Geologic Exploration: Tools and Techniques

Kansas has an amazing history recorded in its rocks, minerals, and fossils. How do we know? Geologic exploration.

Collecting evidence

In the late 1800s, Cretaceous fossils uncovered in western Kansas led to a paleontological boom in the state. Still using rock hammers but further fortified with GPS and other modern technology, today's scientists continue to head to the field to gather rocks and fossils.

Making waves

Scientists track seismic waves—produced by earthquakes or artificially generated—to map faults and voids, locate potential sources of oil, evaluate risks for construction projects, and monitor earthquakes without ever cracking Earth's surface.

Drilling down through history

Scientists drill holes deep into the ground to bring pieces of the past up to the surface.

Mapping across Kansas

Geologic and other types of maps and mapping information—topographic maps, interactive online map programs, geographic information systems (GIS) databases—serve scientists’ and the public’s need for natural resources information.

Clockwise from top left: Independent drill crew, Douglas County; IVI minivibe, a commercial seismic vehicle that drives weight into the ground to produce seismic waves; portion of Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve geologic map, Chase County; Cretaceous fossil beds, Gove County.