Monument Rocks,

Monument Rocks are a series of large chalk formations in Gove County, Kansas, rich in fossils. They are located about 20 miles Southwest of Gove City, Kansas. The rocks are a National Natural Landmark. It was the first landmark chosen by the US Dept. Of Interior as a national natural landmark. The chalk formations reach a height of up to 70 ft. and include formations such a buttes and arches. They were formed 80 million years ago.


Although dry here in recent years, the Smoky Hill River once had enough flow to carve unique "badlands" in the fossil-rich chalk layers of western Kansas. One of the best-known formations is the area known as the Monument Rocks, sometimes referred to as the Chalk Pyramids, and officially recognized by the National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark.

In addition to the unusual geology, the area also offers some interesting habitat for wildlife. Small holes in the formations provide nesting cavities for our smallest falcon, the American kestrel. Pigeons also fly from ledge to ledge as they commonly do in most cities. Here we gain an understanding of this introduced bird's natural habitat in Europe and why they are also called rock doves. Pronghorns inhabit the surrounding shortgrass prairie. Although they are large mammals, their colors make them surprisingly difficult to see. Also in the area are coyotes, black-tailed jackrabbits, lesser earless lizards, and the venomous western rattlesnake. Birders find Cassin's sparrows, ferruginous hawks, and golden eagles of special interest. Common birds include horned larks, vesper sparrows, western meadowlarks, and black-billed magpies. Winter brings prairie falcons, rough-legged hawks, and large flocks of Lapland longspurs.

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