Here’s a condensation of an overall geological survey over a hundred years old, but so thorough that it is still accurate enough for normal usage.
Kandiyohi County is situated in the central part of the state of Minnesota, about midway between the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers.
The geographical center of Minnesota is about 60 miles north of the county’s northern boundary. It’s 94 miles from the eastern Minnesota border to the Wisconsin border line at Stillwater. From Minnesota’s southern border to the Iowa state line is 96 miles, and from the west side to the Dakota border it’s 60 miles.
From north to south Kandiyohi County spans six townships, each six miles square, and from east to west it measures four townships wide, giving it a total of 867.4 square miles, or 554,969.04 acres, of which 57,767.69 acres are covered with water.
Nearly half of the west side of the county is drained to the Minnesota River by the Chippewa River and Hawk Creek. The remainder of the county is tributary to the Crow River. In the southeast part Lake Elizabeth, the Kandiyohi lakes and Lake Lillian are the extreme sources of the south branch of this river. Toward the northeast, Green Lake lies in the course of the south fork of the north branch of the Crow River, and many smaller lakes discharge their surplus waters into that stream. Still farther northeastward the longer north fork flows through Roseville, the most northeastern township of Kandiyohi County.
Green Lake, nearly round and about three miles in diameter, is the largest lake in the county. Other lakes worthy of note in its vicinity and tributary to the same stream are Nest Lake near New London, Calhoun Lake, in Irving, each nearly two miles long, and Diamond Lake, in Harrison, of somewhat larger size. Lake Lillian and Lake Elizabeth, whose names are also borne by the townships in which they principally lie, are each about three miles long with quite irregular outlines.
A little farther west and apparently tributary to the south branch of the Crow River, are Little and Big Kandiyohi Lakes, and Waganga or Grass Lake, each about four miles long. A group of lakes north of Willmar, at the head of Hawk Creek, includes Foot Lake, Eagle and Long or Nevada Lakes which are from two to four miles long, and others of smaller size —Farther northwestward Norway Lake, about four miles long and of very irregular form, and Lake Andrew, about two miles long, with several other lakes as large as the latter, and many from a quarter mile to one mile in length or diameter, lie in Dovre, Mature, Lake Andrew, Arctander and Norway Lake townships, on the eastern margin of the basin of the Chippewa River.
Very irregular morainic hills, composed principally of till or the unmodified glacial drift, form a well-marked series in the north part of Kandiyohi County, being the eastern half of a remarkable line of these hills which reaches east-southwest more than forty miles from near the east end of Lake Emily in Pope County to Koronis or Cedar Lakes in Meeker County.
It is part of the great moraine formed by a lobe of the ice sheet, whose central current pushed from the vicinity of Lake Winnipeg and the Red River valley toward the south and southeast. This belt of hills enters Kandiyohi County at its northwest comer and through the north part of Norway Lake Township and the southwest part of Colfax Township; it averages three miles in width. These hills are 50 to 150 feet high, their highest elevations being a half mile north of the north end of Norway Lake,
The continuation of this terminal moraine seems to be eastward in long hills teaching along the north edge of New London. East of the central branch of the Crow River, which flows through New London, this moraine rises into great prominence, and covers an area fully three miles square, lying on the north side of Green Lake, above which its hills are elevated 150 to 200 feet. The material of this whole range is till, with no considerable portions composed wholly of modified drift.
It is noteworthy that the large hollow occupied by Green Lake lies directly south of the most prominent group of hills in the terminal moraine in Kandiyohi County; that is, it lies where the ice was exerting its eroding power while these hills were being heaped at its margin, the date of their accumulation being before the recession of lee to the Dore moraine.
The mean elevation of Kandiyohi County is approximately 1,150 feet above the sea, with Gennessee Township (1,220 feet) the highest and Edwards Township (1,090 feet) the lowest general areas.
This county has a very fertile soil, and is unsurpassed in its agricultural capability the surface of the till and modified drift is blackened by decaying vegetation to a depth that varies from one to three feet, being usually about two feet.
There have been a lot of changes in the past hundred years, but that’s the way it used to be.