Pyramids of the High Plains
Rising majestically from the seemingly flat prairie, just 25 miles south of Oakley, Kansas on Highway 83, are the Monument Rocks or Pyramids as most local folks call them. A dirt road leads to these chalk formations which stand on private property. The public is welcome to drive up to these structures. The setting makes an excellent spot for photographers to get some wonderful prairie shots of these magnificent reminders of the past.
Over 200 million years ago, Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado were covered by part of a large inland sea that extended from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. This inland sea separated the North American Continent into two distinct bodies of land. It is believed that the region was warm and that tropical vegetation grew far to the north and sea animals lived in the warm waters. There seemed to be no swift flowing tributaries and animals dying in this inland sea fell slowly to the bottom.
After the ocean had dried up and the bottom had risen above the level of the ocean floor, other deposits made in lakes and by the winds covered these animals. There they lay buried for millions of years. Over the years, however, the winds and rains have reversed this process and have laid bare the ocean bottom, washing the sediment away and exposing what we now know as the Monument Rocks.
These structures, some which have been designated by Congress as National Natural Monuments, attract many visitors every year. At a distance they maintain a stately elegance as they tower above the plains over 100 feet into the air. Silent….. still… they bear a testimony to the ancient past of the inland sea that once covered them in water