Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


A geomorphic and hydro-geologic investigation of the Saline River Valley in Ellis County, Kansas shows that the bedrock morphology of the paleovalley is very irregular and the morphometry and stratigraphy of the included valley-fill material is correspondingly variable. Two hundred sixteen subsurface logs (test hole. water and oil well), as well as bridge construction plans, field observations, a seismic survey, and the soil survey map of the county were used to determine the thickness and distribution of the Quaternary deposits. Twenty-five geologic cross-sections, a surface map, and a structure contour map were made to show the position of the buried and/or exposed bedrock surface, and the thickness, distribution, and character of the valley fill. Geomorphic data imply that degradation has been the dominant process during the Quaternary. Alluviation occurred in alternate phases with degradation as the result of a variety of allocyclic and autocyclic influences. Of these, changing climatic conditions appear to be most important. The influence of tributaries seemingly has more stratigraphic and geomorphic influence than previously thought. Delineating the disconformable contact between Quaternary deposits and the Upper Cretaceous bedrock suggests that the valley fill attains a maximum thickness of 29 m (96 ft) in a paleochannel which apparently does not exceed a width of 400 m (1300 ft). Volumetric estimates of the valley fill were determined by careful measurement of features on the surface map and the cross-sections. Estimated values range from 1.5 to 1.6 million acre-feet of material. Lithologic logs from the study area reveal sharply varying facies relations and a dominance of fine grained sediments composing the valley fill. Estimates of the quantity of ground water contained within the valley-fill sediments range from 68,000 to 117,000 acre-feet. These factors place obvious limitations on potential large-scale water resources development in the study area.


John R. Ratzlaff

Date of Award

Spring 1987

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1987 William H. Heimann


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