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Caprock Escarpment, Garza County, Texas
|States||New Mexico, Texas|
|- elevation||1,647 m (5,404 ft)|
The Caprock Escarpment marking the edge of the Llano Estacado is clearly visible in this shaded relief map.
|Website: Handbook of Texas: Caprock|
Caprock Escarpment is a term used in Texas and Eastern New Mexico to describe the geographical transition point between the level high plains of the Llano Estacado and the surrounding rolling terrain. In Texas, the escarpment stretches around 200 mi (320 km) south-southwest from the northeast corner of the Texas Panhandle near the Oklahoma border. The escarpment is especially notable, from north to south, in Briscoe, Floyd, Motley, Crosby, Dickens, Garza and Borden counties. In New Mexico, there is a prominent escarpment along the northernmost extension of the Llano Estacado, especially to the south of San Jon and Tucumcari, both in Quay County, New Mexico. Along the western edge of the Llano Estacado, the portion of the escarpment that stretches from Caprock to Maljamar, New Mexico is called the Mescalero Escarpment or Mescalero Ridge.
The escarpment is made of Caliche — a layer of calcium carbonate that resists erosion. In some places, the escarpment rises around 1,000 ft (300 m) above the plains to the east. The escarpment's features formed by erosion from rivers and streams, creating arroyos and highly diverse terrain, including the large Palo Duro Canyon southeast of Amarillo, Texas. One will notice the change in elevation of several hundred feet while crossing the Caprock Escarpment on Interstate 40 between Adrian, Texas and San Jon, New Mexico.
Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway is located near Quitaque and opened in 1982. A 65 mi (105 km) trail was developed within the park in 1992. Along the trail is Clarity Tunnel, home to a large colony of Free-tailed Bats.
- Carroll, H.B. "Caprock". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
- Price, A.P. 1977. Mescalero Sandhills of Cochran and Yoakum Counties, Texas. Master's thesis, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 253 pp.
- Henderson, D. 2006. An Introduction to the Mescalero Sands Ecosystem. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University, 42 pp.
- Caprock from the Handbook of Texas Online
- Photos of the Llano Estacado, West Texas, and Eastern New Mexico