Scenic USA - Kansas

Monument Rocks

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Monument Rocks - Lewis, Kansas

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

     One of the last sights you would expect to see poking up 70 feet Monument Rocks - Lewis, Kansas from the Kansas plains is this large cluster of limestone formations. Two areas of chalk bluffs, separated by an access road, were formed 80 million years ago by the western Interior Niobrara Seaway. The ancient ocean was filled with calcium-shelled microscopic animals (Foraminifera), giant oysters, sharks, fish and reptiles. Trillions of foraminifera fell to the bottom as they died, forming a thick layer calcium soup. In time, the ocean bottom Keyhole Arch - Lewis, Kansas was covered by other sediments and compressed into a soft limestone called Niobrara Chalk.
     The Monument Rocks formation was sculpted over thousands of years by the Smoky Hill River, resulting in this unusual attraction. The soft rock and thin fins continue to erode, which is very noticable in the formation's Keystone Arch. Photographs separated by only a few decades show how fast this site is changing from the forces of rain and wind blown sand.
      Sometimes called the Chalk Pyramids, this Kansas historic landmark was added as the state's first National Natural Landmark on October 31, 1968. The site, noted as one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas, is located on private farmland in Gove County and visitors are reminded to be courteous guests and respectful of these fragile chalk monoliths.

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