The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961 Page: 316
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
of a plains environment predominate throughout the Panhandle,
and although there are variations from place to place, the differ-
ences are of relatively slight degree and are not substantial. The
only possible exception to the general plains environment of the
Panhandle would be the valley of the Canadian River which is
fairly broken and, compared with the surrounding country, tim-
bered. This river valley, however, is too limited in the extent of
its area, brokenness, and timber (if the term even applies), to
influence the general character of the Panhandle area.
In order to understand the broad relationships as well as the
events of Panhandle history, it is necessary to keep the dominat-
ing plains features of the land well in mind. It is equally neces-
sary to understand the specifications of Panhandle physiography
and especially to note the differences and contrasts within the
plains environment. Moreover, it is emphatically to be under-
stood that there are differences and contrasts within Panhandle
physiography. To be sure, the task of examination would be much
simplified if physiography were uniform throughout the area.
Such is not the case, however, and, in order to provide a frame of
reference for the discussion which is to follow, a few general
observations and definitions are in order.
The Panhandle is divided into two rather distinct parts by the
eastern escarpment of the High Plains. This escarpment, known
as "the Cap Rock," runs in a rough north-south line which veers
to the east as it proceeds northward from about Armstrong
County. To the west of the Cap Rock the High Plains are to be
found. The High Plains, known also as the Llano Estacado or
Staked Plains, extend westward to their western escarpment in
New Mexico, and with one exception, the Canadian River Valley,
cover the entire western portion of the Panhandle. The outstand-
ing characteristic of the High Plains in their extreme flatness, for
they are, perhaps, the flattest area on the face of the earth. The
only break in the High Plains within the Panhandle is the valley
of the Canadian River which has cut through the upper strata
and left a broken terrain. To the east of the Cap Rock, the surface
is more broken, and while still essentially flat, it is not as dra-
matically so as the High Plains. The plains below the Cap Rock
may be referred to as the rolling plains, or the secondary plain.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 64, July 1960 - April, 1961, periodical, 1961; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101190/m1/350/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.