Twenty-First Annual report of the Director of the United States Geological Survey, 1899-1900: Part VII - Texas

Annual Report 21




Area treated.—The Black and Grand prairies of Texas and southern Indian Territory comprise about 50,000 square miles (see Pl. LXV, in pocket)—an area equal to that of fifty of the quadrangles mapped and described by the United States Geological Survey in its Geologic Atlas of the United States. The accompanying general geologic map (Pl. LXVI, in pocket) is a condensed presentation of the geology usually shown on that number of atlas sheets as published in folio form. Most of these quadrangles have been studied by the writer and his former assistants.

Sources of data.—An entirely satisfactory presentation of these results is still impossible by reason of the lack of adequate maps. The topographic maps of the United States Geological Survey, which cover 24 of the 50 units of area, were made in the earlier years of the Survey and with a contour interval insufficient for the expression of the geology. For the remaining portion of the area it was necessary to use as a base the Land Office maps of the State of Texas.

The conclusions herein presented, often condensed in a short paragraph, are founded upon a large amount of paleontologic, stratigraphic, and topographic data. The results, so far as they refer to the Black and Grand prairies, are the outcome of studies made by the writer since 1882, sometimes independently, sometimes with the assistance of the United States Geological Survey, and during two years in connection with the Texas Geological Survey. In times past he has been assisted in this work by his former students, C. C. McCulloch, now captain, U. S. A.; Messrs. Wilson T. Davidson and L. T. Dashiel; Mr. Joseph A. Taff, now of the United States Geological Survey; Dr. J. W. Stone, Mr. N. F. Drake, and Mr. G. H. Ragsdale. Inasmuch as the details which these gentlemem worked out were problems of the writer's suggestion, he has incorporated them into this paper, and here acknowledges indebtedness therefor. Upon the writer's retirement from the Texas Survey, Mr. Taff continued the work of mapping the region. He published two reports, which have been freely used and which have been of great assistance in the preparation of this paper. 

Importance of paleontology.—In addition to the collection of the data which appear in the text and illustrations, much paleontologic research has been necessary in order to classify the formations. Paleontology is the most reliable guide in determining the position of any bed in the geologic series with a view to ascertaining the depth, from any particular portion of the surface, of the underground waters in the Cretaceous regions of Texas. If a few species of fossils, such as can be found in any locality, be sent to one familiar with the sequence of the beds, he can predict within a few feet the depth below the surface of any particular water-bearing stratum in the series. It was a labor of years to disentangle the preexisting confusion concerning the occurrence and succession of these fossils and their bearings upon the determination and definition of the strata. Their further consideration has been left to Mr. T. W. Stanton, who, it is presumed, will make final publication of the descriptions and the scientific results.

This is not a final and complete report. Detailed field work is desirable in many localities. Chemical analyses of water and illustrations of typical scenery should be more complete, but these were not obtainable with the means and time at the writer's disposal. When appreciation of geologic investigation shall have been awakened in Texas and the region under discussion shall have been studied more closely by resident students, in the manner now common in other parts of the United States, the data here presented will be largely increased and refined, and the conclusions will doubtless be correspondingly amended and rectified.

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Twenty-First Annual report of the Director of the United States Geological Survey, 1899-1900: Part VII - Texas
Series title:
Annual Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Report: 666 p.; 7 Plates: 31.12 x 32.22 inches or smaller
United States
Other Geospatial:
Black and Grand Prairies