STS040-080-064 Junction City and Manhattan, Kansas, U.S.A. June 1991
The agricultural lands of the Smoky Hill River Valley and the green grasslands of the Flint Hills region of central Kansas can be seen in this west-northwest-looking, low-oblique photograph. The Flint Hills region is a beef cattle ranching area. The thin cherty or limestone soils in the region are not conducive to plowing required for dryland farming. The Smoky Hill River [560 miles (900 kilometers) long] rises on the Great Plains in eastern Colorado and flows east across Kansas; the Republican River [420 miles (675 kilometers) long] rises in western Nebraska and traverses a rich agricultural region before flowing through the Milford Reservoir (center of the photograph); and the confluence of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers in Junction City forms the Kansas River, which flows eastward 170 miles (274 kilometers) to join the Missouri River at Kansas City. Junction City, a rail and trade center for agricultural and dairy products, grew as a supply point for the U.S. Fort Riley Army Base located east of the city. Manhattan, a trade and food processing center 18 miles (29 kilometers) east of Junction City (discernible near the northeast quadrant of the photograph), is situated at the confluence of the Big Blue River and the Kansas River. North of Manhattan is sediment-laden Tuttle Creek Lake, a reservoir built on the Big Blue River in 1962. Agricultural machinery and dress patterns are made in Manhattan, but the city's economy is dependent on Kansas State University and nearby Fort Riley Army Base.
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