Called the Ozark Plateau, also Ozarks, the Ozark Mountains or Ozarks Mountain Country, is a physio- geographically, geologically and culturally uniform highland region in the central United States. It occupies the southern half of Missouri and a large part of the north-western and central northern part of Arkansas, and also extends into northeastern Oklahoma and the extreme southeast of Kansas.

Although it is sometimes referred to as Ozarkgebirge, the area is a high-lying and deeply dissected plateau. From a geological point of view it is a broad bulge around the Saint Francois Mountains. The Ozark Plateau covers an area of nearly 122,000 km ² and is by far the largest mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, it forms the so-called U.S. Interior Highlands, and is often mentioned in the same breath as the Ouachita Mountains. How about the ecoregion includes the Ozark Mountain Forests and the south of the Boston Mountains lying Ouachitas and the valley of the Arkansas River, although both are not normally considered part of the Ozarks.

  • 3.1 Natural Resources
  • 3.2 livestock
  • 3.3 Food Industry
  • 3.4 Forest Management
  • 3.5 mill economy
  • 3.6 Tourism
  • 3.7 Transport Industry

Origin of the name

The origin of the name is the subject of speculation.

" Ozarks " is probably originated from the English pronunciation of the French abbreviation " aux Arks " for " aux Arkansas " ( " Arkansas "). This phrase originally refers to the trading post at Arkansas Post, located in wooded lowlands of the Arkansas Delta, above the confluence of the White River into the Mississippi River. " Arkansas " was apparently the French version of the name of the Quapaw, the tribe of the Illiniwek of the area used, which further upstream of the Mississippi lived in the area of the trading post.

Another possible derivation is " aux arcs " ( " the bends " ), a reference to the frequently occurring in the territory of the Ozarks, shaped by erosion natural bridges and collapsed caves. Two examples of such phenomena are Clifty Hollow Natural Bridge, a whole series of arches in Missouri, and Alum Cove in the Ozark -St. Francis National Forest.

Another theory is the origin of the term " aux arcs " as an abbreviation of " aux arcs -en- ciel " ' (French for "Rainbow "), which are a common sight in the mountainous regions.

From the described " aux Arks " emerged in the decades before the French and Indian War, the word " Ozarks " and finally evolved into a designation for the entire plateau, which drains into the Arkansas and Missouri River. So after the Louisiana Purchase, the higher regions of American travelers were using the word " Ozark " is, eg " Ozark Mountains " and " Ozark Forests". In the 20th century, finally, the term " Ozarks " had found its way into the general vocabulary.


The Ozark Plateau is composed of four main geographical regions physio, these are the Springfield Plateau, the Salem Plateau, Saint Francois Mountains and the Boston Mountains. The topography is mostly gently undulating, with the exception of the Boston Mountains, the escarpment between Springfield and Salem Plateaus and in the harsh terrain of the Saint Francois Mountains.

In the limestones of the Springfield Plateau and especially in the dolomitic rocks of the Salem Plateau and Boston Mountains karst phenomena such as karst springs, sinkholes, sink holes and caves are common. Big Spring in the Ozarks of Missouri is one of the largest sources in the U.S., she pours 1 million cubic meters of water per day into the Current River. Missouri is also known under the name " Cave State " with its famous 6,000 caves, it is second only to Tennessee. Most of these caves in Missouri are located in the Ozarks.

The aquifer of the Ozark Plateau is a large, contiguous ground water reservoir in Ordovician to Devonian limestones, dolomites and sandstones, which are widely used outside the igneous rocks of the Saint Francois Mountains. Especially in Missouri form limestones and dolomites for the Ozark Plateau unique, rocky glades, the wear especially on slopes on thin topsoil grasses and forbs plants in an otherwise densely forested area.

The Boston Mountains are the highest part of the Ozark Plateau, its peaks reach heights of just over 780 m, the valleys are 150 to 450 m deep. Turner Ward Knob in western Newton County ( Arkansas) is 751 m, the highest named peak. A little higher are five nearby nameless heights reaching 780 meters or almost exceed.

The chain of the Saint Francois Mountains rises in the east, over the Ozark Plateau, it is the geological heart of the bulged Highlands. Your igneous and volcanic rocks are the remains of a Precambrian to Cambrian Mountains. The ablated core of these mountains loomed in the Paleozoic as an island from the sea, so that there are remains of coral reefs in the sedimentary layers. In these Riffbauten gathered later by metal- leading solutions rich lead-zinc ores, which have long been and still exploited today. The igneous and volcanic rocks are widespread in depth under a thin blanket of Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and form the bedrock of the whole region.

The waters of the Ozarks

The creation of the lakes by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which began in 1911 with the damming of the White River to Lake Taneycomo, reasoned with their tourist boat tours and fishing a significant economic factor along the border of Missouri and Arkansas. A total of six reservoirs were set up by the construction of dams in the White River 1911-1960. Lake Sequoyah of 1961, a small fishing and recreational lake east of Fayetteville ( Arkansas), is the top of the reservoirs of the White River. Downstream of Lake Sequoyah and northeast of Fayetteville is the built in 1960 Beaver Lake. The White River continues its directed to the northeast run continued in the Table Rock Lake ( 1958) in Missouri, which drains directly into the already built in 1913 Lake Taneycomo. From there, the White River bends to the southeast from Arkansas, where it forms the border of Arkansas and Missouri in 1952 established the Bull Shoals Lake. This is the most downstream dam in the actual course of the River White River. The 1941 pent Lake Norfork is not in the White River itself, but sums up the waters of the North Fork River, a tributary of the White River.

In the north of the Ozarks are the reservoirs Lake of the Ozarks, Pomme de Terre Lake and Truman Lake, which originated in 1931, 1961 and 1979 by the damming of the Osage River and its tributary the Pomme de Terre River. Grand Lake in Northeast Oklahoma in 1940 dammed. In 1969, a dam in the valley of the Sac River was constructed near Stockton ( Missouri), which led to the formation of Stockton Lake, which contributes through a pipeline to supply water from Springfield ( Missouri). Most of the dams were not built only for flood control, but also to generate electricity.

The installation of the lakes changed the landscape of the Ozarks and had gone through the necessary resettlement significant impact on the traditional culture of the Ozarks. Prior to the construction of dams, there were the settlements, farms and mills in the river valleys and along the waters, so to use it for drinking water and hydropower. Many farm roads, river fords and even railways were lost when the water came and the rural transport and trading interrupted. Impressions of the original landscape in the valleys of the White River and Osage offer today Buffalo River, Elk River, Current River and Eleven Point River.

The Buffalo River in 1972 reported by the Congress of the United States as the first of the " National River " of the U.S., it is managed by the National Park Service. In Missouri, the Ozark National Scenic Riverways was created along the Current River and the Jacks Fork River in 1964. Although he is not a " National River", as he is the first national park in the United States, which has a river system basis. The Eleven Point River is part of the National Wild and Scenic Riverways System. These river parks guide together each year about 1.5 million visitors in the least populated areas of Arkansas and Missouri.

In Missouri, Gasconade River, Big Piney and Niangua River have run their course in the central north of the Meramec River and its tributaries Huzzah Creek and Courtois Creek are located in the northeast of the Ozark Plateau. Black River and St. Francis River mark the eastern arch of the Ozarks. In the southern Zentralmissouri are James River, Spring River and North Fork River; the Spring River and its tributary Center Creek form the central western border of the Ozarks from Missouri through Kansas to Oklahoma. Grand Falls, Missouri 's largest natural waterfall plunges over a level of silica schists, forming cliffs and rock faces on Shoal Creek south of Joplin. All these river systems are taken by seasonal intensive recreational use to complete, this also applies to the Elk River in Southwest Oklahoma and its tributary Big Sugar Creek.

The streams and rivers of the Ozarks are typically clear waters that flow past through the woods on limestone cliffs, the river flow is secured by inflows in the river or stream bed and many sources. Gravel bars are common on shallow banks, while deep holes occur on rocky shores in the river bed. Apart from periods of heavy rains and during the snow melt is its difficulty for canoeists and rafters not too high.

Due to the abundance of springs and waterways fish farms are common. The National Fischzuchtanstalt of Neosho was built in 1888, it was the first state-owned fish farm. The Missouri Department of Conservation operates numerous warm and cold water hatcheries and trout parks and private enterprises such as the Rock Bridge (Missouri ) are also not rare.


Mineral resources

The Ozark Plateau has mineable mineral resources, namely, lead, zinc, barite and iron ores. Many of the occurrences of these minerals have been mined in the past. However, many stocks are still available and are degraded in the so-called " lead belt" in south-central Missouri. In the course of the economic history of the Saint Francois Mountains region and in the border triangle of Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma the lead-zinc ores have played an important role as metal suppliers. Reduction techniques of the early 20th century left significant here subsidence and heavy metal contaminants in soil and groundwater. In the Ozarks of Oklahoma and in the eastern half of the Boston Mountains in Arkansas oil is sought and encouraged.

Cattle breeding

Cattle for meat production and the production of milk products is widespread in the region. The marketing of milk products is organized cooperative in the normal case where the individual dairy farmers sell their products to a central dealer, they packed under a common product names and markets.

Food industry

Poultry farming and food processing are also important economic activities in the region. Examples of large poultry farms and companies for food processing are Tyson Foods and ConAgra Foods, which operate numerous facilities in the Ozarks. Schreiber Foods, the largest cheese producer in the world, privately owned, operated throughout South Missouri. Stillwell Foods produces frozen vegetables and other foods in eastern Oklahoma. Commercial agriculture and Lebensmittelvearbeitung lead to an increase of chemical and biological contaminants in the waters of Ozarl Plateau and threaten the water supply and the native animal and plant species.

Forest management

The Ozark Plateau is forested for the most part, especially with oak and hickory. Both soft and hardwoods are grown by private and public forest owners, and form long been a mainstay of the economy. It is also widely Virginian juniper, while commonly found in the southern pine species. Less than a quarter of the area was cleared for pastures and farmland. The early and mid- 20th century intensively exploited forest areas have recovered today. However, deforestation has contributed to the fact that has increased the embankment of gravel bars in the aquatic environment as a result of erosion in cultivated areas of the forest industry, the same river beds were wider and flatter, and habitats of fish of the deeper water were lost.

During the time of the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps employed hundreds of workers in the construction of nearly 400 fire towers throughout the Ozarks. 121 of these observatories are known in Arkansas and 257 in Missouri, about half of it still exists today, and many of them are used by the United States Forest Service.

Mill industry

The numerous rivers and streams of the region offered locations for hundreds of saw and grist mills. Mills were centers of culture and commerce. Widely scattered within the region they served the supply of local needs and thrived in many cases even if the next mill was located only a few kilometers away. Only a few mills of the Ozarks relied on simple water wheels of low efficiency, most possessed a millpond with flume and a water-driven turbine.


Today, tourism is the most important growth industry in the Ozarks, as evidenced among other things, on the development of the entertainment center of Branson ( Missouri).

Transport industry

The transportation industry is important for the regional economy. Several national operating trucking companies are based in the region, including JB Hunt and Prime, Inc.. Springfield is a central hub for BNSF Railway. Timber transport and timber industry are also important for the economy of the Ozarks, from small family-owned sawmills to large commercial concerns. Some of the companies in the Fortune 500 such as Wal -Mart and Leggett & Platt were founded and are now represented on site.

The culture of the Ozarks

The term Ozark refers not only to the landscape but also on their population with a particular culture, architecture and a dialect that is spoken by the people who live on the plateau. The traditional culture of the Ozarks is a mixture that is similar to those in Appalachia ( region of the Appalachian Mountains and north of them ) and the Upland South ( region west of the Appalachians ) prevails and the Midwestern similar. Early settlers in Missouri were American, followed in the 1840s and 1850s by Irish and German immigrants. A large part of the population of the Ozarks is German, and Scotch- Irish descent, often mixed with Indian ancestors, and many of the local families since the 19th century have been living on the Ozark Plateau.

Religion on the Ozark Plateau was predominantly Baptist and Methodist as in the Appalachians during the early days of colonization, while it is now socially conservative or kongrationalistisch, with the Assemblies of God, Southern Baptists and other Protestant Pentecostal movements are represented. In the 1970s, communities settled in the rural areas, and some sects represented only in the Ozarks occur here. Roman Catholic Christians are rare outside the cities, it is mainly to German Catholics and inhabitants of the territories, which were mainly settled by French immigrants, such as Washington County ( Missouri).

Settlements in rural areas are more likely formed as a single farmsteads, rather than grouped in villages. The early settlers improved their income by hunting, fishing, trapping and other types of foraging. Today hunting and fishing frequent leisure activities and an important part of the tourism industry. Mushrooming is common, especially the belly of morels and mushrooms, and collecting herbs for traditional medicine - here about St. John's Wort and American Ginseng - is financially supported by large customers in the region. Other cargoes are Pokeweed, watercress, apple honey, numerous wild berries raspberries Wild Strawberry such as blackberries, mulberries, wild cherry and as well as many kinds of nuts, such as black walnut, hickory, and acorns. Edible legumes, wild grasses and wildflowers are diverse, and beekeeping is common.

In the culture of the Ozarks is widely used in books, magazines and on radio and television noted. Where the Red Fern Grows and Shepherd of the Hills are books set in the Ozarks. Ozark Jubilee, the first national broadcast on Country Music, was born in 1955 in Springfield and was aired during the 1960 ABC under different names. Exhibitions on traditional way of life on the Ozark Plateau are the two family theme parks in Silver Dollar City and the now disused Dogpatch USA, to the amusement comes in Branson.

The traditional culture of the Ozarks includes stories and melodies that have been passed down orally in collaborative music festivals and other informal events from generation to generation. Square Dance was an important social event until the 20th century. Such dances originated wherever people gathered around sawmills and logging camps, as well as in geographically isolated communities where their own dance tunes and variations developed. Of all the traditional musicians in the Ozarks, it was mainly the fiddler, who occupied a special place in the community and in folklore. Citizens honored Fiedler, because they played local tunes while traveling Fielder new tunes and fresh entertainment brought, even though many citizens saw their arrival as a threat to public morality.

The folklorist Vance Randolph collected the oral literature of the Ozarks. From him the national bestseller Pissing originates in the Snow and Other Ozark Folktales ( University of Illinois Press, 1976 ) and Ozark Folksongs ( University of Missouri Press, 1980 ), a four-volume anthology of regional songs and ballads. The anecdotes of the oral tradition of the Ozarks are mostly quite rough and full of wild embellishments of everyday topics. The University of Arkansas Press and Gershon Legman published in 1992 two volumes formerly unpublizierbarer folklore from Randolph's collection under the title Roll Me in Your Arms and Blow the Candle Out.

The Ozarks were the scene of the award-winning independent film Winter's Bone by Debra Granik from the year 2010, based on the literary work of American author Daniel Woodrell.