Texas Almanac, 1943-1944 Page: 89
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The Surface of Texas-and Beneath.
The surface if Texas slopes upward from
the Gulh of Mexico like a great amphitheater
rising by regular degrees to north, north-
west and west. From tidewater northward
and northwestward lie the wooded and prairie
plains; in the background of the northwest
and west, are the easternmost chains of the
great Rocky Mountain system, which swing
sharply eastward after they cross the Rio
Grande into Mexico.
It one might look across the broad expanse
of Texas, one would observe that this state is
a meeting place of four great physiographic
provinces. They are (1) the Coastal Plains
which extend into the state from the east,
(2) the Lower Plains of the western Missis-
sippi Valley, (3) the Great Plains, the high
prairies that lie immediately east of the
ockies from the Rio Grande to the Canadian
border, and (4) the Mountain Region which
traverses Trans-Pecos Texas. The converging
of the Gulf from the east and the mountains
from the north place Texas at the vortex of
an interesting and significant. physiographic
development. Not only the surface of Texas,
as expressed in its physical character, is in-
fluenced, but also character of soils and min-
erals underneath the surface, the flora and
fauna on the surface and the meteorological
conditions above. From the moist, wooded
Sabine Valley to the high, arid Diablo Pla-
teau, and from the subtropical Lower Rio
Grande Valley to the briskly middle temper-
ate Panhandle Plains Texas has variety in
resources, climate, industry and way of life
of its people, not merely because Texas is
big, but primarily because of Texas' position
at the meeting place of these great natural
Greatest Length, Breadth.
Texas has a maximum length of 801 miles
from the southern tip near Brownsville to the
northwestern corner of the Panhandle. The
greatest distance from east to west is 773
miles. The state extends through more than
ten degrees of latitude.
The area of the state is 263.644 square miles
of land and 3,695 square miles of water sur-
face, a total of 267,339.
Texas Boundary Line.
The boundary of Texas by segments, in-
cluding only larger river bends and only the
great arc of the coastline, is as follows.
Sabine River, Lake and Pass.............. 180 0
Red River .............................. 480 0
Rio Grande.............................. 889 0
Coast line .. ... ................... 370 0
Sabine River to Red River ................ 106 5
East Panhandle line ...................... 133 6
North Panhandle line .................... 167 0
West Panhandle line ..................... 310 2
Along 32d parallel ....................... 209 0
Total .................................2,845 3
Following the smaller meanderings of the rivers
and the tidewater coast line, the following are the
boundary measurements :
Sabine River, Lake and Pass............... 292
Red River............................... 726
*Coast line (tidewater) ................... 624
The five line segments given above. ......... 926
Total, including line segments given in
*While the tidewater coast line is given as 624
miles, the entire coast line measured min steps of
one mile is 973 miles for the mainland and 709
miles for the islands.
Physiographic Regions and Subregions of Texas.
Below are brief descriptions of the four
great physiographic provinces, or regions, of
Texas and the natural subdivisions into which
I. COASTAL PLAINS.
This is the part of Texas lying south and
east of the Balcones fault line which runs
from the Rio Grande near Del Rio to north-
western Bexar County, swings northeastward
to the vicinity of Austin and thence continues
to the Red River northeast of Dallas. From
the Rio Grande to Austin this fault line is
marked on the surface by the accompanying
south and east-facing escarpment. Northof
Austin the fault line is not as easily defined
above or below surface. It is the longest and
most distinct physiographic boundary line in
Texas, dividing the state between what might
be called lowland and upland. Principal sub-
divisions of the Texas Coastal Plains are as
1. Rio Grande Plain, or Embayment. That
art of the Coastal Plain extending from the
alcones Escarpment and San Antonio River
on the north, to the Rio Grande on the south-
west and the Gulf Coast on the southeast.
Subtropical temperature in south part with
mild temperate climate in north. Rainfall
27 inches on coast to 20 inches in western
part. Elevation from sea level to 1,000 feet
n northwestern part. A rolling plain with
open prairies in some of the upper portions
but usually covered with thick growth of
mesquite, small oaks, chaparral, catclaw,
huajillo, huisache and other small trees and
shrubs, and the prickly pear (opuntia) cactus.
The most densely covered area constitutes the
famous Brush Country, or Monte, land of the
border stories of J. Frank Dobie and others.
Livestock raising, including cattle, sheep and
Angora goats, principal industry. Little cul-
tivation except in irrigated regions, of which o
the Lower Rio Grande Valley is largest with
more than 300,000 acres devoted to citrus
fruits and winter vegetables. This area is
also known as the Magic Valley, sometimes
as the Rio Grande Delta. Smaller irrigated
areas in the Winter Garden, Laredo, Eagle
Pass and Medina sections, produce onions,
spinach, cabbage, alfalfa and some staple
crops. Dryland farming confined largely to
area between San Antonio and Corpus Christi
where cotton is produced in great volume.
The farming and truck-growing section near
Corpus Christi is called the Coastal Bend
area. Oil and gas are chief minerals. San
Antonio on northern edge is principal indus-
trial and financial center. Corpus Christi,
seaport, is a growing industrial center.
Laredo and Brownsville are principal inter-
national border points. Harlingen, McAllen,
Del Rio and Eagle Pass are other sizable
2. Coastal Prairies. That part of the Coastal
Plain lying generally within 50 or 70 miles
of tidewater, extending from San Antonio
River to the Sabine. A level grass-covered
plain excepting growths along streams. Ele-
vation from sea level to 200 feet. Tempera-
ture subtropical but killing frosts during most
winters. Rainfall from 55 inches at Sabine
to 30 inches in west portion. Much cattle
raising, especially in the western portion.
Land in cultivation where drainage permits,
rich coastal clays and loams producing cotton,
corn, rice and a variety of fruit and vegetable
crops. Rain sufficient for crops except rice
which is irrigated from Colorado, Brazos,
Trinity and other rivers which traverse
Coastal Prairies, and from underground sup-
plies. Much oil production throughout this
area, also world's largest sulphur production.
Fuller's earth and clays also produced and
great quantities of shell dredged along coast.
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Texas Almanac, 1943-1944, book, 1943; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117165/m1/91/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.