Oklahoma is a land of flat, fertile plains and low hills. Oil and natural
gas wells can be seen thoughout much of the state. Oklahoma's plains also host
large herds of cattle and vast wheat fields. The geographical landscape of
Oklahoma is comprised of 10 separate land regions.
The Ozark Plateau, in the northeastern part of the state, is an extension of the
Missiouri and Arkansas landscape. It's marked by rivers with steep valley walls
separated by broad flat areas.
West and south of the Ozark Plateau lies the region known as the Prairie Plains.
This area produces most of the state's coal and a great deal of oil. Cattle graze
on the Prairie Plains and farms in the Arkansas River Valley, east of Muskogee,
produce spinach, beans, and carrots.
On the border of Arkansas, in the southeastern part of Oklahoma, are the
Ouachita Mountains. These sandstone ridges, running east to west, form the roughest land in Oklahoma.
Spring-fed streams run through narrow valleys between the ridges.
In the north central part of Oklahoma, extending south from the Kansas border to
the Red River, is the Sandstone Hills Region. The Sandstone Hills are from 250
to 400 feet high. Some are covered with Blackjack and Post Oak forests. It was
in this region that early oil development commenced in Oklahoma.
The Arbuckle Mountains comprise an area of about 1,000 square miles in south-central
Oklahoma. The low mountains rise about 600 to 700 feet above the plains. Unusual
rock formations have been created by erosion in the mountains. The area is
used for cattle grazing.
The Wichita Mountains are found in southwestern Oklahoma.
The Red River Valley Region, in southern Oklahoma along the Texas border,
is characterized by rolling prairie. Some forested hills can also be found in the
area. The soil is sandy and fertile. Cotton, peanuts, and vegetables are grown
in this region.
To the west of the Sand Hills, are the Red Beds Plains. The largest land region
in Oklahoma, the Red Beds Plains stretch from the Kansas border in the north, south
through the center of the state. The Red Beds Plains slope upward from east to west.
In the east are some forested areas. In the west the region is covered with grass.
The Gypsum Hills lie west of the Red Beds Plains and extend north to the High Plains
in the northwestern part of Oklahoma. The Gypsum Hills are low (150 to 200 feet)
hills capped with 15 to 20 foot layers of gypsum. The Gypsum Hills sparkle in the
sunlight because of their gypsum content and, because of this, are sometimes called
the Glass Hills.
The High Plains, in northwestern Oklahoma, are level grasslands. The High Plains
rise from about 2,000 feet above sea level in the east to 4,973 feet above sea level
at Black Mesa in the west. This region includes the Oklahoma Panhandle, the strip
of land 166 miles long and only 34 miles wide between Colorado and Kansas in the
north and Texas in the south.
( Oklahoma Close-up )