Boston Mountains

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Boston Mountains ecoregion
Buffalo national river steel creek overlook.jpg
View from Steel Creek Overlook on the Buffalo National River
Boston Mountains ecoregion, Level III.png
Level III ecoregions in the region, with the Boston Mountains ecoregion marked as (38) (full map)
Ecology
Borders Ozark Highlands (39), Arkansas Valley (37) and Central Irregular Plains (40)
Geography
Area14,190 km2 (5,480 sq mi)
CountryUnited States
StatesArkansas and Oklahoma
Coordinates Coordinates: 35°47′28″N93°6′24″W / 35.79111°N 93.10667°W / 35.79111; -93.10667
Climate type Humid subtropical (Cwa)

The Boston Mountains is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. Part of the Ozark Mountains, the Boston Mountains are a deeply dissected plateau. The ecoregion is steeper than the adjacent Springfield Plateau to the north, and bordered on the south by the Arkansas Valley. The Oklahoma portion of the range is locally referred to as the Cookson Hills.

United States Environmental Protection Agency Agency of the U.S. Federal Government

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government for environmental protection. President Richard Nixon proposed the establishment of EPA on July 9, 1970 and it began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. The agency is led by its Administrator, who is appointed by the President and approved by Congress. The current Administrator is former Deputy Administrator Andrew R. Wheeler, who had been acting administrator since July 2018. The EPA is not a Cabinet department, but the Administrator is normally given cabinet rank.

Arkansas State of the United States of America

Arkansas is a state in the southern region of the United States, home to over 3 million people as of 2018. Its name is of Siouan derivation from the language of the Osage denoting their related kin, the Quapaw Indians. The state's diverse geography ranges from the mountainous regions of the Ozark and the Ouachita Mountains, which make up the U.S. Interior Highlands, to the densely forested land in the south known as the Arkansas Timberlands, to the eastern lowlands along the Mississippi River and the Arkansas Delta.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Contents

The Boston Mountains ecoregion has been subdivided into two Level IV ecoregions. [1] [2]

Description

The ecoregion is mountainous, forested, and underlain by Pennsylvanian sandstone, shale, and siltstone. It is one of the Ozark Plateaus; some folding and faulting has occurred but, in general, strata are much less deformed than in the Ouachita Mountains. Maximum elevations are higher, soils have a warmer temperature regime, and carbonate rocks are much less extensive than in the Ozark Highlands. Physiography is distinct from the Arkansas Valley. Upland soils are mostly Ultisols that developed under oak-hickory and oak-hickory-pine forests. Today, forests are still widespread; northern red oak, southern red oak, white oak, and hickories usually dominate the uplands, but shortleaf pine grows on drier, south- and west-facing slopes underlain by sandstone. Pastureland or hayland occur on nearly level ridgetops, benches, and valley floors. Population density is low; recreation, logging, and livestock farming are the primary land uses. Water quality in streams is generally exceptional; biochemical, nutrient, and mineral water quality parameter concentrations all tend to be very low. Fish communities are mostly composed of sensitive species; a diverse, often darter-dominated community occurs along with nearly equal proportions of minnows and sunfishes. During low flows, streams usually run clear but, during high flow conditions, turbidity in the Boston Mountains tends to be greater than in the Ouachitas. Summer flow in many small streams is limited or non-existent but isolated, enduring pools may occur. [1]

The Pennsylvanian is, in the ICS geologic timescale, the younger of two subperiods of the Carboniferous Period. It lasted from roughly 323.2 million years ago to 298.9 million years ago Ma. As with most other geochronologic units, the rock beds that define the Pennsylvanian are well identified, but the exact date of the start and end are uncertain by a few hundred thousand years. The Pennsylvanian is named after the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, where the coal-productive beds of this age are widespread.

Sandstone A clastic sedimentary rock composed mostly of sand-sized particles

Sandstone is a clastic sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized mineral particles or rock fragments.

Shale A fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock

Shale is a fine-grained, clastic sedimentary rock composed of mud that is a mix of flakes of clay minerals and tiny fragments of other minerals, especially quartz and calcite. Shale is characterized by breaks along thin laminae or parallel layering or bedding less than one centimeter in thickness, called fissility. It is the most common sedimentary rock.

Geology and physiography

The Boston Mountains are a physiographic section of the larger Ozark Plateaus province, which in turn is part of the larger Interior Highlands physiographic division. [3]

The physiographic regions of the world are a means of defining the Earth's landforms into distinct regions, based upon the classic three-tiered approach by Nevin Fenneman in 1916, that further defines landforms into: 1. physiographic divisions; 2. physiographic provinces; and 3. physiographic sections. This foundational model, which Fenneman used to classify the United States, was the basis for similar classifications of other continents later, and is still considered basically valid.

U.S. Interior Highlands mountainous region in the Central United States

The U.S. Interior Highlands is a mountainous region in the Central United States spanning northern and western Arkansas, southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The name is designated by the United States Geological Survey to refer to the combined subregions of the Ouachita Mountains and the Ozark Plateaus. The U.S. Interior Highlands is one of few mountainous regions between the Appalachians and Rockies.

The area is underlain by Pennsylvanian sandstone, shale, and siltstone, where some folding and faulting has occurred. [4] The sandstone beds become thinner, but more shaly in the west as the mountains decline in elevation. [5]

The range covers an area of 5,770 square miles (14,900 km2). [6] The rocks of the region are essentially little disturbed, flat-lying sedimentary layers of the Paleozoic age. The highest ridges and peaks are capped by Pennsylvanian sandstone and shale. The deeply eroded valleys are cut into Mississippian limestones and below that layer Ordovician dolomites.

The PaleozoicEra is the earliest of three geologic eras of the Phanerozoic Eon. It is the longest of the Phanerozoic eras, lasting from 541 to 251.902 million years ago, and is subdivided into six geologic periods : the Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, and Permian. The Paleozoic comes after the Neoproterozoic Era of the Proterozoic Eon and is followed by the Mesozoic Era.

Limestone Sedimentary rocks made of calcium carbonate

Limestone is a carbonate sedimentary rock that is often composed of the skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral, foraminifera, and molluscs. Its major materials are the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate (CaCO3). A closely related rock is dolomite, which contains a high percentage of the mineral dolomite, CaMg(CO3)2. In fact, in old USGS publications, dolomite was referred to as magnesian limestone, a term now reserved for magnesium-deficient dolomites or magnesium-rich limestones.

The Ordovician is a geologic period and system, the second of six periods of the Paleozoic Era. The Ordovician spans 41.2 million years from the end of the Cambrian Period 485.4 million years ago (Mya) to the start of the Silurian Period 443.8 Mya.

General description

The Boston Mountains form the southwestern part of the Ozark plateau where they are the highest portion of the Ozarks. Summits can reach elevations of just over 2,560 feet (780 m) with valleys 500 feet (150 m) to 1,550 feet (470 m) deep. Turner Ward Knob (TWK) is the highest named peak. Located in western Newton County, Arkansas, its elevation is 2,463 feet (751 m). Nearby, five unnamed peaks have elevations at or slightly above 2,560 feet (780 m). Two of these highest peaks are located 2.2 miles (3.5 km) west of Turner Ward Knob, one being the location of the Buffalo Lookout fire tower at 2,561 feet (781 m). [7] The other three highest peaks are located 4–5 miles (6.4–8.0 km) south-southwest of Turner Ward Knob along Arkansas Highway 16. [7] [8] [9]

Rivers and streams

The Boston Mountains are the source of rivers and streams that flow out from the mountains in all directions. Within a 3 miles (4,800 m) radius of a point just west of the summits discussed above are located the sources of the White River, the Buffalo River, the Kings River, War Eagle Creek, and Little Mulberry Creek. Other rivers and streams having their headwaters in the Boston Mountains include the Illinois River, the Mulberry River, Lee Creek, Frog Bayou, Big Piney Creek, Illinois Bayou, and the Little Red River. To the south, the Arkansas River valley separates the Boston Mountains from the Ouachita Mountains.

In Arkansas, the Boston Mountains are found in the following counties: Boone, Carroll, Cleburne, Conway, Crawford, Franklin, Independence, Johnson, Madison, Newton, Pope, Searcy, Stone, Van Buren, and Washington.

In Oklahoma, the Boston Mountains are found in these counties: Adair, Cherokee, Muskogee, Sequoyah, and Wagoner.

Landscapes

See also

Related Research Articles

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The Ozarks, also called the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau, is a physiographic region in the U.S. states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Ozarks cover a significant portion of northern Arkansas and most of the southern half of Missouri, extending from Interstate 40 in Arkansas to the Interstate 70 in central Missouri.

Ouachita National Forest

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Mount Magazine mountain

Mount Magazine, officially named Magazine Mountain, is the highest point of the U.S. Interior Highlands and the U.S. state of Arkansas, and is the site of Mount Magazine State Park. It is a flat-topped mountain or mesa capped by hard rock and rimmed by precipitous cliffs. There are two summits atop the mountain: Signal Hill, which reaches 2,753 feet (839 m), and Mossback Ridge, which reaches 2,700 ft (823.0 m).

Ozark–St. Francis National Forest

The Ozark – St. Francis National Forest is a United States National Forest that is located in the state of Arkansas. It is composed of two separate forests, Ozark National Forest in the Ozark Mountains; and St. Francis National Forest on Crowley's Ridge. Each forest has distinct biological, topographical, and geological differences.

Ouachita Mountains

The Ouachita Mountains, simply referred to as the Ouachitas, are a mountain range in western Arkansas and southeastern Oklahoma. They are formed by a thick succession of highly deformed Paleozoic strata constituting the Ouachita Fold and Thrust Belt, one of the important orogenic belts of North America. The Ouachitas continue in the subsurface to the southeast where they make a poorly understood connection with the Appalachians and to the southwest where they join with the Marathon area of West Texas. Together with the Ozark Plateaus, the Ouachitas form the U.S. Interior Highlands. The highest natural point is Mount Magazine at 2,753 feet.

The Highland Rim is a geographic term for the area in Tennessee surrounding the Central Basin. Nashville is largely surrounded by higher terrain in all directions.

Cumberland Mountains mountain range

The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains. Their highest peak, with an elevation of 4,223 feet (1,287 m) above mean sea level, is High Knob, which is located near Norton, Virginia.

Cross Timbers

The term Cross Timbers, also known as Ecoregion 29, Central Oklahoma/Texas Plains, is used to describe a strip of land in the United States that runs from southeastern Kansas across Central Oklahoma to Central Texas. Made up of a mix of prairie, savanna, and woodland, it forms part of the boundary between the more heavily forested eastern country and the almost treeless Great Plains, and also marks the western habitat limit of many mammals and insects.

The geology of Tennessee is as diverse as its landscapes. Politically, Tennessee is broken up into three Grand Divisions: East, Middle, and West Tennessee. Physically, Tennessee is also separated into three main types of landforms: river valley plain, highlands and basins, and mountains.

Osage Plains west-central Missouri, the southeastern third of Kansas, most of central Oklahoma, and extending into north-central Texas in the USA

The Osage Plains are a physiographic section of the larger Central Lowland province, which in turn is part of the larger Interior Plains physiographic division. The area is sometimes called the Lower Plains, North Central Plains,or Rolling Plains. The Osage Plains, covering west-central Missouri, the southeastern third of Kansas, most of central Oklahoma, and extending into north-central Texas, is the southernmost of three tallgrass prairie physiographic areas. It grades into savanna and woodland to the east and south, and into shorter, mixed-grass prairie to the west. The Osage Plains consist of three subregions. The Osage Plains proper occupy the northeast segment. Although sharply demarcated from the Ozark uplift, the plains are nonetheless a transitional area across which the boundary between prairie and woodland has shifted over time. In the central portion of the physiographic area lies the second subregion, the Flint Hills, commonly called "the Osage" in Oklahoma. This large remnant core of native tallgrass prairie is a rocky rolling terrain that runs from north to south across Kansas and extends into Oklahoma. To the west and south of these hills are the Blackland Prairies and Cross Timbers. This vegetatively complex region of intermixed prairie and scrubby juniper-mesquite woodland extends into north-central Texas. Bluestem prairies and oak-dominated savannas and woodlands characterize the natural vegetation in the Cross Timbers. Much of the area has been converted to agriculture, although expanses of oak forest and woodland are still scattered throughout the eastern portion of the subregion.

Geology of Kansas

The Geology of Kansas encompasses the geologic history of the US state of Kansas and the present-day rock and soil that is exposed there. Rock that crops out in Kansas was formed during the Phanerozoic eon, which consists of three geologic eras: the Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic. Paleozoic rocks at the surface in Kansas are primarily from the Mississippian, Pennsylvanian and Permian periods.

Geography of Arkansas

The geography of Arkansas varies widely. The state is covered by mountains, river valleys, forests, lakes, and bayous in addition to the cities of Arkansas. Hot Springs National Park features bubbling springs of hot water, formerly sought across the country for their healing properties. Crowley's Ridge is a geological anomaly rising above the surrounding lowlands of the Mississippi embayment.

Ozark Highlands (ecoregion)

The Ozark Highlands is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in four U.S. states. Most of the region is within Missouri, with a part in Arkansas and small sections in Oklahoma and Kansas. It is the largest subdivision of the region known as the Ozark Mountains, flatter in comparison to the Boston Mountains in Arkansas, the steepest part of the Ozarks.

Devils Den State Park Arkansas state park in Washington County, near West Fork, Arkansas in the United States

Devil's Den State Park is a 2,500-acre (1,000 ha) Arkansas state park in Washington County, near West Fork, Arkansas in the United States. The park was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, beginning in 1933. Devil's Den State Park is in the Lee Creek Valley in the Boston Mountains, which are the southwestern part of The Ozarks. The park, with an 8 acres (3.2 ha) CCC-built lake, is open for year-round recreation, with trails for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding. Devil's Den State Park also has several picnic areas, a swimming pool and cabins, with camping sites ranging from modern to primitive. Fossils of coral and crinoids can be found along the banks and within Lee Creek at Devil's Den State Park.

Flatside Wilderness

The Flatside Wilderness is a rugged 9,507-acre protected area in the U.S. state of Arkansas. It is one of six wilderness areas in the Ouachita National Forest and also the easternmost. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the area in a number of ways, including an 8.9-mile hike of the Ouachita National Recreation Trail.

Named after Atoka County, Oklahoma, the Atoka Formation is a geologic formation in central and western Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, central and western Texas, and eastern New Mexico. It is the surface rock of the Boston Mountains and dominates exposures in the Frontal Ouachita Mountains of the Arkansas River Valley.

Arkansas Valley (ecoregion)

The Arkansas Valley is a Level III ecoregion designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the U.S. states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It parallels the Arkansas River between the flat plains of western Oklahoma and the Arkansas Delta, dividing the Ozarks and the Ouachita Mountains with the broad valleys created by the river's floodplain, occasionally interrupted by low hills, scattered ridges, and mountains. In Arkansas, the region is often known as the Arkansas River Valley, especially when describing the history and culture of the region.

References

  1. 1 2 PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material  from the  United States Geological Survey document: Woods, A.J., Foti, T.L., Chapman, S.S., Omernik, J.M.; et al. "Ecoregions of Arkansas" (PDF).CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)(color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs).
  2. PD-icon.svg This article incorporates public domain material  from the  United States Geological Survey document: Woods, A.J., Omernik, J.M., Butler, D.R., Ford, J.G., Henley, J.E., Hoagland, B.W., Arndt, D.S., and Moran, B.C. "Ecoregions of Oklahoma" (PDF).CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)(color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs).
  3. "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-12-06.
  4. "Designing A Future For Arkansas Wildlife". State of Arkansas. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  5. Bowman, Isaiah (1911). Forest Physiography: Physiography of the United States and Principles of Soils in Relation to Forestry. J. Wiley & sons. p. 453.
  6. Gromadzki, Gregory and Richard Marston. "Boston Mountains". Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Accessed September 27, 2016.
  7. 1 2 Fallsville, Arkansas, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1967
  8. Boston, Arkansas, 7.5 Minute Topographic Quadrangle, USGS, 1973
  9. [NAD83 geographic coordinates for TWK are N35.8631°, W093.4544°. Coordinates for the 5 unnamed highest peaks are N35.8637°, W093.4931° (Buffalo Lookout); N35.8607°, W093.4935°; N35.8151°, W093.4968°; N35.8126°, W093.4984°; and N35.7990°, W093.5005°]