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A buffalo wallow on the High Plains.
|Floor elevation||1,800–7,000 ft (550–2,130 m)|
|Length||800 mi (1,300 km)|
|Width||400 mi (640 km)|
|Area||174,000 sq mi (450,000 km2)|
The High Plains are a subregion of the Great Plains mostly in the Western United States, but also partly in the Midwest states of Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota, generally encompassing the western part of the Great Plains before the region reaches the Rocky Mountains. The High Plains are located in eastern Montana, southeastern Wyoming, southwestern South Dakota, western Nebraska, eastern Colorado, western Kansas, eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma, and to just south of the Texas Panhandle. 1,800 feet (550 m) to over 7,000 feet (2,100 m).The southern region of the Western High Plains ecology region contains the geological formation known as Llano Estacado which can be seen from a short distance or on satellite maps. From east to west, the High Plains rise in elevation from around
The Great Plains is the broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe, and grassland, that lies west of the Mississippi River tallgrass prairie in the United States and east of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S. and Canada. It embraces:
The Western United States is the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. As European settlement in the U.S. expanded westward through the centuries, the meaning of the term the West changed. Before about 1800, the crest of the Appalachian Mountains was seen as the western frontier. The frontier moved westward and eventually the lands west of the Mississippi River were considered the West.
The Midwestern United States, also referred to as the American Midwest, Middle West, or simply the Midwest, is one of four census regions of the United States Census Bureau. It occupies the northern central part of the United States. It was officially named the North Central Region by the Census Bureau until 1984. It is located between the Northeastern United States and the Western United States, with Canada to its north and the Southern United States to its south.
The term "Great Plains", for the region west of about the 96th or 98th meridian and east of the Rocky Mountains, was not generally used before the early 20th century. Nevin Fenneman's 1916 study, Physiographic Subdivision of the United States,brought the term Great Plains into more widespread usage. Prior to 1916, the region was almost invariably called the High Plains, in contrast to the lower Prairie Plains of the Midwestern states. Today the term "High Plains" is usually used for a subregion instead of the whole of the Great Plains.
The High Plains has a "cold semi-arid" climate—Köppen BSk—receiving between 10–20 inches (250–510 mm) of precipitation annually.
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by the Russian climatologist Wladimir Köppen (1846–1940) in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen, notably in 1918 and 1936. Later, the climatologist Rudolf Geiger introduced some changes to the classification system, which is thus sometimes called the Köppen–Geiger climate classification system.
Due to low moisture and high elevation, the High Plains commonly experiences wide ranges and extremes in temperature. The temperature range from day to night is usually 30 °F (17 °C), and 24-hour temperature shifts of 100 °F (56 °C) are possible, as evidenced by a weather event that occurred in Browning, Montana from January 23, 1916 to January 24, 1916, when the temperature fell from 44 to −56 °F (7 to −49 °C). This is the world record for the greatest temperature change in 24 hours. The region is known for the steady, and sometimes intense, winds that prevail from the west. The winds add a considerable wind chill factor in the winter. The development of wind farms in the High Plains is one of the newest areas of economic development.
Browning is a town in Glacier County, Montana. It is the headquarters for the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and the only incorporated town on the Reservation. The population was 1,016 at the 2010 United States Census.
Wind-chill or windchill is the lowering of body temperature due to the passing-flow of lower-temperature air.
A wind farm or wind park is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other purposes. A wind farm can also be located offshore.
The High Plains are anomalously high in elevation. An explanation has recently been proposed to explain this high elevation. As the Farallon plate was subducted into the mantle beneath the region, water trapped in hydrous minerals in the descending slab was forced up into the lower crust above. Within the crust this water caused the hydration of dense garnet and other phases into lower density amphibole and mica minerals. The resulting increase in crustal volume raised the elevation about one mile.
Subduction is a geological process that takes place at convergent boundaries of tectonic plates where one plate moves under another and is forced to sink due to gravity into the mantle. Regions where this process occurs are known as subduction zones. Rates of subduction are typically in centimeters per year, with the average rate of convergence being approximately two to eight centimeters per year along most plate boundaries.
Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives.
Amphibole is an important group of inosilicate minerals, forming prism or needlelike crystals, composed of double chain SiO
4 tetrahedra, linked at the vertices and generally containing ions of iron and/or magnesium in their structures. Amphiboles can be green, black, colorless, white, yellow, blue, or brown. The International Mineralogical Association currently classifies amphiboles as a mineral supergroup, within which are two groups and several subgroups.
Typical plant communities of the region are shortgrass prairie, prickly pear cacti and scrub. Sagebrush steppe is also present, particularly in high and dry areas closer to the Rocky Mountains.
The shortgrass prairie is an ecosystem located in the Great Plains of North America. The prairie includes lands to the west as far as the eastern foothills of the Rocky Mountains and extends east as far as Nebraska and north into Saskatchewan. The prairie stretches through parts of Alberta, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Kansas, and passes south through the high plains of Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico.
Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. Prickly pears are also known as tuna (fruit), sabra, nopal from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit; or paddle cactus. The genus is named for the Ancient Greek city of Opus, where, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew and could be propagated by rooting its leaves. The most common culinary species is the Indian fig opuntia.
Sagebrush is the common name of several woody and herbaceus species of plants in the genus Artemisia. The best known sagebrush is the shrub Artemisia tridentata. Sagebrushes are native to the North American west.
Agriculture in the forms of cattle ranching and the growing of wheat, corn and sunflowers is the primary economic activity in the region. The aridity of the region necessitates either dryland farming methods or irrigation; much water for irrigation is drawn from the underlying Ogallala Aquifer, which makes it possible to grow water-intensive crops such as corn, which the region's aridity would otherwise not support.[ citation needed ] Some areas of the High Plains have significant petroleum and natural gas deposits.
The combination of oil, natural gas, and wind energy along with plentiful underground water, has allowed some areas (such as West Texas) to sustain a range of economic activity, including occasional industry. For example, the ASARCO refinery in Amarillo, Texas has been in operation since 1924 due to the plentiful and inexpensive natural gas and water that are needed in metal ore refining.[ citation needed ]
The High Plains has one of the lowest population densities of any region in the continental United States; Wyoming, for example, has the second lowest population density in the country after Alaska. In contrast to the rather low and stagnant population in the northern and western High Plains, cities in west Texas have shown sustained growth; Amarillo and Lubbock both have populations near or above 200,000 and continue to grow.[ citation needed ] Smaller towns, on the other hand, often struggle to sustain their population.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for High Plains .|
The term "United States", when used in the geographical sense, is the contiguous United States, the state of Alaska, the island state of Hawaii, the five insular territories of Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa, and minor outlying possessions. The United States shares land borders with Canada and Mexico and maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas in addition to Canada and Mexico. The northern border of the United States with Canada is the world's longest bi-national land border.
In physical geography, a steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. The prairie of North America is an example of a steppe, though it is not usually called such. A steppe may be semi-arid or covered with grass or shrubs or both, depending on the season and latitude. The term is also used to denote the climate encountered in regions too dry to support a forest but not dry enough to be a desert. The soil is typically of chernozem type.
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America. It spans nearly all of Nevada, much of Oregon and Utah, and portions of California, Idaho, and Wyoming. It is noted for both its arid climate and the basin and range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than 100 miles (160 km) away at the summit of Mount Whitney. The region spans several physiographic divisions, biomes, ecoregions, and deserts.
The Great Basin Desert is part of the Great Basin between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Range. The desert is a geographical region that largely overlaps the Great Basin shrub steppe defined by the World Wildlife Fund, and the Central Basin and Range ecoregion defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and United States Geological Survey. It is a temperate desert with hot, dry summers and snowy winters. The desert spans a large part of the state of Nevada, and extends into western Utah, eastern California, and Idaho. The desert is one of the four biologically defined deserts in North America, in addition to the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts.
Llano Estacado, often translated as Staked Plains, is a region in the Southwestern United States that encompasses parts of eastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas. One of the largest mesas or tablelands on the North American continent, the elevation rises from 3,000 feet (900 m) in the southeast to over 5,000 feet (1,500 m) in the northwest, sloping almost uniformly at about 10 feet per mile (1.9 m/km).
West Texas is a loosely defined part of the U.S. state of Texas, generally encompassing the arid and semiarid lands west of a line drawn between the cities of Wichita Falls, Abilene, and Del Rio.
The South Plains is region in northwest Texas, consisting of 24 counties. The main crop is cotton.
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.
Eastern New Mexico is a physiographic subregion within the U.S. state of New Mexico. The region is sometimes called the "High Plains," "Eastern Plains ," or even "Little Texas". The region is largely coterminous with the portion of the Llano Estacado in New Mexico. Eastern New Mexico mostly lies upon the high plains, which extends to elevations over 4,000 ft (1,200 m). The region is mostly characterized by flat featureless terrain with the exception of the Pecos River valley and the abrupt breaks along the Mescalero Ridge and northern caprock escarpments of the Llano Estacado. The region typically lacks the high relief of central and northern New Mexico, such as that in the Sangre de Cristo and Sandia mountain ranges.
The Geography of Oklahoma encompasses terrain and ecosystems ranging from arid plains to subtropical forests and mountains. Oklahoma contains 10 distinct ecological regions, more per square mile than in any other state by a wide margin. It is situated in the Great Plains and U.S. Interior Highlands region near the geographical center of the 48 contiguous states. Usually considered part of the South Central United States, Oklahoma is bounded on the east by Arkansas and Missouri, on the north by Kansas, on the northwest by Colorado, on the far west by New Mexico, and on the south and near-west by Texas.
The Northern short grasslands is one of 867 terrestrial ecoregions defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature. This ecoregion includes parts of the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, and the American Great Plains states of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, South Dakota and Nebraska. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) further breaks this ecoregion into the Northwestern Glaciated Plains and Northwestern Great Plains.
The Western short grasslands is a temperate grassland ecoregion of the United States.
Needmore is a small unincorporated community in north central Terry County, Texas, United States.
The ecology of the Great Plains is diverse, largely owing to their great size. Differences in rainfall, elevation, and latitude create a variety of habitats including short grass, mixed grass, and tall-grass prairies, and riparian ecosystems.
The Central Great Plains are a semi-arid prairie ecoregion of the central United States, part of North American Great Plains. The region runs from west-central Texas through west-central Oklahoma, central Kansas, and south-central Nebraska.
The southwestern tablelands is an ecoregion running from east-central to south-east Colorado, east-central and a small portion of east New Mexico, some eastern portions of the Oklahoma Panhandle, far south-central Kansas and portions of northwest Texas. This ecoregion has a "cold semi-arid" climate. Some years, a National Weather Service warning is issued in parts of Texas due to a dust storm originating from the lower part of the Southwestern Tablelands ecological region or from the southern end of the Western High Plains ecological region.
Wastella is a ghost town in northwest Nolan County, Texas, United States. Wastella is located at the intersection of U.S. Highway 84 and Farm to Market Road 1982 approximately 8 mi (13 km) northwest of Roscoe. It lies within the physiographic region known as the Rolling Plains to the southeast of the high plains of the Llano Estacado.
Whiteflat is a ghost town in Motley County, Texas, United States. The population was estimated to be 3 at the 2000 census.