This 55-mile wide image from November 1st, 2011 straddles the Hudspeth/Culberson County line just south of the Texas/New Mexico border. This area lies within the Trans-Pecos ecoregion. The Salt Basin runs through the center of the scene, covering most of northeastern Hudspeth County. The Basin was site of a lake until about 10,000 years ago. Summer rains form shallow playa lakes but basin remains dry most of the year. Gypsum evaporite deposited as the playa lakes dry out in the basin has yielded gypsum sand that accumulates in small dune fields located within the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.
The Guadalupe Mountains trend into the scene from the north, highlighted by green vegetation at higher altitudes. The mountains, conserved within Guadalupe Mountains National Park, expose the extent of the world’s largest fossilized Permian Reef. The Sierra Diablo Mountains trend into the scene from the south.
Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area (WMA) was established in 1945 as a sanctuary for the last remaining desert bighorn sheep in Texas. The WMA is currently used for the restoration, conservation, and management of bighorn sheep and is home to the largest free-ranging population in Texas.