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Smoky Hills

Mushroom Rock, 1867

The Smoky Hills region occupies nearly all of north-central Kansas. A result of ocean movement during the Cretaceous Period, this region is made of three belts of hills, all running southwest to northeast. The Dakota Formation is a wide belt from Rice and McPherson counties in the south to Washington County in the north. The belt to the west is Greenhorn Limestone, which is made of thin chalky limestone beds alternating with thicker beds of grayish shale. The belt to the west is Niobrara Chalk, which is exposed in bluffs of the Solomon, Saline, and Smoky Hill rivers in an irregular belt from Smith and Jewell counties to Finney and Logan counties. This region is known for its rocky outcroppings such as Castle and Monument rocks in Gove County, and Mushroom Rocks, pictured at right, in Ellsworth County.

Geographic regions of Kansas

Entry: Smoky Hills

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: July 2011

Date Modified: May 2012

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.