Ancient Seas, Megagrazers and Naked Apes

The story this landscape could tell.  The limestone, cherts and flints found in these hills were laid down by shallow seas which covered much of North America during the Permian Period.  Winds and waters then sculpted this landscape. The Flint Hills were not much affected by glacial activity.  Easy to erode shales and limestone were the primary building block of the shallow soils now found on these hills, while limestone and flint now remain.  Much of this soil washed down the hills and collected in lower areas like in the Kansas River valley seen here below.  The first grazers to feast on the prairie grasses and forbs of these hills were the Mastodon and Mammoth, followed later by the bison.  Crops like maize and squash were first grown in this river valley by the Kansa Indians and now this fertile land is used to grow modern mono-cultures.  This was my first visit to Konza, and I’m not sure why the tall grass of the tall-grass prairie was not very present in the spots that I found myself.  This could be because of the drought, it could be because of livestock grazing system, or maybe I was in areas dominated by the “short-grass” species, found more typically in the western plains.

“Dawn on the Kansas River Valley″
Technical details: Canon EOS 5D Mark II camera, EF17-40mm f/4L USM lens @ 33mm, ISO 160,  f/16, manual blend of two exposures
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