Rocks and Minerals

Meteorites in Kansas
Meteorites have been found all over the world, and Kansas has yielded more than its share. But how do you know if the rock you found is a meteorite?

Salt in Kansas
This circular provides a brief history of salt production in Kansas, explains the geology of the salt deposits, describes how salt is mined, and discusses environmental issues associated with salt deposits and salt mining in Kansas.


Invertebrate Fossils of Kansas
Anyone who has spent much time outdoors in Kansas probably has encountered a fossil or two. From shell fragments in a chunk of gravel to spectacular specimens in museum displays, Kansas fossils contain important evidence about the history of life on earth.

Earthquakes and Hazards

Though we seldom feel them, earthquakes are not rare. Every 24 hours, more than 1,000 earthquakes occur around the world. Earthquakes are produced when rocks beneath the earth's surface suddenly move along faults.

Induced Seismicity: The Potential for Triggered Earthquakes in Kansas
Earthquake activity in the Earth's crust is known as seismicity. When linked to human activities, it is commonly referred to as "induced seismicity." In the early 2000s, concern began to grow over an increase in the number of earthquakes in the vicinity of oil and gas exploration and production operations.


The High Plains Aquifer
The High Plains aquifer, which includes the well-known Ogallala aquifer, is the most important water source for much of western and central Kansas, supplying 70% to 80% of the water used by Kansans each day.

Ground-water Recharge in Kansas
Recharge is generally defined as the movement of water from the land surface into an aquifer. Recharge can be either natural, from precipitation that falls on the earth's surface and works its way underground, or it can be artificial, from human activities that deliberately or inadvertently replenish an aquifer.

Nitrate in Kansas Ground Water
The purpose of this circular is to describe nitrate, its sources, the extent of the nitrate problem in Kansas, and how ground water can be protected from nitrate contamination.

Drilling a Water Well on Your Land: What You Should Know
Whether you are thinking about drilling a water well on your property or about buying land and would like to know the potential for drilling on that property, you should consider many things.

Surface Water

Kansas Springs
Springs are an important component of the Kansas landscape; they aid in understanding the connection between ground water and surface water and the impact of human activities on the environment.

Playas in Kansas and the High Plains
Mostly small, obscure, and frequently dry, the tens of thousands of playas scattered across western Kansas and the surrounding states have, nevertheless, collectively become recognized as one of the most vital water resources in the High Plains.

Oil and Gas

Hydraulic Fracturing of Oil and Gas Wells in Kansas
Hydraulic fracturing is a method of enhancing oil and gas recovery from wells by injecting water, sand, and chemicals into rock formations under very high pressure to fracture the rock and release trapped hydrocarbons. It has been used in the industry for decades, but questions have arisen concerning possible environmental problems associated with the practice, particularly suspected contamination of potable ground water and rivers and streams in certain areas.

The Mississippian Limestone Play in Kansas: Oil and Gas in a Complex Geologic Setting
Following successes in the Bakken shale play in North Dakota and the Mississippian limestone play of Oklahoma, companies bought mineral rights in areas of southern and western Kansas, where Mississippian rocks and associated petroleum production extended into Kansas.

Industry and the Environment

Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide in Kansas
Greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, are of growing international concern. Increased levels of these gases in the atmosphere have been potentially linked to global climate change.

Geothermal Energy and Heat Pump Potential in Kansas
Geothermal energy—heat generated and stored in the earth's interior—on average diminishes in intensity from core to mantle to crust. Although deeper is generally hotter, the earth's heat is not evenly distributed. Within the crust, rocks 100°C (212°F) or higher are sometimes found less than a mile from the surface, as is the case in areas of the United States west of the Rocky Mountains. In Kansas, equivalent temperatures are generally 6 mi (10 km) or more deep.

Climate and the Environment

Kansas Droughts: Climatic Trends Over 1,000 Years
Environmentally and economically, drought is one of the most costly natural disasters in North America. Yet it rarely gets the same public attention that other, more spectacular, natural disasters receive. While tornadoes, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes leave behind well-defined swaths of devastation in relatively short order, droughts whittle away at water quality and quantity, topsoil, crop yields, and other natural and socioeconomic resources over months and years, even decades.

Glaciers in Kansas
Kansas was once literally on the forefront of climate change when a continental ice sheet extended into the northeast corner of the state some 700,000 years ago. The geologic sciences are uniquely capable of describing these events, in that geologists nearly always look backward in time to understand the earth from a present-day perspective.

Public Resources

Kansas Geologic Maps
Geologic maps, the principal source of information about the geology and natural resources at or near the surface, are essential for evaluating natural resources, making economic decisions, and guiding public policy.

The Data Resources Library at the Kansas Geological Survey
The Data Resources Library at the Kansas Geological Survey is the State of Kansas repository for oil, gas, and water well records. Archives are available for public use.


The nontechnical KGS Public Information Circulars (PIC) series addresses a variety of popular and timely issues related to the geology and natural resources of Kansas. The explanatory text and color illustrations in each circular provides in-depth information on a specific theme. Topics include earthquakes, water quality and availability, rocks and minerals, fossils, energy resources, geologic maps, and KGS resources available to the public. The 8" x 11" circulars are four to six pages long. Print copies are available from the Kansas Geological Survey for free, although a nominal fee may be charged for large quantities of a single PIC.