LJWorld.com weblogs Linda's Backroad Musings

Douglas County's Ninth Wonder of Kansas


The 8 Wonders of Kansas sponsored by the Kansas Sampler Foundation were unveiled by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius today. I believe they are a good representation of Kansas. However, my suggestion, located right here in Douglas County, did not make the list.I suggested rocks, more specifically pink boulders found along the Wakarusa river valley.According to Glacial Geology, the pink boulders were recognized in northeastern Kansas by the French explorer, De Bourgmont in the early 1700s. Their origin was a mystery until 1868 when Louis Agassiz visited the area. He was a controversial scientist who popularized the concept of a recent Ice Age in earth history. He correctly identified the pink boulders as erratics transported from as far north as the now Minnesota region by an ice sheet.The following is a quote from Glacial Geology of the Kansas City Vicinity:"Along the edge of the ice lobes, glacial lakes were dammed in pre-existing valleys, and meltwater floods eroded spillway channels around the ice margin. All these features serve to identify the effects of glaciation in the region. During the late Independence glaciation, ice lobes advanced farther south and locally blocked the Kansas and Missouri River valleys east and west of Kansas City. Numerous meltwater spillways were eroded and glacial lakes filled and overflowed along the maximum limit of glaciation. These spillways are preserved as valleys parallel to and south of the Kansas and Missouri river valleys. Some of these spillways were later filled with sediment and others remain open valleys today. A good example is the Wakarusa River valley in Shawnee and Douglas counties, Kansas."From the quote, one would conclude the large number of red granite rocks in the area were brought here by the glacier and then dropped as it melted. They are beautiful, all sizes and very heavy.The Wildlife and Parks hunting area in the upper region of Clinton Lake is available for hiking. On the northern hills of the river valley, Minnesota granite rocks, protrude from the grasslands. They may appear flat in the grass but may be massive in size underneath. The rocks located near the bridge on the north end of Massachusetts Street were harvested in this area.Skye, the boxer, indicates the size of the rock. Granite rocks would not make Kansas a tourist hot spot. On the other hand, how they were transported and left here is amazing. I would consider it a wonder of Kansas.


jystevens 10 years, 3 months ago


Thanks for sharing this information. A trip to the Wakarusa river valley sounds like a good outing for my youngest son and his Cub Scout group. I'm going to print your post and give it to the den leader. I am not a photography expert but I think your picture is really well done. I love the way the dog is peeking out from behind the rock. Nice job!

Ronda Miller 10 years, 3 months ago

Very interesting read Linda. When was the photo taken? That is one big rock and I too think the dog peeking beside it is a nice touch for size contrast, as well as making the photo more interesting and human. I love the color of that rock.

Rocks are interesting in a lot of ways - I had a great aunt who traveled many places with her husband because he worked as an engineer. When she passed away she left her relatives a variety of rocks that we were allowed to choose from as a memory of Aunt Sarah. I chose a boot shaped one for my son and a beautiful, large oval- shaped black rock with an orange band around it for my daughter. They were only three and an infant when she passed, but they have great, great Aunt Sarah's rocks to pass down to their own children someday.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 3 months ago

Fascinating story, thanks for posting it.

Sandy Beverly 10 years, 3 months ago

Neat, Linda. Thanks for sharing this info.

Linda Hanney 10 years, 3 months ago

Joyce tell your den leader to let me know if he takes a field trip & I will point him to lots of the pink granite rocks, some very unusual. Ronda, the photo was taken two years ago, I believe. It was more of the dog than the rock at the time. You should have prospector look at your rocks--it would be fun to get them identified. Thank you all for sharing information. It makes the post more interesting.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.