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Geological Survey of Kansas (1896)

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Chapter XI--The Coal Fields of Kansas (Preliminary)

by Erasmus Haworth

Areal Extent of the Coal Fields
Geologic Position of the Coal Beds
The Cherokee Shales
The Pleasanton Shales
The Thayer Shales
The Lawrence Shales
The Topeka Coal
The Osage City Shales
Resume of Stratigraphy of Coal
Physical and Chemical Properties of Kansas Coals
Commercial Value of Kansas Coals
Probable Future of Coal Mining in Kansas

Areal Extent of the Coal Fields

According to the Report of the State Mine Inspector for 1894, twenty different counties in the state have produced coal in sufficient quantities to be considered of commercial value, Five of these are located west of the Coal Measure area, and produce the brown coals, or lignite, in small quantities. The remaining fifteen are located in the Coal Measures proper, and are:

Atchison Chautauqua Crawford Labette Lyon
Bourbon Cherokee Elk Leavenworth Osage
Brown Coffey Franklin Linn Shawnee

It will be seen that they are widely scattered over the eastern part of the state. To this list a few names should be added to correctly represent the geographic extent of workable coal within the state. The report above referred to included only those counties in which coal mining was actually conducted to a greater or less extent during 1894. The extent of the coal, however, is not dependent upon cheap freight rates nor proximity to thicker and better veins, while the markets, and consequently the mining operations, are. The following counties are known to have considerable coal in them, and should be added to the above listed fifteen:

Douglas Montgomery Neosho Wilson

Each of these has coal to a sufficient extent to justify local operations, usually by the "strip-pit" method. In some of them the mining is practically discontinued on account of the cheap coal shipped in from the larger mines; while could the same coal be located in the western part of the state it would be a fortune to its possessors. The coal beds of Douglas county may be used as an example to illustrate this. A fair quality of coal in veins of from 12 to 16 inches in thickness was formerly mined to a considerable extent in half a dozen or more localities a few miles to the southeast of Lawrence. But with equally good or better coal shipped from Leavenworth and placed upon the retail market at from $2.75 to $3 per ton, the local mining had to be abandoned, excepting here and there where a few farmers obtained their winter's supply of fuel.

In the counties above enumerated the coal is or has been principally mined at or near the following places:

Atchison--About two miles south of the city of Atchison; the vein has an average thickness of 15 inches; mining operations began in 1893.

Bourbon--The mines are principally operated to the southeast, east and northeast of Fort Scott, and the coal is known in the market as the Fort Scott "red."

Brown--Mine on Roy's creek in northeast part of county; near White Cloud in Doniphan county. The vein is about 16 inches thick, and quality of coal good. Operated for local trade.

Chautauqua--Mines located near Leeds in the northwest part of the county. The operations are principally conducted to supply the local trade. The vein is from 12 to 18 inches thick, and therefore will not admit of operations for the general market.

Cherokee--This is the second heaviest producing county in the state. The principal mines are located in the environs of Weir City, Cherokee and to the southwest, where three different veins are operated, and farther to the southeast in the vicinity of Columbus, Crestline, and Tehama, where a 14-inch vein is operated for local consumption. At least four different veins of coal are operated in the county.

Coffey--Mines located in the vicinity of Lebo. The coal is 14 inches thick and operated for local trade.

Crawford--This is the heaviest producing county in the state. The mines are situated around Pittsburgh and to the northeast and southwest. Two veins are usually operated and in some places three.

Douglas--Mining operations almost abandoned. Mines located in the vicinity of Sibley and Blue Mound. The coal vein is from 12 to 18 inches thick, of fair quality, and formerly supplied a considerable local demand, but has been driven out of the market by cheaper coal shipped in from Leavenworth and other places.

Elk--Small quantities of coal have been found in the vicinity of Grenola, which has been mined to a limited extent for the local trade.

Franklin--Coal of a good quality and apparently in great quantity exists in different localities to the west and southwest of Ottawa. It is mined principally near Ransomville and Pomona, and supplies the country trade; is extensively teamed to Ottawa, and limited quantities are shipped into the general market.

Labette--The coal is found in the vicinity of Oswego and to the north. It is in veins about 15 inches thick, and is mined by the "strip-pit" method to supply the local market.

Leavenworth--A 22-inch vein of coal is mined in and about Leavenworth city by shafting to a depth of between 700 and 800 feet. This county ranks third in the per cent of its output.

Linn--The coal in this county is obtained from Pleasanton, Boicourt, La Cygne, Mound City, and a few other places, usually by shafting, but sometimes by the "strip-pit" method. The county ranks fifth in output for the state.

Lyon-- Years ago small deposits of coal were found in the east part of the county which were operated for the local trade. Recently, however, the operations have been abandoned.

Montgomery--Considerable coal exists in this county to the southeast of Independence, and also to the northeast towards Neodesha. It is only mined locally, and the cheaper fuel from the larger mines has almost put a stop to this.

Neosho--Thayer is the center of the coal-mining district in this county. The mines are principally located to the west near the border of the county. The coal vein is from 15 to 20 inches thick, and large quantities are obtained for Thayer and surrounding towns, and for the country trade.

Osage--Coal is mined at many points along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway between Topeka and Emporia, with Carbondale, Scranton, Burlingame and Osage City the principal mining centers. The mines are operated by both the "strip-pit" and the shafting methods. This county stands fourth in per cent of output.

Shawnee--The mines are located just west of Topeka and at Silver Lake and Dover. Mining is done by both shafting and drifting. The coal veins average about 13 inches in thickness.

Wilson--The coal is situated to the southeast, east and northeast of Neodesha. The mines are operated quite extensively for local trade. The veins vary from 12 to 18 inches in thickness, and furnish coal which is placed upon the market at almost as low rates as anywhere in the state.

The Geological Position of the Coal Beds

The Cherokee Shales

More than 88 per cent of all the coal mined in the state during 1894 came from the Cherokee shales situated at the base of the Lower Coal Measures. These shales contain many different veins of coal, in fact they are so numerous, were all the lesser ones considered, that probably they would reach twenty or thirty in number. The veins which are worked to a considerable extent in Cherokee county are only four, while to the north in Crawford county only three. About 175 feet above the base of the shales is the Columbus coal. The vein is variable in thickness, but will average from 12 to 15 inches. It lies just under a relatively heavy sandstone which caps the plateau and hills east and southeast of Columbus. The sandstone is cut through in almost every quarter-section by one or more little streams or ravines so that the coal is exposed along the brow of the hill in dozens of different places. The coal bed seems not to be uniform in this respect, so that occasionally it is wanting in areas covered by the sandstone. This coal vein was operated in the early days of the settlement of Cherokee county several years before the heavier veins above were discovered.

Near the middle of the Cherokee shales the heaviest vein of coal known in the state occurs. It is extensively mined along the belt reaching from a few miles southwest of Scammon to beyond the east line of the state by way of Weir City, Pittsburgh, and other prominent mining towns. It outcrops to the southeast and dips to the northwest at about an average of seventeen feet to the mile. It is usually known as the lower Weir City-Pittsburgh coal. Its thickness, which is remarkably uniform, averages fully 40 inches, with an occasional maximum thickness of 4 feet or more. It is also the best coal in the state as will be shown near the close of the chapter. The northwest limit of this heavy coal seam is not fully determined. Deep borings at Girard show that it does not occur there. There is a general local feeling that it has quite narrow limits in a northwestern direction, but there are some indications that it extends much farther to the west and northwest than has usually been supposed. Above the heavy vein at a distance varying from 30 to 60 feet a second or upper vein is located. It has an average thickness of from 25 to 30 inches, and is mined in many places throughout the coal-mining territory. The quality of the coal produced is almost as good as that of the lower vein. In numerous places in the northwest part of Cherokee county, and reaching over into Crawford county, a third vein of coal is found ranging from 14 to 20 inches in thickness which is mined in many places by the "strip-pit" process. It is particularly easily reached along the eastern border of the Lightning creek valley.

In the extreme southwestern part of Cherokee county, and across the line in Labette county at various places along the Neosho river, quite a number of different coal seams occur, all of which lie within the Cherokee shales, Coal is mined from different ones in the vicinity of Oswego, and for several miles both north and south, at different places in the vicinity of Chetopa, and at other points in the Indian Territory near by.

These different coal seams are not perfectly uniform in vertical position, but they do not vary any more than coal seams usually do. In fact the two heavier ones vary much less than is customary with similar coal seams throughout the Mississippi valley. The marsh or lagoon in which the coal plants were collected had an unusually level and even bottom, and it must have been at least twenty or thirty miles in length, for good workable coal is found continuously throughout that great a distance.

Farther north, in the vicinity of Fort Scott, coal is found within 8 or 10 feet of the summit of the Cherokee shales. The vein averages about 13 inches in thickness, but in places it is a little more. It is so close to the "cement" rock that usually the latter has to be removed to obtain the coal. The numerous creeks and little ravines for miles around Fort Scott have cut down through the "cement" rock, leaving the coal exposed on all the banks. It has been mined literally in hundreds of places, by the stripping process, the coal having been followed back into the bank ten, twenty, thirty or more feet, dependent upon the thickness of the covering. The coal follows the Oswego limestone southward as it rises into the high anticlinal ridge towards Pittsburgh, throughout all of which distance it has been mined. Along the highest parts of the divide it is no unusual sight to see the "stripping-pits" from which the coal has been taken.

As shown in chapter II, the Cherokee shales extend north to Leavenworth and beyond, where the Leavenworth coal is found at about the middle of their thickness. In sinking the shaft for operating the mines numerous coal seams were passed before the one which furnishes the coal, and by drilling it was learned that at still greater depths other coal of equally good quality and thickness exists. In position, therefore, the Leavenworth coal is about the same as the Pittsburgh-Weir City coal beds. The records of the various drill holes which have been sunk between Pittsburgh and Leavenworth show that there is more or less coal scattered throughout the whole distance, as a careful study of plate II will show. It should not be understood, however, that the Leavenworth coal seam is a continuation of either one of the Pittsburgh seams. Such would be exceedingly improbable on the face of it, and the various drillings referred to show conclusively that the two seams are in no sense of the term continuous. Yet throughout the whole of the Cherokee shales period the conditions in general were favorable for the growth and accumulation of coal-forming materials, 80 that in the aggregate vast quantities of the material were formed. According to the estimates given in the Report of our State Mine Inspector for 1893, the total output of coal from the Cherokee shales aggregated 85.79 per cent of the total output for the state, and for 1894 it had increased to 88.79 per cent. It may reasonably be stated that this not only shows how the coal-mining operations are conducted at present, but also gives a fair indication of the way we may reasonably expect them to be developed in the future. The Cherokee shale beds are par excellence the great coal-producing formations of the state.

The Pleasanton Shales

Above the Cherokee shales little coal exists anywhere in the state below the Pleasanton shales. In a few places small amounts have been seen in the shales between the Oswego and the Pawnee limestones, but it has not been mined at any place so far as known to this Survey, excepting at one point to the southwest of Fort Scott mentioned by Bennett in chapter IV. But when the Pleasanton shales are reached large quantities of coal of an excellent quality are found at their very base, or within less than 20 feet of the Pawnee limestone, which places it only about 100 feet above the top of the Cherokee shales. The principal mines are located at Pleasanton, Boicourt, and La Cygne, at which places the coal is reached by shafting to a depth of from 50 to 90 feet, the exact distance varying considerably with the surface contour. The vein is from 30 to 34 inches in thickness, so that it can be extensively mined with profit.

In other places, particularly around Mound City, still within the Pleasanton shales, other seams of coal are found which are worked either by the stripping process or by drifting. To the south of Pleasanton, all the way to Fort Scott, coal is frequently mined locally. At some of the mines the coal seam is from 20 to 30 inches thick, but usually from 15 to 25 inches. The exact geologic horizon of many of these places has not been determined. Some of them should undoubtedly be correlated with the Fort Scott "red" coal, and others probably with the Pleasanton coal, while Mr. Bennett is inclined to believe that at some of the mines the coal is in the shale between the Oswego and the Pawnee limestones.

The Thayer Shales

Above the Pleasanton shales the next coal of any note lies within the Thayer shale beds, the base of which will average about 500 feet above the summit of the Cherokee shales, or 950 feet above the base of the Coal Measures. This coal is particularly noteworthy on account of its being the lowermost coal in the Upper Coal Measures, as the divisions are made by this Survey. It is mined at many intervening points all the way from Independence to and beyond Thayer. Southeast of Independence the principal vein is located high up in the shale bed, as is also the coal at Brooks and Thayer, but in other places to the southwest of Thayer towards Neodesha it would seem the coal is lower. It is quite certain, therefore, that two or more coal seams occur in these shales which probably are separated from 50 to 75 feet vertically.

The amount of coal in the Thayer shales is very considerable and the quality good. Almost all of the community for many miles around is supplied with all their fuel, including the various towns and villages along railroad lines.

The Lawrence Shales

In passing upwards from the Thayer shales no more coal of any importance is found until the Lawrence shales are reached. They being about 1,400 feet above the base of the Coal Measures, and the coal within them is from 50 to 100 feet above their base. The coal is most abundant in Franklin county, but reaches northward into Douglas county as well. It is most extensively mined to the west of Ottawa, here and there over an area of many square miles. The coal seam is from 14 to 16 inches thick, and the coal is of fair quality, so that when used it compares quite well with the coal of the general markets. The mining is carried on by shafting and drifting. From the mines it is teamed to Ottawa and other neighboring towns, and is loaded on cars at Pomona or Ransomville, and shipped into the general market.

The Douglas county mines are almost entirely abandoned at present. Years ago, before the coal of the general markets became so reasonable in cost, mining operations were carried on in a dozen or twenty different places over a large area to the southeast of Lawrence. The coal has the same horizon occupied by the Franklin county coal, but is not quite so heavy, ranging from 10 to 15 inches in thickness, and consequently cannot be placed on the general markets in competition with other coals at the prices now ranging.

The Atchison coal occurs in the Lawrence shales near their top, or within about 50 feet of the Oread limestone. The vein is from 16 to 18 inches thick, and the coal is good in quality.

The exact location of the Brown county coal has not yet been determined, but probably it is nearly on a level with the Topeka coal, or the Osage coal.

Although other portions of the state have the surface covered with the Lawrence shales, yet, so far as learned, they do not contain coal in sufficient quantity to justify mining.

The Osage City and Burlingame Shales

The coals occurring in these shales are remarkable for constituting so extensive a deposit at so high a point within the Coal Measures. They are located 2,200 feet above the base of the Lower Coal Measures, yet in quantity and quality the coal will compare tolerably well with many coals in the Mississippi valley obtained from much lower horizons. The total output in 1894 from this horizon reached the large quantity of 7,754,775 bushels, equalling 8.58 per cent of the total output of the state.

The mines are principally located in Osage county, along the line of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe railway between Topeka and Emporia, at Carbondale, Scranton, Burlingame, Osage City, and other places. The coal seam outcrops to the southeast and is therefore first mined by stripping. When the dip takes it too far under the surface to admit of profitable mining in this way, the ordinary shafting process is employed. The coal averages about 16 inches in thickness, but in many places exceeds this considerably. The depth at which it is reached of course will depend upon the position with reference to the outcropping and the particular surface contour.

Beyond the limits just given coal belonging to this same horizon has been mined in Coffey county near Lebo and in Lyon county along its eastern line. Thin seams of coal are found in Greenwood county near Madison and southward, and in Elk county around Grenola, also in Chautauqua county at Leeds. At the latter place considerable mining is done.

North of Osage City the same coal is mined near Topeka, and another coal 100 feet higher up at Dover and Silver Lake, two points which lie so close to Topeka that they are usually classed with it. Beyond this to the northeast traces of coal have been found in Jefferson county, Brown county, and at a few other points, which presumably should be correlated with the Osage City-Burlingame coal.

Above the Osage City horizon no coal in paying quantity has been found in the Coal Measure area of the state, excepting the one just named at Dover and Silver Lake.

Resume of Stratigraphy

We have now mentioned all the coal-producing horizons in the Coal Measures of the state, which may be summarized as follows:

Coal-bearing Horizons of Kansas

1. Cherokee Shales: Located at base of Coal Measures, 450 feet thick.
Coals: Columbus coal; Weir City-Pittsburgh lower and upper; strip-pit coal in northern part of Cherokee county; various coals around Oswego; Leavenworth coal.
2. Pleasanton Shales: Located above Pawnee limestone and below the Erie limestone, 235 feet thick, with base 550 feet above base of Coal Measures.
Coals: Pleasanton; Boicourt; La Cygne; and Mound City coals.
3. Thayer Shales: Located between the Iola and Erie limestones, from 100 to 250 feet thick, with base about 1,000 feet above base of Coal Measures.
Coals: Thayer coal; Brooks coal; Neodesha coal; and Independence coal.
4. Lawrence Shales: Located between the Garnett and Oread limestones, from 200 to 300 feet thick, with base about 1,400 feet above base of Coal Measures.
Coals: Franklin county. coal; Douglas county coal; and Atchison coal.
5. Osage City and Burlingame Shales: Over 100 feet thick, located above Topeka coals, and about 2,100 feet above base of Coal Measures.
Coals: Chautauqua and Elk county coal; Coffey and Lyon county coal; Osage City coal; Scranton coal; Burlingame coal; Carbondale coal; Dover and Silver Lake coal; Jefferson county coal; and probably the Brown county coal.

Physical and Chemical Properties of Kansas Coals

But little work has been done upon the Kansas coals in the way of exact physical tests and chemical examinations. Professor Blake, of the department of physics in the University, years ago made a few tests of a number of varieties to determine their steam-producing properties. The results were published in the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, volume Xl, page 46, 1888, the summary of which is here reproduced in full:


"From these results, the Kansas coals thus far examined are to be arranged in the following order as regards their evaporative powers: (Note--About one-half the evaporating powers here given will be obtained in practice.)

Order Name of coal Table Pounds water
per pound
of burning,
1 Cherokee A 13.42 135 7206
2 Fort Scott C 13.20 60 7088
3 Linn county E 12.76 65 6852
4 Cherokee, upper vein B 12.54 50 6734
Leavenworth D 75
5 Franklin county G 12.32 125 6615
6 Osage county F 12.10 115 6498
7 Cloud county H 9.90 135 5316
For comparison: Best Indiana block (Clay county)   14.43    

In the State Mine Inspector's Report for 1893, page 179, a table is given comparing the relative values of coals from many different parts of America with a cord of standard oak wood. This might be called a comparison of the relative heating capacity of the different coals. This test was made by the United States Quartermaster-General, and gave the following results:

Table Showing Number of Pounds of Coal Equal
to One Cord Standard Oak Wood
Weir, Kas., lump 1,988
Trinidad, Colo. 2,066
Pittsburg, Kas. 2,069
Litchfield, Kas. 2,069
Weir, Kas., mine run 2,165
Leavenworth, Kas. 2,307
Canon City, Colo. 2,323
White River, Wyo. 2,323
Rich Hill, Mo. 2,369
Pleasant Hill, Utah 2,407
New Kentucky, Ill. 2,477
Gallup, N. M. 2,489
Mount Olive, Ill. 2,641
Ladd, Ill., third vein 2,660
Fort Scott, Kas. 2,670
Linton, Ind. 2,698
Lexington, Mo. 2,734
Spring Valley, Ill. 2,751
Girard, Ill. 2,840
Branch, Ill. 2,852
Hocking Valley, Ohio 2,971
Lyford, Ind. 3,015
Streator, Ill. 3,076
Boulder Valley, Colo. 3,176
Burlingame, Kas. 3,301
Scranton, Kas. 3,418
Mitchell, Colo. 3,645
Osage City, Kas. 3,710
All Pennsylvania anthracite 1,700
Cerrillos, N. M., anthracite 1,657

The chemical examinations were made by Professor Bailey, of the University, and were also published in the Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science, volume XI, page 46. He determined the amount of water, the volatile matter, the fixed carbon, and the amount of ash. The following table gives the results obtained:

The average as given above are collected in the following table:
Name Water Volatile Fixed
Cherokee 1.94 36.77 52.45 8.84
Cherokee (upper vein) 2.08 35.32 48.64 13.96
Fort Scott 2.94 41.76 47.55 7.75
Leavenworth county 2.69 39.21 47.41 10.69
Linn county 2.07 39.42 46.89 11.62
Osage county 6.76 41.59 40.86 10.79
Franklin county 7.55 44.40 37.68 10.37
Cloud county 13.70 46.14 28.52 11.64
Pittsburg, Pa. 1.31 36.61 54.17 7.91
Nebraska 4.93 38.17 49.44 7.46
Warren county, Mo. 6.75 36.40 45.75 11.10

It is desirable to have the two factors, water and ash, as low as possible, for neither of them can be of any value as a fuel. The relative amounts of volatile matter and fixed carbon should vary according to the use to which the coal is to be put. For making illuminating gas a high per cent of volatile matter is desirable, but for evaporating and general heating purposes, and for coke making, the greater the amount of fixed carbon the better. Doctor Day has published tables comparing the per cent by weight of coke obtained from 100 parts of bituminous coal from different parts of America. From his report of 1893 on the "Mineral Resources of the United States," page 418, it is learned that the average per cent. of coke produced from the Kansas coals was 62.8, while the highest of any was 66.7 per cent., from the Illinois coal.

From the foregoing tables of both the physical and chemical properties a few conclusions may be drawn. First, it may be considered established that the Kansas coals compare very favorably indeed with the bituminous coals of other states within the Mississippi valley, and fairly well with the soft coals of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Second, it will be seen that in every desirable respect the coals of the Cherokee shales are the best in the state, and that in general the higher the geologic position of any coal the poorer the grade of coal. Yet it may also be concluded that, in comparison with many other coals, our highest, the Osage City, is a good coal.

Commercial Value of Kansas Coals

The commercial value of coal is dependent upon many factors, the most important of all of which is the rate at which outside coal can be imported if the local production does not equal the demand, and the character of the market to be reached provided the local production exceeds the demand. Thus, in this state the local production far exceeds the home demand in almost all places where coal is mined from the Cherokee shales, the Pleasanton shales, and the Osage City shales, while at almost all other points where it is mined the output falls short of supplying the local trade. The only way, therefore to compare coal outputs is to consider the bushels or tons. The following table has been arranged from data taken from the report of the State Mine Inspector for 1893, page 83, and for 1894, page 42:

Table showing Statistics on Production of Coal for 1893 and 1894,
Arranged Geologically
Geologic formation County Number of
Per cent
of state
Estimated value
1893 1894 1893 1894 1893 1894
Cherokee Shales Bourbon 475,000 480,000 .659 .531 $33,250.00 $33,600.00
Cherokee 20,194,898 25,915,350 28.040 28.705 1,009,704.90 1,295,767.50
Crawford 34,431,627 45,245,900 47.790 50.117 1,721,581.35 2,262,295.00
Labette 100,000 85,000 .139 .094 9,000.00 7,650.00
Leavenworth 6,509,463 8,441,100 9.035 9.349 423,115.09 548,671.50
Pleasanton Shales Linn 1,852,119 1,461,900 2.571 1.619 92,605.95 73,095.00
Thayer Shales Montgomery No statistics given
Lawrence Shales Franklin 551,290 400,525 .765 .443 44,103.20 32,04200
Douglas No statistics given
Atchison 2,375 62,500 .003 .069 213.75 5,625.00
Osage City and Burlingame Shales Brown   50,000   .055   4,500 00
Chautauqua 44,000 38,000 .062 .042 4,400.00 3,800.00
Coffey 375,000 87,500 .520 .096 32,812.50 7,875.00
Elk   20,000   .022   2,000.00
Lyon   9,000   .009   900.00
Osage 7,018,946 7,400,275 9.742 8.197 529,899.61 555,020.62
Shawnee 190,835 150,000 .265 .166 22,900.20 17,500.00
Totals   71,745,553 89,847,050 99.581 99.513 $3,923,626.55 $4,850,341.62
Coal from western counties   302,715 433,300 .419 .487 36,725.09 49,433.00
Grand totals   72,048,268 90,280,350 100 100 $3,960,351.64 $4,899,774.62

Probable Future of Coal Mining in Kansas

There are good reasons for believing that coal mining in Kansas will increase with comparative rapidity during the coming years. There can be no reasonable doubt that the quantity within the Coal Measure area is much greater than has been usually estimated by those interested in such matters. The records of the various deep wells drilled by those prospecting for oil and gas show than in many places coal, in considerable quantity was passed through, which might often be mined were there a sufficient demand for it. Further, as has been shown in these pages, our state is full of thinner seams of good coal which cannot now be mined on account of the low price of coal. But should the price advance only from 1 to 2 cents per bushel many of them now untouched could be successfully operated. There is, therefore, little ground for apprehension regarding the exhaustion of our coal mines within a few centuries, or of the material advance in price.

Many inquiries have been made of the Survey regarding the probabilities of deep borings reaching coal in the west-central portions of the state. We are not now in possession of sufficient data upon which to base predictions that will be of any special value. In general it may be said that the Lower Coal Measure strata maintain their thickness westward much better than had previously been supposed by geologists in general. The Cherokee shales maintain almost their full thickness to as far west as Neodesha and Fredonia, with considerable quantities of coal, as is shown by the 27-inch vein at Cherryvale, and this indicates that possibly they and other formations may continue westward for 100 or 200 miles more. We are in possession of no authentic records of deep wells further west than Fredonia. Could a few wells be drilled about Wichita, Hutchinson and to the north which would pass almost to the base of the Coal Measures they would throw much light on the general stratigraphy of the deeply buried formations, and, whether they passed through coal or not, would be a great help in the intelligent prediction of the probable conditions of the presence or absence of coal in any considerable quantities. It is earnestly hoped that in the future accurate records of all deep wells within the state will be permanently preserved. At present little encouragement can be given to the hope that coal in paying quantities could be reached in those localities by shafting.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
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