The west Austin Hill Country, also known
as the Balcones Canyonlands, is composed of rugged
topography, with flat-topped hills separated by steep
canyons. The Austin Hill Country starts just west of the
occurred in Central Texas millions of years ago, when the
coastal plains to the east
bent downward while the more stable central Texas interior
of the Llano Uplift remained
relatively stable. The Balcones Escarpment and the west
Austin Hill Country are the result of this fault episode.
The east side of Austin moved downward
by as much as 700 feet. After millions of years of erosion,
the soft sediments in the
Hill Country area were eroded away, exposing the hard, Lower Cretaceous limestones
and dolostones. This erosion
created hills and steep canyons in the west Austin Hill
- Austin lidar VRML (see right sidebar) and flyover (see below)
Texas Hill Country Through Time
Local geological history (Texas A&M)
- Geologic time scale (PDF)
(Geological Society of America)
- Collins, E. W., and Laubach, S. E., 1990, Faults and
fractures in the Balcones Fault Zone, Austin Region, Central
Texas: Austin Geological Society Guidebook 13, 34 p.
- Trippet, A. R., and Garner, L. E., 1976, Guide to points
of geologic interest in Austin: The University of Texas
at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Guidebook 16, 38
View a flyover of Austin from the Coastal Plain, to the Balcones Fault Zone, and the West Austin Hill Country. Requires player (such as Windows Media Player or RealPlayer) for .wmv format movie.
Click the picture above to go to an interactive model of Austin to view
the Texas Coastal Plain, Balcones Fault Zone, and the West Austin Hill Country. You will need to have a VRML plug-in installed to view. Click here for a plug-in detector and download links. When the above link opens, right-click the image for further options. Not recommended for slow internet connections.
A map showing from east to west the Texas Coastal Plain, Balcones
Fault Zone, and the West Austin Hill Country.