Monument Rocks
U.S. 83 south of I-70

Oakley, KS

May 09, 2001

While staying in a small town called Oakley, Kansas, which is located along I-70 in the northwestern part of the State, I saw a sign indicating Monument Rocks 20 miles south of the town on US 83. Having a picture of the land around our campground, which was flat farmland, the sign piqued my curiosity. So armed with camera in hand we jumped in our trusty truck and went in search of the Monument Rocks. I pictured some little rocks that someone had put there to amuse/entertain the tourists. Well, I couldn't have been more mistaken. After reaching a sign indicating Monument Rocks down a side dirt road, we drove for about 4 miles and I got the surprise of my life. There, in the middle of several corn fields, rose several very large rocks as if pushed up out of the soil. I found out that the Monument Rocks, as they are called, are really remnants of layer after layer of Cretaceous seabed, the wind-carved, water-eroded chalk pinnacles rise some 70 feet above the plain. This natural formation served as a landmark for pioneers and American Indians. Weathering has revealed a great variety of marine and reptilian fossils. Chalk bluffs and similar formations are characteristic of the Smoky Hill River Valley from this region east to Cedar Bluff Reservoir. As we approached closer to the rocks (you can get right up to them, as there are no barriers of any kind) I was able to see pieces of sea life embedded in them. I found myself wondering if there were other "Monument rocks" anywhere around. But you could see no other large rocks anywhere on the horizon. The land had again reverted back to miles and miles of farm land. As we drove away my experience left me with several unanswered questions: Why had these particular rocks remained? Had others been nearby and had been removed hundreds of years ago? I guess only a geologist could tell you for sure, but it certainly left me with a different view of Kansas.

Good Luck! Have Fun! and Stay Safe!