Pecos County , the second largest county in the
state, is in southwest Texas, bordered on the east
by Terrell County, on the south by Brewster
County, on the west by Jeff Davis and Reeves
counties, and on the north by Ward, Crane, and
Crockett counties. The center of the county lies
at 30°40' north latitude and 102°40' west
longitude. Fort Stockton, the county seat, is
seventyfive air miles southwest of Odessa. The
area is named for the Pecos River, which flows
along the northern boundary of the county. Pecos
County covers 4,776 square miles and lies
primarily in the TransPecos physiographic region,
which begins at the Pecos River. In the south and
east the county has undulating to hilly terrain
surfaced by dark and loamy soils over limestone;
this part of the county is 90 percent exposed
rock. The northern and western parts of the county
have alkaline and loamy desert soils, with some
clayey subsoils, over limestone bedrock.
Elevations range from 2,500 to 4,000 feet above
sea level, with the highest elevations found in
the Glass Mountains, in the southwestern part of
the county. The eastern and central portions of
the county, on the edge of the Edwards Plateau,
are marked by mesas of varying sizes with
intervening arroyos. Hills become more rounded and
valleys more pronounced further west. Most of the
northern part of the county slopes toward the
Pecos River, while terrain in the western sections
is generally undulating. The Pecos River is the
only major source of surface water in the county.
It flows continuously, while other streams in the
county flow only after infrequent torrential
rains. Springs were at one time an important water
source for the area, but because of heavy pumping
of ground water, most major springs no longer
flow. The average annual rainfall is thirteen
inches. Temperatures range from an average low of
31° F in January to an average high of 96° F in
July; the average growing season lasts 225 days.
Pecos County land has short and sparse grasses
with desert scrubs and cacti. In the southeast,
slightly taller grasses, desert shrub, and scrubby
live oaks are present. Deer, foxes, ring-tailed
cats, sandhill cranes, doves, and ducks are some
of the animals that roam the area. The
agricultural sector of the county's economy
revolves primarily around sheep ranching; cattle,
angora goats, and hogs are also raised in the
area. Though less than 1 percent of the county is
considered prime farmland, crops grown in Pecos
County include cantaloupes, carrots, bell peppers,
onions, peaches, and pecans. Since the 1920s,
however, oil and gas production have dominated the
local economy. In 1990 26,650,000 barrels of crude
oil were produced in the county; by January 1,
1991, almost 1,505,424,000 barrels of crude had
been produced in the area since 1926.
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