Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Smoky Hills of Kansas

Yesterday, as I flew from Missouri to Colorado, our route took us across the central latitudes of Kansas.  The low morning sun angle and clear skies provided ideal conditions for observing the topography below and I got a good look at the Smoky Hills.

The Smoky Hills Province of the Great Plains stretches across north-central Kansas and into south-central Nebraska.  It is characterized by low hills that have been sculpted from Cretaceous bedrock by the tributaries of the Smoky Hill, Saline, Solomon and Republican Rivers (south to north).  That bedrock, deposited within and along a Cretaceous Sea that once covered most of the Great Plains region, is comprised of three bands: Dakota Sandstone, Greenhorn Limestone and Niobrara Chalk (east to west).

Those who drive across Kansas on Interstate 70, cross the southern portion of the Smoky Hills Province between Salina and Hays; there, some ridges of the Province are adorned with turbines of the massive Smoky Hills Wind Farm.  The High Plains border the Smoky Hills to the west while the Permian swath of the Flint Hills stretches north to south to their east; the Smoky Hill River Valley demarcates the southern edge of the Province.