indigenous the Gulf seaside Plains to the mountains of West Texas, learn about the wide selection of landscape uncovered in Texas. update 1 week earlier
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Physical regions of Texas

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

The primary physical areas of Texas room usually noted as follows:

I. Gulf seaside Plains

Texas’ Gulf coastal Plains are the western extension of the coastal plain extending from the Atlantic s to past the Rio Grande. Its characteristic rolling come hilly surface extended with a heavy expansion of pine and also hardwoods extends into eastern Texas. In the significantly arid west, however, its forests become an additional in nature, consisting mostly of article oaks and, aside from that west, prairies and also brushlands.

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The inner limit of the Gulf coastal Plains in Texas is the heat of the Balcones Fault and Escarpment. This geologic error or shearing of underground strata extends eastward from a suggest on the Rio Grande close to Del Rio. That extends to the northwestern part of Bexar County, wherein it turns northeastward and also extends through Comal, Hays, and Travis counties, intersecting the Colorado River automatically north that Austin. The fault line is a single, identify geologic feature, add by a line of southward- and also eastward-facing hills.

The same of the hills come balconies once viewed native the plain below accounts for the Spanish surname for this area: balcones.

North that Waco, functions of the error zone are sufficiently inconspicuous the the inner boundary the the seaside Plain complies with the classic geologic contact in between upper and lower Cretaceous rocks. This contact is along the eastern edge the the east Cross Timbers.

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

A. Jaw Belt or “Piney Woods”

The pine tree Belt, dubbed the “Piney Woods,” extends 75 to 125 miles right into Texas native the east. From north to south, the extends from the Red river to within about 25 mile of the Gulf Coast. Interspersed among the atmosphere 31 pines room hardwood timbers, typically in valleys of rivers and creeks. This area is the source of practically all of Texas’ commercial timber production. That was settled early in Texas’ history and is just one of the earliest farming areas in the state.

This area’s soils and climate are adaptable come the manufacturing of a variety of fruit and also vegetable crops. Cattle raising is widespread, along with the breakthrough of pastures planted to improved grasses. Lumber manufacturing is the major industry. Over there is a big iron-and-steel market near Daingerfield in Morris ar based on adjacent iron deposits. Stole deposits are additionally worked in Rusk and also one or two various other counties. A great oil field discovered in Gregg, Rusk, and also Smith counties in 1931 has done more than anything rather to contribute to the financial growth the the area. This area has actually a selection of clays, lignite, and other minerals as potentials because that development.

B. Write-up Oak Belt

The main article Oak Belt the Texas is wedged in between the jaw Belt on the east, Blacklands ~ above the west, and the seaside Prairies top top the south, spanning a significant area in East-Central Texas. The principal sector is diversified farming and also livestock raising.

It is spotty in character, with some insular locations of blackland soil and also some that carefully resemble those of the pine Belt. Over there is a small, isolated area of loblolly pines in Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, and also Lee counties well-known as the “Lost Pines,” the westernmost southern pines in the unified States. The short article Oak Belt has lignite, commercial clays, and some various other minerals.

C. Blackland Belt

The Blackland Belt follow me from the Rio Grande come the Red River, lie just listed below the line of the Balcones Fault and varying in width from 15 to 70 miles. That is narrowest below the segment of the Balcones error from the Rio Grande come Bexar County and also gradually widens as it operation northeast to the Red River.

Its rolling prairie, conveniently turned by the plow, arisen rapidly as a agriculture area till the 1930s and was the principal cotton-producing area the Texas. Now, however, various other Texas locations that are irrigated and mechanized lead in farming.

Because the the early growth, the Blackland Belt is still the many thickly occupied area in the state and contains in ~ it and also along its border much more of the state’s large and middle-sized urban than any other area. Primarily thus concentration that population, this belt has the many diversified manufacturing sector of the state.

D. Coastal Prairies

The Texas coastal Prairies extend westward follow me the coast from the Sabine River, reaching inland 30 to 60 miles. Between the Sabine and Galveston Bay, the heat of demarcation between the prairies and also the pine tree Belt woodlands to the phibìc is very distinct. The seaside Prairies expand along the Gulf the Mexico indigenous the Sabine to the lower Rio Grande Valley.

The eastern fifty percent is covered with a heavy growth of grass; the western half, which is an ext arid, is covered with quick grass and, in part places, with tiny timber and brush. The soil is hefty clay. Grass support the densest cattle populace in Texas, and cattle ranching is the principal farming industry. Rice is a major crop, get an impression under watering from wells and rivers. Cotton, serial sorghum, and truck crops likewise are grown.

Coastal Prairie locations have checked out the greatest industrial breakthrough in Texas history since civilization War II. Chief concentration has actually been indigenous Orange and also Beaumont to Houston, and much the the advancement has been in petrochemicals and also the aerospace industry.

Corpus Christi, in the coastal Bend, and Brownsville, in the lower Rio Grande Valley, have actually seaports and agricultural and industrial sections. Cotton, grain, vegetables, and citrus fruits room the primary crops. Cattle production is significant, with the famous King Ranch and other big ranches situated here.

E. Reduced Rio Grande Valley

The deep alluvial soils and also distinctive economy cause the reduced Rio Grande valley to it is in classified together a subregion of the Gulf seaside Plains. “The Valley,” as it is referred to as locally, is Texas’ greatest citrus and winter vegetables growing region because the the normal absence of freezing weather and also the well-off delta soils of the Rio Grande. Regardless of occasional damaging freezes, the reduced Valley ranks high among the nation’s fruit and also truck-farming regions. Lot of the acreage is irrigated, although dry-land farming additionally is practiced.

F. Rio Grande Plain

This area may be roughly defined as lying southern of san Antonio between the Rio Grande and the Gulf Coast. The Rio Grande level shows attributes of both the Gulf seaside Plains and the phibìc Mexico Plains due to the fact that there is similarity that topography, climate, and also plant life every the method from the Balcones Escarpment in Texas come the Sierra Madre oriental in Mexico, i beg your pardon runs previous Monterrey about 160 miles southern of Laredo.

The Rio Grande plain is partially prairie, but much of the is spanned with a thick growth of prickly pear, mesquite, dwarf oak, catclaw, guajillo, huisache, blackbrush, cenizo, and other cactus and also wild shrubs. The is devoted primarily to increasing cattle, sheep, and also goats. The Texas Angora goat and also mohair industry centers in this area and on the Edwards Plateau, which borders it top top the north. Mountain Antonio and Laredo space its cook commercial centers, through San Antonio overcoming trade.

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

The rainfall is less than 25 inch annually, and the warm summers cause heavy evaporation, so that cultivation without watering is limited.

Over a huge area in the main and western components of the Rio Grande Plain, the growth of little oaks, mesquite, prickly pear (Opuntia) cactus, and also a range of wild shrubs is very dense, and it is often dubbed the Brush Country. The is also referred to together the chaparral and also the monte, native a Spanish indigenous that deserve to mean thick brush.)

II. Internal Lowlands

North central Plains

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

A. West Texas roll Plains

The West Texas rojo Plains, around the western two-thirds of the North main Plains in Texas, increase from eastern to west in altitude from about 750 feet to 2,000 feet in ~ the basic of the Caprock Escarpment. Yearly rainfall ranges from around 30 inches on the eastern to 20 inches on the west. In general, as one progresses from the west in Texas, the precipitation not only decreases but additionally becomes an ext variable native year come year. Temperature varies quite widely in between summer’s heat and also winter’s cold.

This area still has actually a big cattle-raising sector with many of the state’s biggest ranches. However, over there is lot level, cultivable land.

B. Grand Prairie

Near the east edge of the North main Plains is the grand Prairie, extending south indigenous the Red river in an rarely often rare band v Cooke, Montague, Wise, Denton, Tarrant, Parker, Hood, Johnson, Bosque, Coryell, and some nearby counties.

It is a limestone-based area, generally treeless other than along the plenty of streams, and adapted primarily to raising livestock and growing clip crops. Sometimes called the fort Worth Prairie, it has actually an agricultural economy and also largely landscape population, through no huge cities, except Fort worth on its eastern boundary.

C. Eastern and also Western cross Timbers

Hanging end the optimal of the grand Prairie and also dropping down on every side space the Eastern and Western cross Timbers. The two southward-extending bands are connected by a narrow strip follow me the Red River.

The east Cross Timbers prolong southward native the Red River v eastern Denton County and along the boundary between Dallas and Tarrant counties. It climate stretches v Johnson ar to the Brazos River and also into Hill County.

The much bigger Western cross Timbers prolong 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, whereby they fulfill the Llano Basin.

Their soils are adapted to fruit and vegetable crops, i m sorry reach significant commercial production in some areas in Parker, Erath, Eastland, and also Comanche counties.

III. An excellent Plains

A. High Plains

The good Plains, which lie come the east of the base of the Rocky Mountains, expand into northwestern Texas. This area, generally known as the High Plains, is a vast, flat, high plain covered through thick layers of alluvial material. The 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 expedition used crest to mark its route across the trackless sea of grass so the it would certainly be guided on its return trip. Rather think the the estacado refers to the palisaded illustration of the Caprock in many places, specifically the west-facing escarpment in brand-new Mexico.

The Caprock Escarpment is the separating line between the High Plains and the lower West Texas rolling Plains. Like the Balcones Escarpment, the Caprock Escarpment is a striking physics feature, increasing abruptly 200 feet, 500 feet, and also in some places almost 1,000 feet above the plains. Unlike the Balcones Escarpment, the Caprock was brought about by surface ar erosion.

Where rivers concern from the eastern face of the Caprock, there typically are remarkable canyons, such together Palo Duro Canyon ~ above the Prairie Dog town Fork that the Red River, Blanco Canyon ~ above the White River, and the breaks along the Canadian River as it crosses the Panhandle north of Amarillo.

Along the eastern edge the the Panhandle, there is a gradual descent of the land’s surface from high to low plains; however at the Red River, the Caprock Escarpment becomes a striking surface feature.

It proceeds as an east-facing wall south with Briscoe, Floyd, Motley, Dickens, Crosby, Garza, and also Borden counties, slowly decreasing in elevation. Southern of Borden County, the escarpment is less obvious, and also the boundary in between the High Plains and the Edwards Plateau occurs wherein the alluvial covering of the High levels disappears.

Stretching end the largest level plain of its type in the joined States, the High levels rise slowly from about 2,700 feet ~ above the eastern to an ext than 4,000 in spots along the new Mexico border.

Chiefly because of climate and also the result agriculture, subdivisions are called the north Plains and South Plains. The north Plains, native Hale county north, has primarily wheat and grain sorghum farming, but with significant ranching and petroleum developments. Amarillo is the largest city, with Plainview ~ above the south and also Borger top top the phibìc as essential commercial centers.

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

B. Edwards Plateau

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

It lies between the Rio Grande and also the Colorado River. That southeastern border is the Balcones Escarpment from the Rio Grande at Del Rio eastward to san Antonio and thence come Austin ~ above the Colorado River. Its upper boundary is the Pecos River, though the Stockton Plateau is geologically and also topographically classed with the Edwards Plateau.

The Edwards Plateau different from around 750 feet high in ~ its southern and eastern borders to around 2,700 feet in places. Practically the whole surface is a thin, limestonebased soil extended with a tool to thick growth of cedar, tiny oak, and also mesquite and a varying development of prickly pear. Grass because that cattle, weeds for sheep, and tree foliage for the browsing goats assistance three industries — cattle, goat, and sheep increasing — upon which the area’s economic climate depends. The is the nation’s leading Angora goat and mohair producing an ar and one of the nation’s top sheep and also wool areas. A few crops space grown.

Hill Country

The Hill country is a renowned name because that the eastern part of the Edwards Plateau southern of the Llano Basin. The notable big springs include Barton Springs in ~ Austin, san Marcos Springs at mountain Marcos, Comal Springs at new Braunfels, several springs at mountain Antonio, and also a variety of others.

The Hill country is characterized by rough hills with reasonably steep slopes and thin soils overlying limestone bedrock. High gradient streams integrate with this steep hillslopes and occasionally hefty precipitation to develop an area through a significant flash-flood hazard.

C. Toyah Basin

To the northwest the the Edwards and Stockton plateaus is the Toyah Basin, a broad, flat remnant of one old sea floor that populated the an ar as recently 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 together a result of irrigation. Extr economic activity is afforded by regional oil fields.

D. Llano Basin

The Llano container lies in ~ the junction of the Colorado and Llano rivers in Burnet and Llano counties. Earlier, this was known as the “Central Mineral Region” due to the fact that of evidence there that a huge number that minerals.

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

Between these two large reservoirs room three smaller sized ones, Inks, lyndon B. Johnson (formerly Granite Shoals), and Marble drops reservoirs, used mainly to produce electric strength from the overflow native Lake Buchanan. Lake Austin is follow me the western part of the city of Austin. Still another small 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 v Precambrian and also Paleozoic rocks uncovered on the surface. Granitic domes, exemplified by Enchanted rock north that Fredericksburg, kind the main point of this area of old rocks.

IV. Basin and selection Province

The basin and variety Province, with its center in Nevada, surrounding the Colorado Plateau ~ above the west and south and also enters far West Texas native southern brand-new Mexico top top the east. It is composed of broad interior drainage basins interspersed with scattered fault-block mountain ranges.

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

Texas west the the Edwards Plateau, bounded ~ above the phibìc by new Mexico and also on the south by the Rio Grande, is distinctive in that physical and also economic conditions. Traversed from north to south by faultblock mountains, that contains all of Texas’ true mountains and additionally is an extremely interesting geologically.

A. Guadalupe Mountains

Highest of the Trans-Pecos hills is the Guadalupe Range, which enters Texas from new Mexico. The abruptly ends about 20 miles south of the border line, where Guadalupe Peak, (8,749 feet, greatest in Texas) and also El Capitan (8,085 feet) room situated. El Capitan, because of perspective, shows up to the observer ~ above the plain below to be greater than Guadalupe.

Lying just west that the Guadalupe range and extending to the Hueco hills a quick distance east of El Paso is the Diablo Plateau or basin. It has no drainage outlet come 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 the the Guadalupe Mountains. This lakes are dry during periods of short rainfall, exposing bottom of solid salt; for years they to be a source of advertising salt. West that the Hueco hills are the Franklin hills in El Paso, through the Hueco Bolson (a down-dropped area around 4,000 feet above sea level) separating the 2 fault-block ranges.

B. Davis Mountains

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

C. Huge Bend

South the the Davis mountains lies the huge Bend country, for this reason called since it is included on three sides by a an excellent southward swing that the Rio Grande. It is a mountainous country of scant rainfall and sparse population. Its major mountains, the Chisos, rise to 7,825 feet in mount Emory.

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

Because the its impressive topography and also plant and animal life, the southern component of this region along the Rio Grande is home to huge Bend nationwide Park, through headquarters in the Chisos Basin, a deep sink in the Chisos Mountains. The is a favorite recreation area.

D. Top Rio Grande Valley

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

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In this area room the historic towns and missions the Ysleta, Socorro, and also San Elizario, several of the earliest in Texas. Noodle is the chief product the this valley, much of that the long-staple variety. This limited area has a dense urban and also rural population, in marked contrast come the territory bordering it.