NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Fort Scott National Historic Site, Kansas

Geodiversity refers to the full variety of natural geologic (rocks, minerals, sediments, fossils, landforms, and physical processes) and soil resources and processes that occur in the park. A product of the Geologic Resources Inventory, the NPS Geodiversity Atlas delivers information in support of education, Geoconservation, and integrated management of living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) components of the ecosystem.

Officers' Quarters
Officers' Quarters.


Fort Scott National Historic Site (FOSC) is located near the Kansas–Missouri border, approximately 145 km (90 mi) south of Kansas City in Bourbon County, Kansas. Authorized on October 19, 1978, FOSC encompasses about 7 hectares (17 acres) and preserves Fort Scott (named after General-in-Chief Winfield Scott), a relict U.S. Army fort founded in 1842 that served a role in the “Permanent Indian Frontier”, the opening of the American West, Bleeding Kansas, and the Civil War (National Park Service 2016a). Soldiers stationed at Fort Scott fought in the U.S.-Mexican War (1846–1848), protected transportation routes along the Oregon and Santa Fe Trails, surveyed unmapped regions of the country, and maintained peacekeeping relations with Native American tribes of the Great Plains. The army post closed in 1853 as westward expansion made the notion of a permanent Indian frontier obsolete. During the late 1850s, FOSC was the scene of violence and civil unrest that epitomized the period known as Bleeding Kansas—the struggle over slavery in the Kansas Territory that helped ignite the Civil War (National Park Service 2015a). The town of Fort Scott served as a command post for a diverse group of Union infantry during the Civil War that included many Native American and African American soldiers, among them the First Kansas Colored Volunteer Infantry. African American schools that were later established onsite at Fort Scott included notable individuals George Washington Carver and Gordon Parks as students.

Geologic Setting

The bedrock geology of FOSC is composed of Pennsylvanian sedimentary strata of the Fort Scott Limestone and Cabaniss Formation. Although the Fort Scott Limestone was named after Fort Scott, the type locality of the formation is designated just northeast of FOSC in a cement plant quarry in NE/4 section 19, T. 25 S., R. 25 E., in Bourbon County (Jewett 1941). The Fort Scott Limestone underlies a major portion of the historic site and consists of dense, fossiliferous limestone with minor amounts of shale. The underlying Cabaniss Formation is mapped in a small portion of northwestern and southern FOSC and represents a more heterogeneous unit comprised of limestone, sandstone, shale (mudstone), and notable coal beds. Young, surficial deposits within FOSC include Quaternary alluvium and stream terrace deposits along the southeastern corner of the historic site.

Regional Geology

Fort Scott National Historic Site is a part of the Central Lowland Physiographic Province and shares its geologic history and some characteristic geologic formations with a region that extends well beyond park boundaries.

Maps and Reports

The Geologic Resources Inventory produces digital geologic maps and reports for more than 270 natural resource parks. The products listed below are currently available for this park, check back often for updates as many maps, reports, and posters are still in progress.
  • Scoping summaries are records of scoping meetings where NPS staff and local geologists determined the park’s geologic mapping plan and what content should be included in the report.
  • Digital geologic maps include files for viewing in GIS software, a guide to using the data, and a document with ancillary map information. Newer products also include data viewable in Google Earth and online map services.
  • Reports use the maps to discuss the park’s setting and significance, notable geologic features and processes, geologic resource management issues, and geologic history.
  • Posters are a static view of the GIS data in PDF format. Newer posters include aerial imagery or shaded relief and other park information. They are also included with the reports.
  • Projects list basic information about the program and all products available for a park.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 3396. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

NPS Soil Resources Inventory project has been completed for Fort Scott National Historic Site and can be found on the NPS Data Store.

Source: Data Store Saved Search 3397. To search for additional information, visit the Data Store.

Related Articles

Fort Scott National Historic Site

National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas

The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on geoheritage and geodiversity resources and values within the National Park System. This information supports science-based geoconservation and interpretation in the NPS, as well as STEM education in schools, museums, and field camps. The NPS Geologic Resources Division and many parks work with National and International geoconservation communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available.

Fort Scott National Historic Site

Last updated: June 18, 2024