The Permian Basin is a sedimentary basin largely contained in the western part of the U.S. state of Texas and the southeastern part of the state of New Mexico. It reaches from just south of Lubbock, Texas, to just south of Midland and Odessa, extending westward into the southeastern part of the adjacent state of New Mexico. It is so named because it has one of the world's thickest deposits of rocks from the Permian geologic period. The greater Permian Basin comprises several component basins: of these, Midland Basin is the largest, Delaware Basin is the second largest, and Marfa Basin is the smallest. The Permian Basin extends beneath an area approximately 250 miles wide and 300 miles long.
The Permian Basin gives its name to a large oil and natural gas producing area, part of the Mid-Continent Oil Producing Area. Total production for that region up to the beginning of 1993 was over 14.9 billion barrels. The towns of Midland and Odessa serve as the headquarters for oil production activities in the basin.
The Permian Basin is also a major source of potassium salts (potash), which are mined from bedded deposits of sylvite and langbeinite in the Salado Formation of Permian age. Sylvite was discovered in drill cores in 1925, and production began in 1931. The mines are located in Lea and Eddy counties, New Mexico, and are operated by the room and pillar method. Halite (rock salt) is produced as a byproduct of potash mining.
Counties of the Permian Basin
Due to its economic significance, the Permian Basin has also given its name to the geographic region in which it lies. The counties of this region include:
- Andrews County, Texas pop. 14,057
- Borden County, Texas pop. 525
- Crane County, Texas pop. 4,165
- Dawson County, Texas pop. 13,657
- Ector County, Texas pop. 134,165
- Eddy County, New Mexico pop. 52,706
- Gaines County, Texas pop. 15,382
- Glasscock County, Texas pop. 1,406
- Howard County, Texas pop. 32,940
- Lea County, New Mexico pop. 60,232
- Loving County, Texas pop. 45
- Martin County, Texas pop. 4,581
- Midland County, Texas pop. 132,316
- Pecos County, Texas pop. 16,248
- Reeves County, Texas pop. 11,046
- Terrell County, Texas pop. 969
- Upton County, Texas pop. 3,130
- Ward County, Texas pop. 10,528
- Winkler County, Texas pop. 6,772
- Yoakum County, Texas pop. 7,698
As of the 2008/2009 census estimates the Permian Basin had a population of 522,568.
Other counties sometimes considered part of the Permian Basin are:
- Brewster County, Texas pop. 9,489
- Crockett County, Texas pop. 3,740
- Culberson County, Texas pop. 2,300
- Jeff Davis County, Texas pop. 2,258
- Mitchell County, Texas pop. 9,347
- Presidio County, Texas pop. 7,470
- Reagan County, Texas pop. 3,014
- Scurry County, Texas pop. 16,222
- Sterling County, Texas pop. 1,259
If one includes those counties the population of the Permian Basin comes to 577,667.
- List of geographical regions in Texas
- University of Texas of the Permian Basin
- Permian Basin Petroleum Museum
- ^ Permian Basin map at Department of Energy, National Energy Lab
- ^ B.R. Alto and R.S. Fulton (1965) "Salines" and "The potash industry" in Mineral and Water Resources of New Mexico, New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, Bulletin 87, p.299-309.
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