Natural Resources of Texas

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Natural Resources of Texas

When one thinks of natural resources, probably the first things that come to mind are fossil fuels. If you bring the state of Texas into the equation, you think of the big oil wells. Texas tea, black gold, swamp juice, whatever you want to call it, oil is a big part of people's perception of Texan natural resources. But there are a lot more natural resources in Texas than you might think. The natural soils make for good farming and ranching conditions, we've got great rock deposits for a variety of industrial uses, and we have a number of different mineral deposits scattered through the state. It's time we took a look at some of the many natural resources Texas has to offer.

First up, of course, has to be the big one. Out of 254 counties in the state, 232 produce some quantity of oil. How did the petroleum industry get started in Texas? People actually knew about petroleum deposits in Texas long before they could figure out a good use for the stuff. Indians knew of seeps in the ground where petroleum oozed up long before Europeans found their way to the Americas. Those Europeans didn't know what to do with it either at first. Hernando de Soto's crew used the stuff to caulk their boats to make them watertight. The first Texas oil well was drilled in Nacogdoches County in 1866, and other small wells followed. The first major oil well in Texas was drilled in Corsicana in 1894, and the BIG one, Spindletop, blew out in grand style on January 10, 1901. But the demand for the oil took a while to catch up to production. After Spindletop, the country started seriously moving towards a petroleum-based economy.

Petroleum has played a major part in shaping the economic, geographic, and social ...

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...y comes from the Balcones Escarpment. Larger crushed rock from this area is used as a base layer for roads and buildings, to protect them from the shifting soils. Very pure limestone is procesed into lime, wich is then used in a wide variety of agricultural, industrial, and construction activities. Other rocks crushed for building materials include basalt, used for railroad track beds, and marble, used for fancy terrazzo floors.

Texas is also a major producerof sand, gravel, and our infamous clay.

Gypsum, an evaporite that accumulated when shallow inland seas got cut off from the oceans and evaporated out, is found in large quantities in Central and North Central parts of the state. Calcined gypsum, which has been heated in a kiln, is made into sheetrock and pllaster. Regular gypsum is used in Portland cement and as a fuel additive, amoung other things.

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