Texas Almanac, 1939-1940 Page: 28
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28 THE TEXAS ALMANAC---1939.
weathering of the stone, but because of
the deposits of oil, gas, coal and lignite,
sulphur and other valuable minerals
that make Texas the leading state in an-
nual value of mineral production. The
abundant fuel resources of Texas-oil,
gas, coal and lignite--came from the
marine life and the abundance of plant
growth that accompanied the submer-
gence and emergence of Texas and the
dense tropical growth of the low-lying
emerged lands. The great polyhalite
(potash-bearing ore) beds of West Texas
were formed as the old Permian sea
dried up. The salt domes of the coast
country-those great submerged col-
umns of salt extending from a short dis-
tance beneath the surface to an un-
known depth into the earth-are re-
sponsible for many of the greatest petro-
leum reservoirs. Likewise, their upward
flow from the depths of the earth
brought the sulphur deposits that make
Texas the No. 1 ranking producer of this
mineral today. The igneous intrusions
of the Burnet-Llano and the Trans-
Pecos areas accounted for not only the
fine granite and basalt, but brought up
silver, mercury and other metallic min-
erals, and by applying heat and pressure
converted into graphite the carbon that
had been formed by surface vegetable
matter. (A little more heat and pres-
sure might have formed diamonds of
this same carbon.)
Across the state sweep twelve or more
broad bands of structures of geologic
ages ranging from the very new to the
very old. Out of this varied geologic
past has come an influence on the cul-
tural development of the state which a
student must understand if he under-
stands modern Texas.
Situated at a great geographic meet-
ing place of the North American Conti-
nent, and in a temperate climate, with
an altitude rising from the waters of the
Gulf of Mexico to the Rocky Mountains,
Texas presents a diversity of natural
conditions that has few parallels. It is
to this great diversity, rather than to
sheer size, that Texas owes its economic
and social progress.
The juxtaposition of mineral depos-
its, soil belts and their potentiality for
sustaining plant and animal life, and me-
teorological conditions combine to cre-
ate what geographers have come to call
natural regions. By a natural region is
meant an area which, because of simi-
larity of natural conditions, sustains a
relatively uniform culture or mode of
livelihood. Natural regions, like physi-
graphic regions, break down into sub-
divisions. They do not always follow
physiographic boundary lines because
the influence of climate and certain
other forces are to be taken into con-
sideration in the production of wealth.
However, it may be said of Texas that it
is generally accepted to have four great
natural regions, which correspond loose-
ly to its four physiographic areas, and
break down into numerous subdivisions.
In his "Natural Regions of Texas,
1931," Elmer H. Johnson, economic ge-
ographer of the bureau of business re-
search, University of Texas, divides Tex-
as into four great natural regions, includ-
ing (1) the East Texas Plains, (2) the
Prairies Prdvinces, (3) the Middle Texas
Provinces, and (4) the Western High
Plains and Trans-Pecos Country. So
great is the diversity of natural condi-
tions that these four areas are subdi-
vided into more than sixty classifications.
As in the instance of the geologic and
physiographic regions, these natural re-
gions are not wholly within Texas, but
they are extensions into this state from
beyond its borders.
Length and Breadth of Texas.
Texas has a maximum distance of 801
miles from the southern tip near Browns-
ville to the northwestern corner of the
Panhandle. The greatest distance from
east to west is 773 miles. The state ex-
tends through more than ten degrees of
The area of the state is 262,398 square
miles of land and 3,498 square miles of
As great as this area is it is enhanced
in effect by the odd shape of the state
with its north-extending Panhandle,
west-extending Trans-Pecos and its
south-extending tip of the Rio Grande
Valley. There is a straightaway coast
line of 370 miles, yet the mountains of
the Trans-Pecos rise almost to 9,000 feet,
and there are great tablelands in the
Trans-Pecos and the northwestern plains
that are as much as 4,000 feet above sea
Range of Climatic Condition.
The highest mean annual temperature
recorded at any Texas station is 74 de-
grees Fahrenheit at Rio Grande in
Starr County; the minimum is approxi-
mately 54 at Dalhart in the upper Pan-
handle--a spread of 20 degrees. In the
Rio Grande Valley there is seldom frost.
At Vega in the Panhandle there is an
annual average of 24 inches of snowfall.
Again, on the eastern border of Texas
the rainfall is more than 50 inches an-
nually at some stations. At El Paso on
MEMBER F. D. I.C..
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Texas Almanac, 1939-1940, book, 1939; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117163/m1/30/: accessed May 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.