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Kansas State Board of Agriculture
First Biennial Report


Lower, or Sub-Carboniferous System




The only representation of the Lower Carboniferous, in Kansas, is to be found in a small triangle in the extreme southeast. It is bounded on the south by the Indian Territory, six miles; on the east by Missouri, ten miles, and on the northwest by the irregular line of Spring river, that stream being controlled by the ledges of this group. The few fossils we were able to collect, as well as the report of the Missouri Geologist, on Jasper county, fixes its geological age. Its whole appearance is entirely different from that of the adjoining coal measures. It has been very much disturbed, and the beds of chert and limestone so broken and mingled together that the original stratification is not easily seen, and in some places is entirely obliterated. This is particularly the case in the northeasterly part of Lowell township, on Short creek, where the limestone has been destroyed or metamorphosed, the chert also much changed, and the mingled rocks supplied with lead and zinc ores. The chert, in some places, forms irregular beds, and, in other cases, is in loose masses of many tons weight. These are at times found imbedded in clay, in a confused manner. The appearance indicates that the underlying strata of limestone had been washed out, and the upper beds of chert and clay had, from time to time, fallen into the cavities. No signs of volcanic action are seen, and the disturbances must have taken place gradually. Some of the chert has been broken and again firmly united by a darker cherty matrix.

Nearly all the disturbance occurred before the deposit of the adjoining Coal Measures, and most of the lead was deposited during the change. This is the cause of so little lead being found in the later deposits.

The only interest connected with this small portion of the State consists in the fact that it is the same deposit that contains some of the richest mines of lead and zinc in the adjoining counties of Missouri, and is the only portion of Kansas that has produced any paying mines of those metals. A description of the metallic deposits will be found in Economical Geology, on page 81. As the Keokuk apparently underlies the adjoining Coal Measures, it is possible that those ores may be obtained by sinking shafts through the latter beds into the Keokuk deposits.

The Chester and St. Louis groups, which in Missouri and Iowa exist between the Keokuk and Coal Measures, are not seen in Kansas.

The thickness of the Sub-Carboniferous in Lowell township is not over one hundred and fifty feet, though Profs. Broadhead and Schmidt, of Missouri, report it much deeper in adjoining sections of that State.

The thickness of the stratified rock of Kansas is —

Sub-Carboniferous-Keokuk 150 feet.
Coal Measures 600 "
Upper Carboniferous, including Permian 2,000 "
Cretaceous     Dakota, 500
Ft. Benton, 260
Niobrara, 200
960 "
Tertiary-Pliocene 1,500 "
    Total, 5,210 feet.

It will be seen that all these deposits are of less thickness than their average in other parts of the United States.