The Chinati Mountains of Texas are a small range in the high desert of far West Texas near the city of Presidio. There is a pass through the mountains on Ranch to Market Road 2810 known as Pinto Canyon Road, which connects to Farm to Market Road 170 at Ruidosa, Texas; some believe the range derives its name from the Apache word ch'íná'itíh, which means gate or mountain pass. The mountains are composed of igneous and metamorphic rocks, are believed to be the remains of a number of explosive volcanic caldera-building events in the remote past; the mountains are not forested, but rather vegetated with grasses and brush typical of the Chihuahuan Desert. The Chinatis were extensively mined for silver from the 1860s through the 1910s; the highest point in the range is Chinati Peak, with an elevation of 7,728 feet. Chinati Peak is the highest point in Presidio County, it serves as a major landmark for the surrounding area, its dome-shaped hump can be seen rising prominently in the distance to the southwest from US 90 between Van Horn and Marfa.
Chinati Peak is encircled by rugged canyons. The summit of Chinati Peak is broad and flat, but it is surrounded by cliffs and brush-filled drainages on all sides. Sierra Parda, at 7,185 feet, is the second-highest peak in the range. Chinati Mountains State Park, a park of about 40,000 acres encompassing part of the range, is the second largest state park in Texas. Access to the park has been limited since the land was acquired. However, according to a statement by Texas Parks and Wildlife in October 2014, public access to the park has been secured. Chinati Mountains from the Handbook of Texas Online Chinati Peak from the Handbook of Texas Online USGS Summary: Chinati Mountains caldera volcanic rocks, including Chinati Mountains Group, Mitchell Mesa Ignimbrite, type area of Petan Basalt AGE AND CHARACTERIZATION OF THE RED HILLS PORPHYRY COPPER-MOLYBDENUM DEPOSIT AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE CHINATI MOUNTAINS CALDERA, PRESIDIO COUNTY, TEXAS
The Chisos Mountains are a mountain range located in the Big Bend area of West Texas, United States. The mountain range is contained within the boundaries of Big Bend National Park; this is the only mountain range in the United States to be contained within the boundary of a national park. It is the southernmost mountain range in the mainland United States; the highest point in the Chisos Mountain range is Emory Peak at 7,825 ft above sea level. The Chisos Mountains are located in Big Bend National Park; the range of mountains extends twenty miles from Punta de la Sierra in the southwest to Panther Junction in the northeast. An extensive trail system and permit-required backcountry campsites are maintained by Big Bend National Park for its visitors; the Northeast Rim and Southeast Rim trails are closed from February 1 through May 31 along with some of the backcountry campsites along these trails to protect the local peregrine falcon population. The mountain area is forested, surrounded by the Chihuahuan Desert.
The nearby towns include Study Butte, Fort Stockton, 135 miles north, Alpine, 105 mi northwest and Presidio, about 100 mi west. Two Mexican towns border the park. One of the multiple possibilities of the origin of the name is the option that it stems from hechizos, a Castilian word meaning "enchantment". Another possibility is the option that the word originated from chisos, a Native American word meaning "ghost" or "spirit". Emory Peak 7,825 ft Lost Mine Peak 7,535 ft Toll Mountain 7,415 ft Casa Grande Peak 7,325 ft Elevation: 5,300 feet Ornithology Birds of the Chisos Mountains include 81 total known species that live within six different plant associations; the six plant associations along with the number of known species within them include: the Arroyo-Mesquite-Acacia Association, the Lechuguilla-Creosotebush-Cactus Association, the Sotol-Grass Association, the Deciduous Woodland Association, the Pinyon-Juniper-Oak Association, the Cypress-Pine-Oak Association. Myrmecology Ants of the Chisos Mountains include 81 total known species within 29 different genera.
Big Bend Chihuahuan Desert Chisos Mountains from the Handbook of Texas Online U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Chisos Mountains Photos of West Texas and the Llano Estacado Geologic Map of the Chisos Mountain, Big Bend National Park United States Geological Survey
Bush Mountain (Texas)
Bush Mountain, at an elevation of 8,631 feet is the second highest peak in the U. S. state of Texas. Located in the Guadalupe Mountains of Culberson County, Bush Mountain is about 2.87 miles northwest of Guadalupe Peak, its nearest higher neighbor. Its proximity to Guadalupe Peak gives Bush Mountain the 22nd greatest prominence of any mountain in Texas at 951 feet. Bush Mountain is within the Guadalupe Mountains Wilderness of Guadalupe Mountains National Park and can only be accessed via hiking or horseback. Bush Mountain can be accessed via trailheads at both Pine Springs and Dog Canyon in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the Bush Mountain Trail passes over the summit of the mountain; the Bush Mountain Campground is located along the trail just below the southeast side of the summit, the National Park Service has a radio repeater on the summit
The Guadalupe Mountains are a mountain range located in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico. The range includes the highest summit in Texas, Guadalupe Peak, 8,751 ft, the "signature peak" of West Texas, El Capitan, both of which are located within Guadalupe Mountains National Park; the Guadalupe Mountains are bordered by the Pecos River valley and Llano Estacado to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, Sacramento Mountains to the west. Archaeological evidence has shown that people lived over 10,000 years ago in and among the many caves and alcoves; the first humans to live here were hunter-gatherers who followed large game and collected edible vegetation. Artifacts that support this include projectile points, baskets and rock art; the first Europeans to arrive in the area were the Spaniards in the 16th century, but they did not make serious attempts to settle in the Guadalupe Mountains. The Spanish introduced horses into the area, nomadic indigenous tribes of the area such as the Apaches soon found horses to be an asset for hunting and migrating.
Mescalero Apaches were nomadic and harvested the agave for food and fiber. Mescalero is Spanish for mescal-maker. Agave-roasting pits and other artifacts of Mescalero culture can be found in the park; the Mescalero Apaches remained in the mountains through the mid-19th century, but they were challenged by an American transportation route at the end of the American Civil War. During the 1840s and 1850s, many people immigrating west crossed the area. In 1858, Pinery station was constructed near Pine Springs for the Butterfield Overland Mail; the Butterfield Overland Mail traveled over Guadalupe Pass located at 5,534 ft above sea level. A cavalry was known as the Buffalo Soldiers was ordered to the area to stop Indian raids on settlements and mail stage routes. During the winter of 1869, Lt. H. B. Cushing destroyed two Mescalero Apache camps; the Mescalero Apache were driven out of the area and into US Indian reservations. Felix McKittrick was one of the first European settlers in the Guadalupe Mountains.
McKittrick Canyon is thought to be named after him. Frijole Ranch was the first permanent ranch house. Frijole Ranch House was the only major building in the region. Today, the Frijole Ranch House operates as a cultural museum. In 1908, Williams Ranch House was built, it was named after one of its inhabitants, James Adolphus Williams. Judge J. C. Hunter from Van Horn consolidated most of the smaller ranches in the area into the Guadalupe Mountain Ranch. In 1921, Wallace Pratt, a geologist for Humble Oil and Refining Company, was impressed by the beauty of McKittrick Canyon and bought the land to build two homes in the canyon. Both constructions were used as summer homes by Pratt and his family until 1960. Wallace Pratt donated about 6,000 acres of McKittrick Canyon which became part of Guadalupe Mountains National Park; the Guadalupe Mountains reach their highest point at Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, with an elevation of 8,751 feet. The range lies east of the Brokeoff Mountains; the mountain range extends north-northwest and northeast from Guadalupe Peak in Texas into New Mexico.
The northeastern extension ends about 10 miles southwest of Carlsbad, near White's City and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The mountains rise more than 3,000 feet above the arid floor of the Chihuahuan Desert; the Guadalupe Mountains are surrounded by the South Plains to the east and north, Delaware Mountains to the south, Sacramento Mountains to the west. The northwestern extension, bounded by a dramatic escarpment known as "The Rim", extends much further into New Mexico, to near the Sacramento Mountains; the range is bounded on the north by Four Mile Canyon. Much of the range is built from the ancient Capitán Reef that formed at the margins of a shallow sea during the Permian period; the Guadalupian epoch of the Permian period is named for these mountains, the Capitanian age within this epoch is named for the Capitan reef. For details on the area's geology, see Delaware Basin; as the range is built up entirely of limestone, upland areas have little or no surface water. The only significant surface water is McKittrick Creek, in McKittrick Canyon, which emerges from the eastern side of the massif, just south of the New Mexico border.
Elevations at the base of the range vary from 4,000 feet above sea level on the western side to 5,000 feet on the east. Several peaks on the southern end exceed 8,000 feet; the Guadalupe Mountains experience hot summers, mild autumn weather, cool to cold weather in winter and early spring. Snow storms, freezing rain, or fog may occur in early spring. Frequent high-wind warnings are issued during winter through spring. Late summer monsoons produce thunderstorms; the nights are cool in summer. Three major ecosystems are contained within the mountain range. First, deserts exhibit salt flats on the western side of the national park and creosote desert, with low elevations on the east covered with grassland, pinyon pine, junipers such as alligator juniper and one-seeded juniper. Secondly, canyon interiors such as McKittrick and Pine Springs Canyon on the southeast end exhibit map
The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert and ecoregion designation covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It occupies much of West Texas, parts of the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley and the lower Pecos Valley in New Mexico, a portion of southeastern Arizona, as well as the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau, it is bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, along with northwestern lowlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental range. On the Mexican side, it covers a large portion of the state of Chihuahua, along with portions of Coahuila, north-eastern Durango, the extreme northern part of Zacatecas, small western portions of Nuevo León. With an area of about 362,000 km2, it is the third largest desert of the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in North America, after the Great Basin Desert. Several larger mountain ranges include the Sierra Madre, the Sierra del Carmen, the Organ Mountains, the Franklin Mountains, the Sacramento Mountains, the Chisos Mountains, the Guadalupe Mountains, the Davis Mountains.
These create "sky islands" of cooler, climates adjacent to, or within the desert, such elevated areas have both coniferous and broadleaf woodlands, including forests along drainages and favored exposures. The Sandia–Manzano Mountains, the Magdalena–San Mateo Mountains, the Gila Region border the Chihuahuan Desert at their lower elevations. There are a few urban areas within the desert: the largest is Ciudad Juárez with two million inhabitants. Las Cruces and Roswell are among the other significant cities in this ecoregion. Monterrey and Santa Fe are located near the Chihuahuan desert. According to the World Wide Fund for Nature the Chihuahuan Desert may be the most biologically diverse desert in the world as measured by species richness or endemism; the region has been badly degraded due to grazing. Many native grasses and other species have become dominated by woody native plants, including creosote bush and mesquite, due to overgrazing and other urbanization; the Mexican wolf, once abundant, remains on the endangered species list.
The desert is a rain shadow desert because the two main mountain ranges covering the desert, the Sierra Madre Occidental to the west and the Sierra Madre Oriental to the east block most moisture from the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico respectively. Climatically, the desert has a dry climate with only one rainy season in the summer and smaller amounts of precipitation in early winter. Most of the summer rains falls between late June and early October, during the North American Monsoon when moist air from the Gulf of Mexico penetrates into the region. Owing to its inland position and higher elevation than the Sonoran Desert to the west varying from 600 to 1,675 m in altitude, the desert has a milder climate in the summer and cool or cold winters with occasional frosts; the average annual temperature in the desert is 24 °C. The hottest temperatures in the desert occur in valleys. Northern areas can receive snowstorms; the mean annual precipitation for the Chihuahuan Desert is 235 mm with a range of 150–400 mm, although it receives more precipitation than other warm desert ecoregions.
Nearly two-thirds of the arid zone stations have annual totals between 275 mm. Snowfall is scant except at the higher elevation edges; the desert is young, existing for only 8000 years. Creosote bush is the dominant plant species on gravelly and occasional sandy soils in valley areas within the Chihuahuan Desert; the other species it is found with depends on factors such as the soil and degree of slope. Viscid acacia, tarbush dominate northern portions, as does broom dalea on sandy soils in western portions. Yucca and Opuntia species are abundant in foothill edges and the central third, while Arizona rainbow cactus and Mexican fire-barrel cactus inhabit portions near the US–Mexico border. Herbaceous plants, such as bush muhly, blue grama, gypsum grama, hairy grama, are dominant in desert grasslands and near the mountain edges including the Sierra Madre Occidental. Lechuguilla, honey mesquite, Opuntia macrocentra and Echinocereus pectinatus are the dominant species in western Coahuila. Ocotillo and Yucca filifera are the most common species in the southeastern part of the desert.
Candelilla, Mimosa zygophylla, Acacia glandulifera and lechuguilla are found in areas with well-draining, shallow soils. The shrubs found near the Sierra Madre Oriental are lechuguilla, Queen Victoria's agave and barreta, while the well-developed herbaceous layer includes grasses and cacti. Grasslands comprise 20% of this desert and are mosaics of shrubs and grasses, they include purple three-awn, black grama, sideoats grama. Early Spanish explorers reported encountering grasses.
Big Bend National Park
For the Texas State Park see Big Bend Ranch State Park. Big Bend National Park is an American national park located in bordering Mexico; the park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. The park protects more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, 75 species of mammals. Geological features in the park include sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as volcanic dikes; the area has a rich cultural history, from archeological sites dating back nearly 10,000 years to more recent pioneers and miners. The park encompasses an area of 801,163 acres. For more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, Big Bend National Park administers 118 miles along that boundary; the park was named after a large bend in the river, the Texas—Mexico border. Because the Rio Grande serves as an international boundary, the park faces unusual constraints while administering and enforcing park rules and policies.
In accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the park's territory extends only to the center of the deepest river channel as the river flowed in 1848. The rest of the land south of that channel, the river, lies within Mexican territory; the park is bordered by the protected areas of Parque Nacional Cañon de Santa Elena and Maderas del Carmen in Mexico. The park exhibits dramatic contrasts and its climate may be characterized as one of extremes. Dry and hot late spring and summer days exceed 100 °F in the lower elevations. Winters are mild but subfreezing temperatures occur; because of the range in altitude from about 1,800 feet along the river to Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains at 7,832 feet, a wide variation in available moisture and temperature exists throughout the park. These variations contribute to an exceptional diversity in animal habitats; some species in the park, such as the Chisos oak, are found nowhere else in the United States. The 118 mi of river that form the southern park boundary include the spectacular canyons of Santa Elena and Boquillas.
The Rio Grande, which meanders through this portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, has cut deep canyons with nearly vertical walls through three uplifts made of limestone. Throughout the open desert areas, the productive Rio Grande riparian zone includes numerous plant and animal species and significant cultural resources; the vegetative belt extends into the desert along arroyos. South of the border lie the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila and newly protected areas for flora and fauna, which are regions known as the Maderas del Carmen and the Cañón de Santa Elena; the oldest recorded tectonic activity in the park is related to the Paleozoic Marathon orogeny, although Proterozoic events have some deep control. The Marathon orogeny is part of thrusting of rocks from the South American Plate over the North American Plate; this can be best seen in the Persimmon Gap area of the park. This orogenic event is linked to the lack of Triassic- and Jurassic-age rocks in the park. Between the Triassic and the Cretaceous, the South American Plate rifted from the North American Plate, resulting in the deposition of the Glen Rose Limestone, Del Carmen Limestone, Sue Peaks Formation, Santa Elena Limestone, Del Rio Clay, Buda Limestone, Boquillas formations.
During this time, the Chihuahua trough formed as the Gulf of Mexico opened, which resulted in east-west striking normal faulting. As a result of this depositional time, dinosaur and other fossils are preserved in the park. Following the ending of rifting in the Late Cretaceous to the early Cenozoic, the Big Bend area was subjected to the Laramide orogeny; this period of compression caused the northeast-facing Mesa de Anguila, the southwest-facing Sierra del Carmen–Santiago Mountains and the Tornillo Basin. During the middle Cenozoic, most of the volcanic rocks, including the Chisos group, the Pine Canyon caldera complex, the Burro Mesa Formation, formed; the most recent tectonic activity in the park is basin and range faulting from the Neogene to Quaternary. This period of east-west extension has resulted in Estufa and Dehalo bolsons in the Chisos Mountains, as well as the Terlingua and Sierra del Carmen, Chalk Draw, Burro Mesa faults; the Rio Grande has entered the Big Bend area 2 million years ago, since extensive erosion and downcutting have occurred.
Cultural resources in the park range from the Paleo-Indian period 10,500 years ago through the historic period represented by Native American groups, such as the Chisos and Comanche. More Spanish, Mexican and Irish settlers farmed and mined in the area. Throughout the prehistoric period, humans found shelter and maintained open campsites throughout the park; the archeological record reveals an Archaic-period desert culture, whose inhabitants developed a nomadic hunting and gathering lifestyle that remained unchanged for several thousand years. The historic cultural landscape centers upon various subsistence or commercial land uses; the riparian and tributary environments were used for irrigation farming. Transportation networks, irrigation structures, simple domestic residen