Why Kansans Keep Our Mountains Buried Underground

by Rachel Creager Ireland

Most people, it would seem, think of Kansas as a wasteland of flatness. Any Kansan, particularly those from the eastern half, would be quick to tell you that this land isn’t really flat. Eastern Kansas has several hill ranges, of which our own beloved Flint Hills region is only one. But what even many Kansans don’t know is that we actually have a sizable mountain range here; it just happens to be underground. How deep are they? I can’t find a clear number, though geologists have discussed the Nemaha Mountains quite a bit. Here’s a little more general information on the geology of the Flint Hills region. http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/student/massey1/geomorphology.htm Actually, there are other places you can find great detail about the Nemaha Ridge, but I like this one because the professor this project was made for was a friend of my Dad.

Suffice to say that these mountains are buried deep enough to be invisible, and while they do create a gravity anomaly in Washington County, it’s not strong enough for most people to notice. Other states keep their mountains out in the open air, where everyone can see and enjoy them, but Kansans don’t always do things the way other people do them. We’re not irrational, we have our reasons. So, I thought today I’d list some of those reasons.

Why Kansans Keep Our Mountains Buried Underground

  1. If that’s where they are, I assume they were put there for a reason, and far be it from me to go moving things around.
  2. We don’t show off, like those Coloradans, parading around with their mountains out in the open for all the world to see. Who do they think they are?
  3. It’s where they’ve always been.
  4. Leave those alone, I’m gonna clean them up and put them on eBay.
  5. On second thought, I might need them, better leave them alone.
  6. You know if people could see them, everyone in New York and California would want to come here and ski and sip lattes and drive their cars all over our roads and start telling us what we can and can’t do on our own property . . .
  7. And you can’t tell a man what he can do on his own property. If I want to keep my mountains underground, I’ll keep them underground.
  8. . . . and the traffic would be terrible, it’d be just like the city, where immigrants come from other countries, and pretty soon the schools would have to teach in foreign languages, and they’d have to install bidets in all the bathrooms . . .
  9. Social services would be overwhelmed!
  10. . . . and we just can’t afford that.

So there they are, and there they will stay. The mountains of Kansas, like Hutchinson’s giant salt mine http://www.undergroundmuseum.org/index.php, and the world’s largest hand-dug well http://www.bigwell.org/, are underground. If you want to appreciate Kansas, and Kansans, fully, you must look beneath the surface.

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