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Gulf Coastal Plain

Gulf Coastal Plain

The Gulf Coastal Plain covers most of South Arkansas.  Its principal cities include Texarkana, Hope, El Dorado, Camden, Magnolia, Monticello, and Pine Bluff.  The most northern section stretches to Pulaski County in Central Arkansas, southwest to Sevier County and then south to the Louisiana line in Ashley County.  Millions of years ago the Gulf Coastal Plain was once the north shore of the Gulf of Mexico.  As the water receded, the region was covered in forest of virgin pine and hardwood.  These forests are gradually disappearing because of the rapid increase in tree harvesting.  As a result, ecosystems are being altered to make way for monocultures.  The lowland region has some hills, but most of the area is flat.  Rivers and lakes are found in the region.  The Ouachita River, one of the major rivers in this region, has moved back and forth to create many oxbow lakes that have developed into popular fishing sites.

One of the most important features of the Gulf Coastal Plain is the natural resources found here.  The Crater of Diamonds, America's only diamond mine, is located near Murfreesboro, AR.  This public park has produced many large diamonds as well as other gemstones.  In 1924, the largest diamond, called Uncle Sam, was found here and the rough weight was 40.23 karats.  Oil and gas deposits helped create the towns of  Smackover, Norphlet, and El Dorado.  Bromine, an element found in the Gulf Coastal Plain, is processed in the counties of Union and Columbia. It is used in flame retardant materials, pharmaceuticals, and many other industries.  Sand and gravel pits found throughout the region are used in construction.

The Gulf Coastal Plain has served an important part of Arkansas history.  Old Washington, one of the oldest towns in the state, was a main thoroughfare for travel to Texas.  The famous Bowie knife was invented here.  Davie Crockett and Sam Houston both visited Old Washington on their way to Texas to fight at the Alamo.  Old Washington also served as the confederate capital of Arkansas during the Civil War.


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