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Arkansas Valley Hills

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About the Arkansas Valley Hills

The Arkansas Valley Hills are a region in the northeast of the Arkansas Valley; they are located entirely within Arkansas, contrasting with the broader region that stretches into eastern Oklahoma.

This region consists of hills, valleys, and ridges, with a few scattered low mountains. Elevations range from 250-1,000 feet with local relief ranging from 50-600ft. This region is mostly underlain by sandstone and shale, with some lime-rich sandstone, sandy limestone, finer-grained sandstone, and siltstone in the easternmost portions. The climate is humid and continental, with rainfall averaging 43-51 inches annually, increasing to the east and at higher elevations. Precipitation is seasonal, with a bimodal pattern peaking in May and November and dry seasons in summer and winter.

This region was mostly originally covered in oak-hickory and oak-hickory-pine forest. Dominant trees here included blackjack oak, post oak, northern red oak, southern red oak, white oak, various hickories, and shortleaf pine.

Current land use is a mix of pastureland, poultry and livestock farming, and forests, some of which are logged. Ridgetops and more rugged areas are almost entirely forested and generally not logged. There are numerous small towns, but the area is almost entirely rural. The Greers Ferry Lake, a large artificial reservoir and the fourth-largest lake in Arkansas, is located in the northeast of this region. Nowadays, forests have a similar composition to the original vegetation, but with more loblolly pine than originally occurred here.

Along most of its length, this region is bordered to the southwest by the flatter Arkansas Valley Plains. In the east, however, it borders the higher-elevation, more rugged Scattered High Ridges and Mountains to the south. There is one area in the west where it directly borders a small stretch of the Arkansas River Floodplain. To the north, this region borders the more rugged, extensively forested Lower Boston Mountains, except in the very east where there is a small border with the Springfield Plateau. At the far east end, this region opens up onto the Mississippi Alluvial Plain to the southeast. In the south, it borders the Grand Prairie, and the rest of it borders the Western Lowlands Holocene Meander Belts, except in one spot where it borders the Western Lowlands Pleistocene Valley Trains.

References

1. Woods A.J., Foti, T.L., Chapman, S.S., Omernik, J.M., Wise, J.A., Murray, E.O., Prior, W.L., Pagan, J.B., Jr., Comstock, J.A., and Radford, M. "Ecoregions of Arkansas (Poster)", U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA (2004) Web.