Lincoln County lies directly under the ancient coast line of the Triassic age, along which were deposited enormous beds of salt, ranging from seventy-five to two hundred fifty feet in thickness, at depths ranging from four hundred fifty feet at Hutchinson, Kans., to nine hundred twenty-five feet at Anthony, these depths being the least and greatest which have been found. So much for salt.
Stone was found in the neighborhood which when polished made a very handsome marble surface. The Lincoln Board of Trade then sent for Robert Hay, a geologist, who reported on the geology of Lincoln County as follows:
"The Geology of Lincoln County, Kansas, is mainly connected with two sub-divisions of the Cretaceous group of formations. These in descending order are Benton series and Dakota series. There is some good building material in the Dakota, formed during the epoch. The marble found in some limited districts may be looked for in other areas. it is quite likely that the Dakota sandstone will yield gas under favorable conditions. These conditions are most likely to be found under the high land forming the divide from Lost Creek around the head of the Prosser and Rattlesnake Creeks. It is possible that similar conditions may be found in the southwest part of the county, and on the west line between Wolf and Spillman. Gas must not be sought near the outcrop of the strata, hence the localities indicated here.
"The lignite at every place we visited was at the same geological horizon, very neatly at the top of the Dakota. It is useless to look for this bed low down in the Saline Valley. The best guide to its position is the lowest layer of Benton limestones. If the boring is begun at some twenty feet below that, the horizon of the lignite will be reached at less than one hundred feet. It will probably pay to test it on the slopes of Lost Creek, Beaver, Rattlesnake, Upper Bullfoot, and West Elkhorn. The Dakota may yet yield another lignite horizon, and if so, it will be better, being farther below the surface."
J.R. Mead gives an account of a legendary tin mine in the vicinity of Elkhorn or Elm Creek. So far it has never been discovered.
Among the valuable materials which have been found and used are coal, which was first discovered in wells; marble, red, brown, and purple, streaked with white; salt and building rock, which is still extensively quarried.