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The Kansas City metropolitan region is a key geographic point in the exploration, settlement, and development of the United States. Several major pre-industrial trails originated from this vicinity, and the most important Civil War conflict west of the Mississippi, the Battle of Westport, took place here. Bedrock geology consists of Upper Pennsylvanian cyclothems that represent repeated marine transgressions and regressions over a shallow continental shelf and lowland. The modern landscape was shaped largely as a result of Pleistocene glaciation and related glacial meltwater drainage.

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