indigenous the Gulf seaside Plains come the mountains of West Texas, learn about the wide range of landscape found in Texas. update 6 days ago
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Physical areas of Texas

This ar was reviewed by Dr. David R. Butler, Texas State University system Regents’ Professor of Geography

The primary physical regions of Texas are usually noted as follows:

I. Gulf coastal Plains

Texas’ Gulf seaside Plains are the western extension of the coastal plain extending from the Atlantic s to past the Rio Grande. Its properties rolling to hilly surface spanned with a heavy growth of pine and hardwoods extends into east Texas. In the progressively arid west, however, its forests become an additional in nature, consisting largely of write-up oaks and, farther west, prairies and also brushlands.

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The internal limit that the Gulf seaside Plains in Texas is the line of the Balcones Fault and Escarpment. This geologic error or shearing of underground strata extend eastward from a suggest on the Rio Grande close to Del Rio. It extends come the northwestern component of Bexar County, wherein it transforms northeastward and extends v Comal, Hays, and also Travis counties, intersecting the Colorado River instantly north that Austin. The fault line is a single, identify geologic feature, add by a heat of southward- and also eastward-facing hills.

The same of the hills to balconies once viewed from the plain listed below accounts for the Spanish surname for this area: balcones.

North that Waco, functions of the error zone space sufficiently inconspicuous the the internal boundary the the seaside Plain follows the traditional geologic contact between upper and lower Cretaceous rocks. This call is follow me the eastern edge of the eastern Cross Timbers.

This fault line is usually embraced as the boundary between lowland and also upland Texas. Listed below the error line, the surface ar is characteristically seaside plains. Above the Balcones Fault, the surface ar is characteristically internal rolling plains.

A. Jaw Belt or “Piney Woods”

The pine Belt, referred to as the “Piney Woods,” extends 75 to 125 miles right into Texas indigenous the east. From phibìc to south, that extends native the Red flow to within around 25 mile of the Gulf Coast. Interspersed amongst the environment 31 pines are hardwood timbers, usually in valleys that rivers and also creeks. This area is the source of practically every one of Texas’ commercial wood production. The was worked out early in Texas’ history and is just one of the oldest farming locations in the state.

This area’s soils and also climate room adaptable to the manufacturing of a variety of fruit and also vegetable crops. Cattle raising is widespread, together with the development of pastures planted to enhanced grasses. Lumber production is the principal industry. Over there is a large iron-and-steel market near Daingerfield in Morris county based on nearby iron deposits. Iron deposits are also worked in Rusk and one or two various other counties. A great oil field found in Gregg, Rusk, and Smith counties in 1931 has actually done more than anything rather to add to the financial growth of the area. This area has actually a selection of clays, lignite, and other minerals together potentials because that development.

B. Post Oak Belt

The main write-up Oak Belt that Texas is wedged in between the pine Belt ~ above the east, Blacklands on the west, and the seaside Prairies ~ above the south, covering a considerable area in East-Central Texas. The principal market is diversified farming and livestock raising.

It is spotty in character, v some insular locations of blackland soil and also some that closely resemble those the the pine Belt. There is a small, isolated area the loblolly pines in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, and also Lee counties known as the “Lost Pines,” the westernmost southerly pines in the united States. The short article Oak Belt has lignite, commercial clays, and some various other minerals.

C. Blackland Belt

The Blackland Belt stretches from the Rio Grande to the Red River, lying just below the line of the Balcones Fault and also varying in broad from 15 come 70 miles. It is narrowest listed below the segment that the Balcones fault from the Rio Grande to Bexar County and gradually widens together it operation northeast to the Red River.

Its rojo prairie, conveniently turned by the plow, developed rapidly together a farming area until the 1930s and was the principal cotton-producing area the Texas. Now, however, various other Texas locations that are irrigated and mechanized command in farming.

Because of the early on growth, the Blackland Belt is still the most thickly lived in area in the state and contains within it and also along that is border more of the state’s large and middle-sized urban than any kind of other area. Primarily therefore concentration that population, this belt has actually the many diversified manufacturing industry of the state.

D. Coastal Prairies

The Texas seaside Prairies expand westward follow me the coastline from the Sabine River, getting to inland 30 come 60 miles. In between the Sabine and Galveston Bay, the line of demarcation between the prairies and the jaw Belt woodlands to the phibìc is very distinct. The seaside Prairies prolong along the Gulf the Mexico native the Sabine come the reduced Rio Grande Valley.

The eastern half is spanned with a heavy development of grass; the west half, i m sorry is more arid, is spanned with short grass and, in some places, with little timber and brush. The soil is hefty clay. Grass supports the densest cattle populace in Texas, and cattle ranching is the principal agricultural industry. Rice is a significant crop, get an impressive under watering from wells and also rivers. Cotton, grain sorghum, and truck crops additionally are grown.

Coastal Prairie areas have viewed the biggest industrial development in Texas history since human being War II. Cook concentration has actually been indigenous Orange and Beaumont come Houston, and also much of the advance has been in petrochemicals and the aerospace industry.

Corpus Christi, in the coastal Bend, and Brownsville, in the reduced Rio Grande Valley, have seaports and agricultural and industrial sections. Cotton, grain, vegetables, and citrus fruits are the principal crops. Cattle production is significant, v the renowned King Ranch and other large ranches situated here.

E. Lower Rio Grande Valley

The deep alluvial soils and distinctive economy cause the lower Rio Grande valley to it is in classified together a subregion of the Gulf seaside Plains. “The Valley,” together it is dubbed locally, is Texas’ best citrus and also winter vegetables growing region because that the normal lack of freezing weather and also the wealthy delta soils of the Rio Grande. Regardless of occasional damaging freezes, the lower Valley ranking high among the nation’s fruit and truck-farming regions. Much of the acreage is irrigated, back dry-land farming additionally is practiced.

F. Rio Grande Plain

This area might be around defined together lying southern of mountain Antonio in between the Rio Grande and also the Gulf Coast. The Rio Grande level shows qualities of both the Gulf seaside Plains and the phibìc Mexico Plains because there is similarity the topography, climate, and also plant life every the means from the Balcones Escarpment in Texas to the Sierra Madre oriental in Mexico, which runs past Monterrey around 160 miles south of Laredo.

The Rio Grande level is partly prairie, yet much of that is covered with a dense growth of prickly pear, mesquite, dwarf oak, catclaw, guajillo, huisache, blackbrush, cenizo, and other cactus and also wild shrubs. That is devoted primarily to increasing cattle, sheep, and goats. The Texas Angora goat and mohair industry centers in this area and also on the Edwards Plateau, which boundaries it on the north. San Antonio and also Laredo space its chief commercial centers, through San Antonio conquering trade.

There is some farming, and the Winter Garden, centering in Dimmit and Zavala counties phibìc of Laredo, is irrigated from wells and also streams to create vegetables in so late winter and early spring. Primarily, however, the central and western component of the Rio Grande level is devoted to breed cub raising.

The rainfall is less than 25 inch annually, and the warm summers reason heavy evaporation, therefore that farming without irrigation is limited.

Over a big area in the main and western components of the Rio Grande Plain, the expansion of little oaks, mesquite, prickly pear (Opuntia) cactus, and a range of wild shrubs is an extremely dense, and also it is often dubbed the Brush Country. It is additionally referred to as the chaparral and also the monte, native a Spanish word that have the right to mean thick brush.)

II. Interior Lowlands

North central Plains

The North main Plains that Texas space a southwestern expansion into Texas the the interior, or central, lowlands that prolong northward to the Canadian border, paralleling the an excellent Plains come the West. The North central Plains the Texas extend from the Blackland Belt top top the east to the Caprock Escarpment top top the west. From north to south, they expand from the Red river to the Colorado River.

A. West Texas rolling Plains

The West Texas rojo Plains, about the western two-thirds the the North main Plains in Texas, increase from eastern to west in altitude from around 750 feet to 2,000 feet in ~ the basic of the Caprock Escarpment. Yearly rainfall arrays from around 30 inches on the eastern to 20 customs on the west. In general, as one progresses westward in Texas, the precipitation no only declines but additionally becomes an ext variable indigenous year come year. Temperature varies fairly widely in between summer’s heat and also winter’s cold.

This area still has a big cattle-raising industry with countless of the state’s biggest ranches. However, over there is much level, cultivable land.

B. Cool Prairie

Near the eastern edge the the North main Plains is the cool Prairie, extending south from the Red river in an rarely often rare band with Cooke, Montague, Wise, Denton, Tarrant, Parker, Hood, Johnson, Bosque, Coryell, and some adjacent counties.

It is a limestone-based area, commonly treeless except along the many streams, and adjusted primarily to increasing livestock and also growing staple crops. Sometimes called the fort Worth Prairie, it has actually an agricultural economy and largely countryside population, with no huge cities, other than Fort worth on its east boundary.

C. Eastern and also Western cross Timbers

Hanging end the top of the cool Prairie and dropping under on each side are the Eastern and Western overcome Timbers. The two southward-extending bands are linked by a small strip follow me the Red River.

The eastern Cross Timbers prolong southward indigenous the Red River through eastern Denton County and along the boundary in between Dallas and Tarrant counties. It climate stretches through Johnson county to the Brazos River and also into Hill County.

The much larger Western overcome Timbers extend from the Red River south through Clay, Montague, Jack, Wise, Parker, Palo Pinto, Hood, Erath, Eastland, Comanche, Brown, and also Mills counties come the Colorado River, wherein they satisfy the Llano Basin.

Their soils are adjusted to fruit and also vegetable crops, which reach substantial commercial manufacturing in some locations in Parker, Erath, Eastland, and Comanche counties.

III. Good Plains

A. High Plains

The an excellent Plains, i beg your pardon lie come the eastern of the basic of the Rocky Mountains, prolong into northwestern Texas. This area, commonly known as the High Plains, is a vast, flat, high level covered v thick class of alluvial material. It is additionally known together the Staked plains or Llano Estacado.

Historians differ regarding the beginning of this name. Part say it come from the truth that the traveler Coronado’s exploration used comb to note its route throughout the trackless sea that grass so that it would be guided top top its return trip. Rather think that the estacado refers to the palisaded figure of the Caprock in many places, particularly the west-facing escarpment in brand-new Mexico.

The Caprock Escarpment is the dividing line between the High Plains and also the lower West Texas roll Plains. Choose the Balcones Escarpment, the Caprock Escarpment is a striking physics feature, increasing abruptly 200 feet, 500 feet, and also in some places nearly 1,000 feet over the plains. Uneven the Balcones Escarpment, the Caprock was brought about by surface erosion.

Where rivers concern from the eastern face of the Caprock, there frequently are remarkable canyons, such as Palo Duro Canyon ~ above the Prairie Dog city Fork of the Red River, Blanco Canyon on the White River, and also the breaks follow me the Canadian River as it crosses the Panhandle phibìc of Amarillo.

Along the east edge that the Panhandle, there is a progressive descent of the land’s surface ar from high to short plains; however at the Red River, the Caprock Escarpment becomes a striking surface ar feature.

It continues as one east-facing wall south v Briscoe, Floyd, Motley, Dickens, Crosby, Garza, and also Borden counties, gradually decreasing in elevation. South of Borden County, the escarpment is much less obvious, and the boundary in between the High Plains and also the Edwards Plateau occurs whereby the alluvial covering of the High levels disappears.

Stretching over the largest level plain of its sort in the united States, the High plains rise slowly from around 2,700 feet on the east to an ext than 4,000 in spots follow me the new Mexico border.

Chiefly since of climate and the result agriculture, subdivisions are referred to as the phibìc Plains and also South Plains. The north Plains, from Hale ar north, has actually primarily wheat and grain sorghum farming, but with far-reaching ranching and petroleum developments. Amarillo is the largest city, v Plainview ~ above the south and also Borger ~ above the phibìc as crucial commercial centers.

The south Plains, also a leading grain sorghum region, leader Texas in cotton production. Lubbock is the primary city, and Lubbock County is among the state’s biggest cotton producers. Watering from underground reservoirs, centered around Lubbock and Plainview, waters much of the chop acreage.

B. Edwards Plateau

Geographers usually think about that the good Plains in ~ the foot of the Rocky hills actually continue Environment 33 southward indigenous the High plains of Texas come the Rio Grande and also the Balcones Escarpment. This southern and also lower extension of the great Plains in Texas is recognized as the Edwards Plateau.

It lies between the Rio Grande and the Colorado River. Its southeastern border is the Balcones Escarpment from the Rio Grande in ~ Del Rio eastward to san Antonio and also thence to Austin on the Colorado River. Its upper boundary is the Pecos River, despite the Stockton Plateau is geologically and topographically classed through the Edwards Plateau.

The Edwards Plateau different from around 750 feet high in ~ its southern and eastern boundaries to around 2,700 feet in places. Almost the entire surface is a thin, limestonebased soil covered with a medium to thick development of cedar, little oak, and mesquite and a varying expansion of prickly pear. Grass for cattle, weeds for sheep, and tree foliage for the searching goats support three markets — cattle, goat, and sheep raising — ~ above which the area’s economic situation depends. That is the nation’s top Angora goat and mohair producing region and among the nation’s leading sheep and also wool areas. A couple of crops space grown.

Hill Country

The Hill nation is a well-known name for the eastern portion of the Edwards Plateau south of the Llano Basin. The notable big springs encompass Barton Springs at Austin, mountain Marcos Springs at san Marcos, Comal Springs at brand-new Braunfels, several springs at mountain Antonio, and also a number of others.

The Hill country is identified by rugged hills with fairly steep slopes and thin soils overlying limestone bedrock. High gradient streams incorporate with this steep hillslopes and also occasionally hefty precipitation to develop an area through a far-ranging flash-flood hazard.

C. Toyah Basin

To the northwest that the Edwards and Stockton plateaus is the Toyah Basin, a broad, flat remnant of an old sea floor that inhabited the region as newly as Quaternary time.

Located in the Pecos flow Valley, this region, in relatively recent time, has end up being important because that many farming products as a result of irrigation. Added economic task is afforded by local oil fields.

D. Llano Basin

The Llano basin lies in ~ the junction the the Colorado and also Llano rivers in Burnet and also Llano counties. Earlier, this was recognized as the “Central Mineral Region” because of evidence there of a huge number of minerals.

On the Colorado river in this area, a succession of dams impounds two large and five little reservoirs. Uppermost is Lake Buchanan, among the huge reservoirs, between Burnet and also Llano counties. Listed below it in the western part of Travis county is Lake Travis.

Between this two big reservoirs space three smaller sized ones, Inks, lyndon B. Johnson (formerly Granite Shoals), and also Marble falls reservoirs, used generally to create electric power from the overflow native Lake Buchanan. Lake Austin is follow me the western component of the city that Austin. Still another tiny lake, Lady Bird Lake (formerly town Lake), is formed by a low-water dam in Austin.

The to chat area about these lakes has actually been referred to as the Highland Lakes Country. This is an exciting area through Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks discovered on the surface. Granitic domes, exemplified by Enchanted absent north the Fredericksburg, kind the main point of this area of ancient rocks.

IV. Container and variety Province

The container and variety Province, through its facility in Nevada, surrounding the Colorado Plateau top top the west and also south and also enters far West Texas from southern brand-new Mexico top top the east. It consists of broad interior drainage basins interspersed with scattered fault-block hill ranges.

Although this is the only part of Texas pertained to as mountainous, these need to not be confused with the Rocky Mountains. Of all the independent arrays in West Texas, just the Davis hills resemble the Rockies, and also there is much debate about this.

Texas west the the Edwards Plateau, bounded ~ above the north by brand-new Mexico and also on the southern by the Rio Grande, is distinctive in that is physical and also economic conditions. Traversed from north to southern by faultblock mountains, that contains every one of Texas’ true mountains and likewise is an extremely interesting geologically.

A. Guadalupe Mountains

Highest that the Trans-Pecos mountains is the Guadalupe Range, i m sorry enters Texas from brand-new Mexico. It abruptly ends about 20 miles southern of the boundary line, whereby Guadalupe Peak, (8,749 feet, highest in Texas) and El Capitan (8,085 feet) space situated. El Capitan, due to the fact that of perspective, appears to the observer on the plain listed below to be greater than Guadalupe.

Lying just west the the Guadalupe variety and prolonging to the Hueco hills a brief distance east of El Paso is the Diablo Plateau or basin. It has actually no drainage outlet to the sea. The runoff from the scant rain that drops on its surface ar drains into a collection of salt lakes that lie just west that the Guadalupe Mountains. This lakes space dry throughout periods of low rainfall, exposing bottom of solid salt; because that years they to be a source of advertising salt. West that the Hueco mountains are the Franklin hills in El Paso, v the Hueco Bolson (a down-dropped area roughly 4,000 feet above sea level) separating the two fault-block ranges.

B. Davis Mountains

The Davis hills are principally in Jeff Davis County. The greatest peak, mount Livermore (8,378 feet), is among the highest possible in Texas; over there are number of others an ext than 7,000 feet high. These mountains intercept the moisture-bearing winds and receive more precipitation than in other places in the Trans-Pecos, so they have an ext vegetation than the other Trans-Pecos mountains. Noteworthy are the san Solomon Springs in ~ the north base of this mountains.

C. Big Bend

South of the Davis mountains lies the large Bend country, for this reason called since it is encompassed on 3 sides by a an excellent southward swing of the Rio Grande. That is a mountainous nation of scant rainfall and also sparse population. Its principal mountains, the Chisos, rise to 7,825 feet in mountain Emory.

Along the Rio Grande are the Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas canyons with rim elevations that 3,500 to 3,775 feet. Lock are among the noteworthy canyons that the north American continent.

Because that its remarkable topography and also plant and also animal life, the southern component of this region along the Rio Grande is house to large Bend nationwide Park, through headquarters in the Chisos Basin, a deep valley in the Chisos Mountains. It is a favourite recreation area.

D. Upper Rio Grande Valley

The upper Rio Grande Valley, or El Paso Valley, is a narrow strip of irrigated land running under the river from El Paso because that a distance of 75 miles or more.

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In this area are the historic towns and also missions that Ysleta, Socorro, and also San Elizario, few of the earliest in Texas. Cotton is the chief product the this valley, lot of that the long-staple variety. This minimal area has a thick urban and rural population, in marked contrast to the territory bordering it.