The Osage Cuesta region occupies nearly all of eastern Kansas south of the Kansas River. It is characterized by a series of east-facing ridges between which are flat to gently rolling plains. Cuesta means hill, cliff, or coast in Spanish and describes the features found in this region—ridges with steep, cliff like faces on one side and gentle slopes on the other. These hills were caused by the constant rising and lowering of the oceans during the Pennsylvanian and Permian periods. The changes in water level affected the deposit of sediment, which was later exposed as the seas drained away. The steep faces of the cuestas range in height from approximately 50 feet to 200 feet.
The Osage Cuesta region has many mineral deposits, and once hosted a booming coal industry. Rich in water, the area is now primarily pastureland. Prominent spots within this area are Elk Falls and Clinton Spillway.
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Entry: Osage Cuesta
Author: Kansas Historical Society
Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.
Date Created: July 2011
Date Modified: May 2012
The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.