Texas Almanac, 1992-1993 Page: 75
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er and the breaks along the Canadian as it crosses the
Panhandle north of Amarillo.
Along the eastern edge of the Panhandle there is a
gradual descent of the earth's surface from high to low
plains, but at the Red River the Caprock Escarpment be-
comes a striking surface feature. It continues as an east-
facing wall south through Briscoe, Floyd, Motley,
Dickens, Crosby, Garza and Borden counties, gradually
decreasing in elevation. South of Borden County the
escarpment is less obvious, and the boundary between
the High Plains and the Edwards Plateau occurs where
the alluvial cover of the High Plains disappears.
Stretching over the largest level plain of its kind in
the United States, the High Plains rise gradually from
about 2,700 feet on the east to more than 4,000 in spots
along the New Mexico border.
Chiefly because of climate and the resultant agricul-
ture, subdivisions are called the North Plains and South
Plains. The North Plains, from Hale County north, has
primarily wheat and grain sorghum farming, but with
significant ranching and petroleum developments.
Amarillo is the largest city, with Plainview on the south
and Borger on the north as important commercial cen-
ters. The South Plains, also a leading grain sorghum
region, leads Texas in cotton production. Lubbock is
the principal city, and Lubbock County is the state's
largest cotton producer. Irrigation from underground
reservoirs, centered around Lubbock and Plainview,
waters much of the crop acreage.
Geographers usually consider the Great Plains at
the foot of the Rocky Mountains continuing southward
from the High Plains of Northwest Texas to the Rio
Grande and the Balcones Escarpment. This southern
and lower extension of the Great Plains in Texas is
known as the Edwards Plateau.
It lies between the Rio Grande and the Colorado Riv-
er. Its southeastern border is the Balcones Escarpment
from the Rio Grande at Del Rio eastward to San Antonio
and thence to Austin on the Colorado. Its upper bound-
ary is the Pecos River, though the Stockton Plateau is
geologically and topographically classed with the
Edwards Plateau. The Edwards Plateau varies from
about 750 feet high at its southern and eastern borders to
about 2,700 feet in places. Almost the entire surface is a
thin, limestone-based soil covered with a medium to
thick growth of cedar, small oak and mesquite with a va-
rying growth of prickly pear. Grass for cattle, weeds for
sheep and tree foliage for the browsing goats, support
three industries-cattle, goat and sheep raising-upon
which the area's economy depends. It is the nation's
leading Angora goat and mohair producing region and
one of the nation's leading sheep and wool areas. A few
crops are grown.
To the northwest of the Edwards and Stockton pla-
teaus is the Toyah Basin, a broad, flat remnant of an old
sea floor that occupied the region as recently as Quater-
Located in the Pecos River Valley, this region, in rel-
atively recent time, has become important for many
agricultural products as a result of irrigation. Additional
economic activity is afforded by local oil fields.
The Hill Country
The Hill Country is a popular name for an area of
hills and spring-fed streams along the edge of the Bal-
cones Escarpment. It is popular with tourists who visit
the dude ranches and other attractions. Notable large
springs include Barton Springs at Austin, San Marcos
Springs at San Marcos, Comal Springs at New Braunfels,
several springs at San Antonio, and a number of others.
The Llano Basin
The Llano Basin lies at the junction of the Colorado
and Llano rivers in Burnet and Llano counties. Earlier
this was known as the "Central Mineral Region," because
of the evidence there of a large number of minerals.
On the Colorado River in this area a succession of
dams impounds two large and four small reservoirs.
Uppermost is Lake Buchanan, one of the two large reser-
voirs, between Burnet and Llano counties. Below it in
the western part of Travis County is Lake Travis. Be-
tween these two large reservoirs are three smaller ones,
Inks, L. B. Johnson (formerly Granite Shoals) and Marble
Falls reservoirs, used primarily for maintaining heads to
produce electric power from the overflow from Lake Bu-
chanan. Lake Austin is just above the city of Austin. Still
another small lake is formed by a low-water dam in Aus-
A name for this recreational area is the Highland
Lakes Country. Geologically this is an interesting area
with Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks found on the sur-
BASIN AND RANGE PROVINCE
The Basin and Range province, with its center in Ne-
vada, surrounds the Colorado Plateau on the west and
south and enters far West Texas from southern New
Mexico. It consists of broad interior drainage basins in-
terspersed with scattered fault-block mountain ranges.
Although this is the only part of Texas regarded as
mountainous, these should not be confused with the
Rockies. Of all the independent ranges in West Texas,
only the Davis Mountains resemble the Rockies, and
there is much debate about this.
Texas west of the Edwards Plateau is bounded on
the north by New Mexico and on the south by the Rio
Grande is distinctive in its physical and economic condi-
tions. Traversed from north to south by an eastern range
of the Rockies, it contains all of Texas' true mountains
and also is very interesting geologically.
Highest of the Trans-Pecos Mountains is the Guad-
alupe Range, which enters the state from New Mexico. It
comes to an abrupt end about 20 miles south of the
boundary line, where are situated Guadalupe Peak,
(8,749 feet, highest in Texas) and El Capitan (8,085 feet),
which, because of perspective, appears to the observer
on the plain below to be higher than Guadalupe and was
for many years thought to be the highest mountain in
Texas. Lying just west of the Guadalupe range and ex-
tending to the Hueco Mountains a short distance east of
El Paso is the Diablo Plateau or basin. It has no drainage
outlet to the sea. The runoff from the scant rain that falls
on its surface drains into a series of salt lakes that
lie just west of the Guadalupe Mountains. These lakes
Texas' Highs, Lows
Though most of Texas is located on flat plains or
rolling prairies, there are substantial mountains in
the Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas. The high-
est point in the state is Guadalupe Peak at 8,749 feet
above sea level. Its twin, El Capitan stands at 8,085
feet and also is located in Culberson County near the
New Mexico state line. Both are in the Guadalupe
Mountains National Park, which includes scenic
McKittrick Canyon. These elevations and the others
in this article have been determined by the U.S. Geo-
logical Survey, unless otherwise noted.
In addition to Guadalupe and El Capitan, other
peaks standing more than 8,000 feet above sea level
include: Shumard, 8,615; Bartlett, 8,508; Bush Moun-
tain, 8,631; Hunter Peak (also known as Pine Top
Mountain), 8,368; Baldy Peak, 8,378, and Mount Liv-
ermore, 8,206. Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains
at 7,825 feet is another well-known elevation.
Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County is the highest town
of any size in Texas at 5,050 feet, and the county has
the highest average elevation. The highest state high-
way point also is in the county at McDonald Obser-
vatory at the end of a tap from State Highway 118
on Mount Locke. The observatory stands at 6,781
feet, as determined by the Texas Department of
Highways and Public Transportation.
The highest railway point is Paisano on the South-
ern Pacific in Presidio County.
Sea level is the lowest elevation determined in
Texas, and it can be found in all the coastal counties.
No point in the state has been found by the geologi-
cal survey to be below sea level.
The following is a list of the 10 highest peaks in
Texas and their locations:
The 10 Highest Peaks in Texas
Name County Elevation
Guadalupe Peak Culberson 8,749
Bush Mountain Culberson 8,631
Shumard Peak Culberson 8,615
Bartlett Peak Culberson 8,508
Baldy Peak Jeff Davis 8,378
(Pine Top Mtn.) Culberson 8,368
Mount Livermore Jeff Davis 8,206
El Capitan Culberson 8,085
Lost Peak Culberson 7,830
Emory Peak Brewster 7,825
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Kingston, Mike. Texas Almanac, 1992-1993, book, 1991; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth279642/m1/79/: accessed April 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.