calcareous 4.0
11 Silt, sandy, reddish, with caliche nodules 5.0
10 "Mortar bed" and caliche 1.6
9 volcanic ash, white (type "S") 1.6
8 Silt, clayey, reddish tan 4.5
  Crooked Creek Fm., Atwater Member  
7 Silt, clayey, gray 17.0
6 Borchers volcanic ash (type B) 2.0
5 Silt, clayey, and very fine sand, greenish gray 6.5
4 Greenish-yellow sandy silt with interspersed gravel, pebbles 5.5
  Ballard Formation, Missler Member  
3 Red silty sand with caliche nodules 6.0
2 Sand, fine to coarse gravel reddish tan, grades into bed 3 11.0
1 Laverne Formation (Lower Pliocene)  

Return to parked cars, leave pasture and turn left (west) on K-23, and return to Liberal. Go left of K-23 on south side of Lake Larrabee. When K-23 turns south toward Oklahoma, turn sharply right onto blacktop and go west to U.S. 54. Stop sign, turn left on U.S. 54.

Road log for Sunday, May 23, 1976

Departure time: from Holiday Inn Motel

MilesDirection and Check Points
0.0 Holiday Inn Motel. Turn right onto U.S. 54, go straight ahead
9.3 Approaching Cimarron River
11.7 Cimarron River
13.6 High Plains surface. Blacktop road on right (east) goes to Meade State Park
16.7 Kismet, Kansas on left of U.S. 54
20.8 County line between Seward County (to west) and Meade County (to east)
23.7 Plains, Kansas on left (north) side of U.S. 54
37.8 Stop light, turn right on K23. Center of Meade, Kansas
39.8 Turn right on gravel road
41.8 Enter Big Spring Ranch
42.3 Enter pasture gate on left, drive slowly
42.5 Pasture gate, pass along alfalfa field
42.9 Gate to pasture, follow leader. Flat top promontory (Lookout or Mt. Scott) capped with Sangomon caliche on left. Follow trail to west
43.6 Turn to right of trail. Drive slowly. When we leave the trail do not run car in tracks of other cars ahead. We must not make a trail to Stop 5 and Stop 6
43.9 Stop 5. Start in Hart Draw. Rexroad Fm. (upper part) overlain by Ballard Fm., containing type Sanders local fauna. The Ballard Fm. is overlain by the sand and gravels of Pleistocene age.

Early Pleistocene deposits exposed resting upon Rexroad Formation in south valley wall of Hart Draw five miles southwest of Meade, in N2 sec. 18, T. 32 S., R. 29 W., Meade County, Kansas. U.S. Geol. Survey, Missler Quadrangle (1963) 1:24,000.


This locality was incorrectly given by Hibbard (1958) in section 18. Parts of three formations are seen in these exposures. From these exposures have been taken part of the Rexroad local fauna, the type Sanders local fauna, and some of the Cudahy fauna just below the Pearlette (restricted) volcanic ash, type O, 600,000 B.P. yrs.

Description of Lithologic Units

Section measured by C. K. Bayne and C. W. Hibbard, August 15, 1956.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
  Topsoil 1.0
  Unnamed formation  
17 Silt, tan to buff, contains caliche nodules near top 7.5
16 Sand, gravel and cobbles 17.0
  Ballard Formation  
  Missler Member  
15 Clay, silty brown, mollusks present (Sanders fauna) 1.5
14 Silt, clayey, weathers gray, contains many mollusks and vertebrates (Sanders fauna) 1.6
13 Silt, buff-gray, contains much nodular caliche 1.0
12 Silt, buff-gray 8.0
11 "Mortar bed" (limey sand and gravel) lower one foot more loosely cemented 1.8
10 Sand and gravel 5.5
  Rexroad Formation, base not exposed  
9 Clay, reddish gray, containing mollusks 3.0
8 Caliche 0.5
7 Sand, fine and medium 2.0
6 Caliche 0.2
5 Silt, sandy, light reddish gray mottled yellowish tan 4.3
4 Caliche, hard and massive 0.5
3 Silt, light gray containing many mollusks (Rexroad fauna) 2.5
2 Silt, reddish gray, containing some fine sand 2.0
1 Silt, light reddish gray, containing many caliche nodules 7.5
  Bed of Hart Draw  

Follow leader to Stop 6. Do not drive in same tracks except in trail.

44.3 Stop 6. NW NW sec. 18, T. 32 S., R. 28 W., Big Springs Ranch.

The preceding section was continued on the east side of the next draw, approximately 633 yards northwest of the type Sanders fauna quarry. An interval is covered with slope wash and vegetation on the east side. Pearlette ash (type 0) 600,000 yrs. restricted by Boellstorff, 1973) overlies the Cudahy fauna. The silts containing the fauna rest on sand and gravel (bed 16 preceding section).

Description of Lithologic Units

Section measured by C. K. Bayne and C. W. Hibbard, August 15, 1956.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
  Top soil  
  Unnamed beds  
22 Silt, gray-white, contains much caliche  
21 Silt, gray 5.5
20 Clay, reddish brown 1.0
19 Silt, gray 4.5
18 Pearlette volcanic ash (restricted)type O, clean 1.0
  Section continued on west side of this draw  
18 Pearlette volcanic ash (restricted) type O 6.0
17 Silt, sandy, yellow mottling containing mollusks and vertebrates Cudahy fauna (UM-K1-58 Loc.) 2.5
  Just over a short divide to the west is a much thicker deposit of Pearlette volcanic ash, type O with the Cudahy fauna just below the base of the ash.  

Return to Cars.

MilesDirection and Check Points
50.8 Stop light, Junction of K-23 and U.S. 54 (center of Mead). Continue north on K-23; watch dips (deep).
51.3 Slow down for railroad track
55.8 Turn right (east) off K-23 onto dirt road
56.3 Turn left along field
56.8 Stop 7. Gate to old Cudahy mine

Pearlette (restricted Boellstorff, 1973) type 0 volcanic ash, 600,000 years, and associated deposits containing the Cudahy fauna, exposed six miles north of Meade on the east side of K23, U.S. Geol. Survey Meade NE Quadrangle (1969) 1:24,000.


Cragin (1896) states, "The volcanic ash may be called the Pearlette ash, from the old post office of Pearlette, in Meade County, where the writer studied an ash bed of this terrane in 1884." The post office of Pearlette was in the NW corner of sec. 27, T. 30 S., R. 27 W., Meade County, Kansas, 6 miles NE of the Cudahy mine.

Smith (1938, p. 289) reported a horse tooth taken just under the volcanic ash at the Cudahy mine. Hibbard (1944) (Plate 5) described and named the cool Cudahy fauna (invertebrates and vertebrates) occurring below the Pearlette (restricted, Boellstorff, 1973) type O volcanic ash (600,000 years) in Meade County, and designated the Cudahy mine as the type locality of the Cudahy fauna.

Description of Lithologic Units

Section measured by Claude W. Hibbard, June 5, 1973.

Unit Number Description Thickness,
6 Top soil 1.5
7 Reworked silty ash 2.5
6 Concretions in silty ash 0.5
5 Pearlette (restricted) type O volcanic ash 600,000 B.P. yrs. 21.0
  Basal 0.25 feet containing mollusks  
4 Gray sandy silt and some clay (Cudahy fauna) .75
3 Gray sandy silt 3.33
2 Red sandy, silty clay containing small caliche nodules 4.8
1 Bed of draw to top of railroad ties (covered interval) 15.8

This is the end of the trip.

Prev Page--Pleistocene Faunas of Meade County || Next Page--Late Cenozoic Volcanic Ashes in the Great Plains

Kansas Geological Survey, Guidebook 24th Annual Meeting Midwestern Friends of the Pleistocene
Placed on web Nov. 9, 2010; originally published in 1976.
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