Presidio County, Texas

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Presidio County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. In 2000, its population was 7,304. Its county seat is Marfa[1]. Presidio County (K-5 in Texas topological index of counties) is in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas and is named for the ancient border settlement of Presidio del Norte.

Contents

Geography

Presidio County is triangular in shape and is bounded on the east by Brewster County, on the north by Jeff Davis County, and on the south and west for 135 miles (217 km) by the Rio Grande and Mexico. Marfa, the county seat, is 190 miles (306 km) southeast of El Paso and 150 miles (241 km) southwest of Odessa. The center of the county lies at 30°30' north latitude and 104°15' west longitude. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,856 square miles (9,988 km²), of which 3,855 square miles (9,986 km²) is land and 1 square miles (2 km²) (0.02%) is water.

Geographically, Presidio County comprises 3,857 square miles (9,990 km2) of contrasting topography, geology, and vegetation. In the north and west clay and sandy loams cover the rolling plains known as the Marfa Plateau and the Highland Country, providing good ranges of grama grasses for the widely acclaimed Highland Herefords. In the central, far western, and southeastern areas of the county some of the highest mountain ranges in Texas are found. These peaks are formed of volcanic rock and covered with loose surface rubble. They support desert shrubs and cacti and dominate a landscape of rugged canyons and numerous springs. The spring-fed Capote Falls, with a drop of 175 feet (53 m) the highest in Texas, is located in western Presidio County. In the southern and western parts of the county the volcanic cliffs of the Candelaria Rimrock (also called the Sierra Vieja) rise perpendicular and run parallel to the river, separating the highland prairies from the desert floor hundreds of feet below them. The gravel pediment, which allows only the growth of desert shrubs and cacti, extends from the Rimrock to the flood plain of the river. Along the river irrigation allows the farming of vegetables, grains, and cottons. There are no permanent streams in the county, although many dry arroyos become raging torrents during heavy rainfalls. Major ones are Alamito Creek, Cibolo Creek, Capote Creek, and Pinto Canyon. San Esteban Dam was built across Alamito Creek and on the site of a historic spring-fed tinaja in 1911 as an irrigation and land promotion project. The prairies, mountains, desert, and river give Presidio County an unusual beauty. Altitudes in the county vary from 2,518 to 7,728 feet (767 to 2,355 m) above sea level. Temperatures, moderated by the mountains, vary from 33 °F in January to 100 °F in July. Average rainfall is only 12 inches (300 mm) per year, but it comes mainly in June, July, and August. The growing season extends for 238 days. Natural resources under production in 1982 were perlite, crushed rhyolite, sand, and gravel. Silver mining contributed greatly to the economy of the county from the 1880s to the 1940s. Presidio County has no oil or gas production.

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