Structural Control of Mesic Vegetation Communities within the Owl and Bear Creek Watersheds, Fort Hood Military Installation, Texas

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The Fort Hood Military Installation is a karst landscape, dominated by Lower Cretaceous carbonates of the Trinity and Fredericksburg groups. The study area is the northeastern peninsula known as the Owl Mountain Province, utilized by the U.S. Army for troop maneuvers and training. The geomorphic evolution of the province has been controlled by the structural development of incised canyons in the Owl and Bear creek watersheds, following the deformational trend of the Balcones/Ouachita fault system and the transverse Belton High-Central Texas Reef Trend. These trends control cave development in the subsurface, karst manifestations at the surface, joints in outcrop, stream orientation, and vegetation associations. Previous transect vegetation surveys identified nine discrete areas of Acer grandidentatum habitat confined to mesic slot canyons in the watersheds. Traditional vegetation modeling has relied heavily on slope and aspect as key elements controlling ecological associations and soil moisture; in karst landscapes, permeability and solutional widening of conduits formed by local and regional deformation events can influence the location and ecological stability of these vegetation communities. Orientation trends derived from geologic mapping and spatial analyses of this karst landscape support the hypothesis that regional deformation events have exerted structural control on the relict mesic vegetation population.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalFaculty Publications
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

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