Oklahoma’s Diverse Land Chapter One Ten Geographical Regions High Plains Sandstone Hills Gypsum Hills Prairie Plains Wichita Mountains Ozark Plateau Ouachita Mtns. Red Bed Plains Arbuckle Mtns. Red River Plains The Cross Timbers • Vegetation zone that cuts across several regions • Post Oak and Blackjack Oak Trees • Forms a natural barrier between west plains and eastern prairies The Cross Timbers • It was hard to penetrate for early travelers • Not good for farming; soils eroded Tornado Alley • Variable weather in Oklahoma, seasonal extremes • 53 tornadoes annually • 3 climate regions meet: humid, sub humid, and semiarid Tornado Alley • Average annual temperature in 60 degrees • Precipitation: NW=little, SE= a lot Fertile Soils • Among world’s most fertile • SE=least productive due to excessive rain • NW=not as much rain as needed for crops Fertile Soils • Important to our economy • Shapes our “personality” Forest • 1/5 of our land • $ after Civil War • “Cut out and get out”, then a conservation plan • Half a billion $/year business today Salt Plains • Alfalfa County has 120 sq. miles of pure salt deposits • Important source for people and animals • National Wildlife Refuge in 1930 • A few other salt springs/flats Tallgrass Prairie • Soils are dark and deep • Climate is warm and somewhat wet • Preserve---excessive plowing and grazing destroys grasses (Dust Bowl) Mesas and Mountains • Black Mesa=highest point in state, dinosaur bones, prehistoric human skeletons, wagon ruts • Wichita Mountains=granite and rhyolite, Mt. Scott Mesas and Mountains • Ouachita Mountains=western extension of Appalachian Mountains • Arbuckles • Ozarks Wildlife • Many species due to the variety of the geography • Important to the livelihood of early inhabitants • Songbirds and game birds Wildlife • Buffalo=endangered/repopulated • White-tailed deer, elk, black bear, beavers, alligators Water • Springs=Sulphur, Springs of Everlasting Water • Waterfalls=Turner Falls • Two major river systems=Arkansas (2/3) and Red • Important channels of commerce Water • Steamboats in 1828 • “Great Raft” on Red • 1946 McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System • Port of Catoosa connected with Mississippi River Water Conservation • More water carried out of state than into state • Water Banking upstream • 1800 man-made lakes, 34 federal reservoirs Water Conservation • Lake Eufaula is the largest state lake • More shoreline than any other state Why is all of this important? Our geography has influenced our history, and therefore it has and does influence our lives today.