You can understand Arkansas, its people and its settlements, by studying the landscape and geography. About 400 million years ago, Arkansas was under the ocean during the Paleozoic Era. Rock, known as limestone, was created when the creatures living in the water died and accumulated on the bottom of the oceans.Limestone is found in northern Arkansas. In western Arkansas, sandstone and shale were laid down, also remnants of the Paleozoic Era. Also during this era, the plateaus of the Ozark Mountains were formed, as well as the long ridges of the Ouachita Mountains.
At the time dinosaurs roamed the earth during the Mesozoic Era, eastern and south Arkansas were under the waters of what would be the Gulf of Mexico. This was 130 million years ago. The Gulf of Mexico withdrew from Arkansas about 50 million years ago during the Cenozoic Era and left behind sand and gravel that is common in south Arkansas today.
Today, the geography of Arkansas can be divided into the uplands and the lowlands. The uplands have mountains and are rocky while the lowlands are hilly in some places and low, flat and wet in other places. The soil is sandy and there are many rivers. Each supports many different plants and animals, farming, scenery and recreational opportunities.
From the uplands to the lowlands, Arkansas can be subdivided into six natural divisions, each with its own unique geographical features.
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