Permian Basin or West Texas Basin, extensive sedimentary basin, West Texas and SE New Mexico. Covering an area of more than 75,000 sq mi (194,000 sq km), its main components are the Midland Basin on the east, the Central Basin Platform, and the Delaware Basin on the west. It is the site of one of the thickest and most extensive layers of rocks formed by deposits laid down during the Permian period; those rocks are also the strata that contain the area's richest petroleum deposits. The basin has been a major oil- and gas-producing area of the United States since the mid-20th cent., and the use of new extraction techniques, including hydraulic fracturing (fracking), have revitalized production in the 21st cent., making it one of the world's most productive oil fields. Potash and salts are among the other important resources found in the basin.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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