courtesy of Barbara Shelton|
courtesy of Janet Bean|
courtesy of Keith Stokes
Rural Culture Element represented: Geography
Monument Rocks and Castle Rock are an 8 Wonder of Kansas as a duo entry because of the scientifically significant fossils these ancient
chalk beds have produced and because they have been highly eroded into
unusual spires and shapes, making them spectacular landmarks on the
plains of western Kansas!
On the western edge of Gove County is Monument Rocks, a series
of large, heavily sculpted chalk monoliths that are sometimes referred
to as the Chalk Pyramids. The site has been designated as a National
Natural Landmark. In eastern Gove County is Castle Rock, a chalk spire
that stands by itself in the valley of Hackberry Creek, though
immediately south of Castle Rock is an extensive outcrop of chalk,
capped by the younger Ogallala Formation.
The chalk was deposited during the Cretaceous Period of
geologic history, about 80 million years ago, when the central interior
of the U.S. was covered by a seaway. The several hundred feet deep
water contained single-celled animals that drifted to the sea floor for
eons, creating a mucky ooze. This material was perfect for trapping and
preserving the remains of animals that lived in that ocean, such as
fish, turtles, sharks, swimming reptiles called mosasaurs and
plesiosaurs, swimming birds, gliding reptiles called pterosaurs, as
well as invertebrate animals such as giant
clams. Today the chalk beds routinely give up these fossils. Probably
the best-known fossil from these beds is the famous
"fish-within-a-fish" on display at the Sternberg Museum in Hays.
Both places are on private property but the landowners are
amenable to visitors and no special permission is required. Please be
PLEASE NOTE: The following is not allowed - no climbing, fossil hunting, camping, littering or bonfires. Do not honk at cattle. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints.
is near Monument Rocks and is a good place to see and visit about fossils. Located on U.S. 83, 26 miles south of Oakley or 18 miles north of Scott City.
Castle Rock: Take I-70 Quinter exit 107 (Castle Rock
Road), go 15 miles south to the intersection of GO 80 and GO K, then 4
miles east to Castle
Rock sign, and north across a cattle guard (dry weather road only).
Monument Rocks: 20 miles south of Oakley on U.S. 83, then 4 miles east
on Jayhawk Road, 3 miles south, and 1 mile east (dry weather road
only). Or, 18 miles north of Scott City, east 2 miles on Dakota Road, 1
mile north, 3 1/2 miles east, and 2 1/2 miles north.
For Monument Rocks: Keystone Gallery, firstname.lastname@example.org
Hours and admission charge: N/A
Monument Rocks: www.keystonegallery.com