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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Information Circular (PIC) 16
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Kansas Kimberlites

Pieter Berendsen, Tom Weiss, and Kevin Dobbs


Diamonds occur in only two rock types on earth, kimberlites and lamproites, both rare in Kansas. Kimberlite is unique because it originates over 100 miles (150 km) deep in the earth and travels in a matter of hours to the earth's surface where it forms small volcanic features. In Kansas, kimberlites or kimberlite pipes (so-called because of their pipelike, three-dimensional shape) occur in a restricted, northeast-trending belt in Riley and Marshall counties (fig. 1). These rocks were first discovered in Kansas in the late nineteenth century. Since then, more kimberlites have been found--the last three in the fall of 1999. Thirteen kimberlites have been identified so far, twelve in Riley County and one in Marshall County. Six kimberlites are exposed at the surface; the others are buried under soil up to 25 feet (7.5 m) thick. This circular provides general information about these rare and unusual rocks found in the heartland of the United States. Terms in boldface type are defined at the end of the circular.

Figure 1--Location of kimberlites in northeastern Kansas.

Kimberlites occur in Kansas in a band from central Marshall Co. to southern Riley Co.

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Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach
Web version July 2000