Monday, January 11, 2010

The 24 Geography finalists according to physiographic region

Greetings to the World!

Today I am going to share with you 24 of the most unique geographical sites in Kansas -- in fact, they are the 24 finalists for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography! And, indeed, they are a fine representation of the diversity of Kansas.

In fact, raise your hand if you've heard of the eleven physiographic regions of Kansas. Ah, I don't see many hands up. The Sci-Tec online dictionary defines a physiographic region as "a landform considered with regard to its origin, cause, or history."

So, here's your geography lesson for today. I'll list the 24 finalists under descriptions of the physiographic regions. Note that some finalists fit into more than one region. Region descriptions come from information on the Kansas State (KDOT) map and the hyperlink takes you to more detailed information at the Kansas Geological Survey site.

ARKANSAS RIVER LOWLANDS: The river that produced the Royal Gorge 240 miles to the west cuts the High Plains of southwest Kansas, leaving sand and gravel deposits, irregular hills, and sand dunes over a wide area.
  • *Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine
  • Brenham Meteorites (the meteorites happened to fall hear), near Haviland
CHAUTAUQUA HILLS: A sandstone-capped rolling upland that extends into the Osage Cuestas from the southern Kansas border. Approximately 10 miles wide.
  • Cross Timbers State Park, near Toronto
CHEROKEE LOWLANDS: Bituminous coal veins are near the surface in this region where thousands of acres have been strip-mined.
  • Mined Land Wildlife Area, Cherokee, Crawford & Labette counties
FLINT HILLS: Stretching north and south across the state, this is an area of beautiful scenery and unexcelled pasture land. Elevation differences vary from 100-400 feet. The area is named for the chert or flint rock that covers the bluestem slopes.
  • Konza Prairie, Manhattan
  • Native Stone Scenic Byway, Wabaunsee & Shawnee counties
  • *Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, near Manhattan
HIGH PLAINS: This region comprises almost all of the western one-third of the state. It is an area of vast flatlands and gently rolling hills, with topographic relief largely restricted to streams and river valleys.
  • Arikaree Breaks, Cheyenne County
  • *Big Basin Prairie Preserve, Clark County
  • Cimarron National Grassland, Morton County
  • Lake Scott State Park, Scott County
  • Mount Sunflower, Wallace County
GLACIATED REGION: This area is bounded by the Kansas and Blue rivers. There are rounded hills and broad valleys with glacial deposits of quartzite on some of the hills.
  • Alcove Spring, near Blue Rapids
  • Four-State Lookout, White Cloud
  • Kaw Point Park, Kansas City
OSAGE QUESTAS: This is a hill-plain or broad-terrace panorama with the eastern slopes of the hills steeper than the western slopes. These is a plentiful limestone supply here.
  • Elk River Hiking Trail, western Montgomery County
  • Native Stone Scenic Byway, Wabaunsee & Shawnee counties
  • *Pillsbury Crossing Wildlife Area, near Manhattan
OZARK PLATEAU: The Ozark region begins in the extreme southeast corner of Kansas. Crinoids, trilobites, and other fossils may be found in this area.
  • Schermerhorn Park, near Galena
RED HILLS: Located along the state's south central boundary, this province has sandstone and shale stained red. Also included are areas of rugged hills, buttes, and mesas.
  • *Big Basin Prairie Preserve Preserve, Clark County
  • Gyp Hills Scenic Drive & Gypsum Hills Scenic Byway, Barber & Comanche counties
SMOKY HILLS: There are three hill ranges. Dakota sandstone makes up the first hill range. Greenhorn limestone makes up the middle hill range, an area known as Post Rock Country. The third range, chalk bluffs in the Smoky Hill River valley, produced some astonishing rock formations in Logan and Gove counties. A large sea once covered the area. Fossils found in the rock made the area famous for paleontology studies.
  • Coronado Heights, near Lindsborg
  • Geographic Center of the Contiguous United States, Lebanon
  • Maxwell Wildlife Refuge, near Canton
  • Mushroom Rock, Ellsworth County and Rock City, Minneapolis
  • Post Rock Scenic Byway, Ellsworth, Lincoln & Russell counties
  • Sternberg Natural History Museum, Hays
WELLINGTON-MCPHERSON LOWLANDS: Permeable sand and gravel and a large quantity of high-quality water in the Equus beds underlie some of this area. Salt mines and marshes are nearby.
  • *Bartlett Arboretum, Belle Plaine
*on the cusp of a region

I'm not sure about Kaw Point Park. Should it be in the Glacial Hills region or Osage Cuestas?

If you're lucky enough to have a 2003-2004 Kansas State (KDOT) map, the whole state will be color coded showing the regions. In more recent years, there is a small section on the map that shows these color coded regions.

Have fun getting to know the diversity of Kansas geography!

And, make sure to vote for the 8 Wonders of Kansas Geography.

The contests are designed to help you "Get Kansas!"

KE #2 Marci Penner

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Alas, I haven't explored most of these areas. There's soooo much Kansas out there!