Geology of the Area

Geology of the Area

Cretaceous Sea

89 to 85 Million Years Ago

Over millions of years, streams left sediment which filled in valleys and flattened the topography. This explains why western Kansas has a flat-topped covering of sand and gravel.   In northern Scott County, chalk beds add interest to the landscape and harbor some of the best Cretaceous fossils in the world.  A Gillicus was found during a 4-H fossil dig by Rusty Ricker and, with the help of his father and brothers in preserving the fossil, it is now on display at the El Quartelejo Museum. Unusual animals such as prehistoric hippos and saber-toothed Tigers once roamed in this region of Kansas. Fossil remains of such creatures have been found in the area.   More common fossils, such as clams, oysters, and huge fish, have been easily collected by geologists and paleontologists. Multiple layers of rock laid down over several million of years and many different soil types are right under our feet in Scott County.   

The exposed bedrock is composed of sedimentary rock layers. These strata represent only a few minute slices of the earth’s history, a continuation from when dinosaurs were alive. Fossils are evidence of past life trapped inside rock. Most fossil shells or bone has changed very little since an animal’s death millions of years ago.The top predators of this Cretaceous ocean were short-necked plesiosaurs, mosasaurs, and large sharks.


The Ogallala is a very extensive geological formation. It is a vitally important aquifer mainly in the western parts of Kansas. Five million years ago, Ogallala sediments were up to 800 feet thick. The modern Ogallala formation in Scott County varies from 0 to 215 feet in thickness. The sands of this formation provide a filter system for the groundwater, making its quality generally high, suitable for domestic, livestock and irrigation uses. 

Read more!:

Scott County Geohydrology

Water Encyclopedia

ogallala sediment in Scott County

Ice Age

bigoldanimalssmApproximately twenty thousand years ago, continental glaciers covered almost all of Canada and the northern United States.  Although the term "Ice Age" sounds very harsh and frigid, some science suggests there was less variation in temperature between the seasons than the present day.  During this time, the region was home to mammoth, giant bison, ground sloth, and camels. People were not in this era until the very end of the Ice Age; 10,000 to 12,000 years ago.

You may want to read more about the Ice Age and Kansas:

Kansas Archeology Basics

Kansas City Glacial Geology

Prehistoric Kansas

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