Gypsum is a common mineral in Kansas. It is found in thick beds amid layers of sedimentary rocks, such as limestone, shale, and sandstone. Of the three varieties of gypsum—selenite, satin spar, and rock gypsum—Permian-age rock gypsum is mined in Barber County in south-central Kansas and in Marshall County in northeastern Kansas. Gypsum mined in Kansas was deposited during the Permian Period.
Gypsum mining has a long history in Kansas, dating to the mid- to late-1800s. The first gypsum deposits worked in the state were near Blue Rapids in Marshall County. Both the Marshall County and Barber County plants have underground mines but the majority of gypsum in Barber County is produced from an open pit. The Barber County operation is one of the larger mines and plants in the United States according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Gypsum is used in making cement, plaster of Paris, wall plasters and mortars, sheet rock, and fertilizer.
Buchanan, R., 2010, Kansas Geology: An Introduction to Landscapes, Rocks, Minerals, and Fossils (2nd ed.): Lawrence, Kansas, University Press of Kansas, 240 p.
Buchanan, R., and McCauley, J. R., 2010, Roadside Kansas: A Traveler's Guide to Its Geology and Landmarks (2nd ed.): Lawrence, Kansas, University Press of Kansas, 392 p.
Kansas Rocks and Minerals, Kansas Geological Survey Educational Series 2.