Balcones EscarpmentA Geocultural Borderland
Dr. Charles (Chock)
M. Woodruff, Jr.
Consulting Geologist, Austin, Texas
The Balcones Escarpment is the discontinuous topographic expression
of displacement across the Balcones Fault Zone. Besides its separating
the limestone uplands to the west from chalk and claystone prairies to
the east, dramatic changes also are seen for soils and vegetation and
animal habitats; weather and climate; surface water regimes, and groundwater
reservoirs. In short, this break marks the beginning of the American West
in an ecologic context, but the sum of natural changes have had (and continue
to impose) profound impacts on human institutions.