WEST TEXAS

We at Seisma Energy Research, AVV (formerly Seisma Oil Research, LLC) thought you might be interested in learning a little bit about West Texas.

West Texas is a region in Texas that has more in common geographically with the Southwestern United States than it does with the rest of the state. This part of Texas is in the Northern Chihuahuan Desert and the high mountain areas have a climate of cold nights and warm afternoons in winter; hot days and cool nights in the summer.

Population

West Texas has a much lower population density than the rest of the state. It was once mostly inhabited by nomadic Native American tribes such as the Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa until after the Civil War. It does not have as many ties to other parts of the Southern United States as does East Texas, although many of the people who currently populate West Texas are also migrants from other parts of Texas and other Southern states or their descendants. There is a very large Hispanic population, especially near the Rio Grande. Many Mexicans fled Ojinaga and walked to Stonewall during the Mexican revolution in the early days of the 20th century. Many Mexican-Americans still have close family ties in Mexico.

Climate

West Texas receives much less rainfall than the rest of Texas and has an arid or semi-arid climate, requiring most of its scant agriculture to be heavily dependent on irrigation. This irrigation, and water taken out farther North for the needs of El Paso and Juarez, Mexico, has reduced both the Pecos River and the once mighty Rio Grande to a stream in some places, even dry at times. Much of West Texas has rugged terrain including many small mountain ranges while there are none in other parts of the state. West Texas contains part of the Chihuahuan Desert and also the Southern Great Plains, known as the Llano Estacado.

Politics

The area is known for its conservative politics — some of the most heavily Republican counties in the United States are located in the region, where former President George W. Bush spent his early youth. Republican candidates often win in this region by well over 70 percent of the vote. Glasscock County, for instance, gave over 90 percent of the vote to the Republican candidate in both 2004 and 2008.

This region was one of the first areas of Texas to abandon its Democratic roots; some counties (such as Midland) haven’t supported a Democrat for president since 1948. However, Democrats continued to win most local races well into the 1990s.

In contrast, El Paso is heavily Democratic, and in the 2008 Presidential election, El Paso, Culberson, Reeves, Presidio, and Brewster-counties-all with large Hispanic populations– were won by Democrat Barack Obama.

Industry

Major industries include livestock, petroleum and natural gas production, textiles such as cotton, grain farming and because of its proximity to the Mexican border, the maquiladora industry. West Texas has become notable for its numerous wind turbines producing clean, alternative electricity.

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