One of the smallest geologic areas in Kansas, the Ozark Plateau cover about 55 square miles in the southeast corner of Kansas. The region includes the towns of Baxter Springs and Galena in Cherokee County.
The Ozark Plateau is one of the wettest areas in Kansas. The plateau receives an average of 40 inches per year, allowing for the growth of a fully matured hardwood forest, containing hickory, oak, and walnut trees.
The plateau is made mostly of Mississippian-age cherty limestone, which is the oldest exposed rock in the state. This type of stone is also found to contain large amounts of lead and zinc ore. The discovery of this ore led to the start of the state's mining in Galena in 1870. The mining industry led to a population boom in the area until 1970 when the mines were shut down. At that point the area's population dropped dramatically. The thin and rocky soil and steep slopes make the area unsuitable for farming. Interesting mine-related sites within this region include Schermerhorn Park, Galena Mining and Historical Museum, Baxter Springs Heritage Center and Museum, Big Brutus, Spring River Wildlife Area, and the Tri-State Mineral Museum.
Entry: Ozark Plateau
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2011
Date Modified: May 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.