Wichita Falls Texas - N. Texas dry hot city

Wichita Falls Texas – N. Texas dry hot city

The Choctaw Native Americans settled the area in the early 18th century. White settlers arrived in the 1860s to form cattle ranches. The city was officially titled Wichita Falls on September 27, 1872. On that day, a sale of town lots was held at what is now the corner of Seventh and Ohio streets—the birthplace of the city. The Fort Worth and Denver Railway arrived in 1882, the same year the city became the county seat of Wichita County. The city grew westwards from the train depot. This area is now referred to as the Depot Square Historic District, which has been declared a Texas Historic Landmark.

A flood in 1886 destroyed the original falls on the Wichita River for which the city was named. After nearly 100 years of visitors wanting to visit the non-existent falls, the city built an artificial waterfall beside the river in Lucy Park. The recreated falls are 54 feet high and recirculate at 3,500 gallons per minute.

Wichita Falls is located at 33°53′49″N 98°30′54″W. The city is about 15 miles south of the border with Oklahoma, 115 miles northwest of Fort Worth, and 140 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. The city has a total area of 70.71 square miles of which 70.69 square miles is land and 0.02 square miles (0.03%) is water.

In September 2011 Wichita Falls became the first Texas city to have 100 days of 100 °F in one year.

Sandstone channel in mudstone as exposed along Wiley Road, west of Wichita Falls. The buff colored rock preserves numerous fluvial sedimentary structures.

Sandstone channel in mudstone as exposed along Wiley Road, west of Wichita Falls. The buff colored rock preserves numerous fluvial sedimentary structures.

The exposed strata at the surface in and around Wichita Falls are the products of one ancient period of deposition with a modest amount of recent and modern alteration. In all cases, the strata are products of terrigenous (non-marine) environments dominated by fluvial depositional and erosional systems (rivers and streams).

The rocks found in and around Wichita Falls result from southwesterly-flowing Permian streams that deposited sands in channels and silts and clays on the surrounding floodplains. Calcium-carbonate rich soils concurrently developed adjacent to these streams. These were likely buried by further Permian sedimentation and then lithified. Pleistocene erosion removed the younger rocks, exposing the current strata. Exposures of sediments indicate that northeast-flowing streams locally deposited silts, clays, sands, and some gravels on the Permian rocks. These are subsequently modified by modern (Holocene) stream erosion and deposition.

In the Permian geologic period, North-Central Texas was a part of the western coastal zone of equatorial Pangea, a super-continental land mass. Nearby uplifts and mountainous regions, such as the Muenster

Arch and Red River Uplift, the Wichita, Arubckle, and Ouachita mountains developed by the end of the Pennsylvanian, providing elevated topography to the north and east during the Permian. The rocks of the Permian Basin of West Texas record a contemporaneous shallow inland sea. The resulting topography provided northeast-to-southwest gradients for stream flow and sediment movement. The sediments deposited by the Permian streams of North-Central Texas were likely reworked clastic materials from Middle Pennsylvanian stream and fan-delta sediments proximal to the Ouachita foldbelt and Muenster Highlands.

The Petrolia Formation (of the Late Wolfcampian-Leonardian systems) dominates the exposed Permian strata in Wichita falls, as mapped by the 1987 Texas Atlas of Geology. The map describes the formation as 360–400 feet of weakly or unstratified mudstone with laminated, cross-bedded sandstone lenses. The formation increases in mudstone content upsection. Sandstone lenses contain terrestrial fossils of plants, vertebrates, and footprints. The unit contains calcareous nodules of varying sizes as well as poorly indurated “conglomerate” with vertebrate fossils. In general the entire package is only weakly lithified, perhaps indicating that the region was not appreciably covered by a thick package of younger strata.

Several correlated sandstone units crop out in the immediate region. These dominate the region adjacent to the Seymour Highway, on the slopes to the south of the Wichita River (locally know as “the bluffs”). Most outcrops are buff colored medium-grained, well-sorted quartzose sandstones. These exhibit extensive cross-bedding and soft-sediment deformation features. Some deposits are friable, others well cemented. Locally, there appears to be three prominent layers of sandstone separated by mudstone. Because of variable erosion rates, each influences topography by forming ledges and benches, and in places may form mesa-like landforms. In and around the city, these occur roughly at 960, 1000, and 1060 feet above sea level.

Up to 30 feet of fluvial deposits of unconsolidated gravel, sand, and silt mapped as terrace deposition by the 1987 Texas Atlas of Geology. Gravels are granule-to-cobble size, with clasts of angular to well-rounded quartzite, quartz, and chert from distal sources and lesser fragments of local strata. The sands are orange-brown to tan, fine- to coarse-grained with preserved soils.

Structural Geology

The region is largely underlain with shallowly west-dipping strata, but a significant uplifted block is found in the subsurface immediately north of Wichita Falls. This block, locally known as the Red River uplift, may be part of an uplifted system that extends eastward, joining the Muenster Arch. The uplifts offset Pennsylvanian and older strata in the subsurface and are thought to be contemporaneous with the Ouachita and Ancestral Rocky Orogenies. These Pennsylvanian orogenies resulted from the closure of the Iapetus ocean as the Gondwana and Laurentia continents collided to form Pangea.

Petroleum resources were discovered in the region in the early 1900s, and the area remains a locus of exploration and production.

Location: 07-F4

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