Denton County covers 911 square miles in north central Texas. Its center point is at 33°12' north latitude and 97°13' west longitude. It borders Dallas and Tarrant counties on the south and Cooke and Grayson counties on the north; it is one county south of Oklahoma. The western half of the county is surfaced by the black soil of the Grand Prairie. An eastern sliver is on the western edge of the Blackland Prairie, where the rich black soil contrasts sharply with the sandy land of the Eastern Cross Timbers jutting down from Oklahoma through the central part of the county. Denton County ranges in elevation from 500 to 900 feet, has an annual average rainfall of about thirty-three inches, and a temperature average ranging from a minimum of 34° F in January to a maximum of 96° in July. With an average growing season of 226 days, it is a good area for general crop and livestock production. The Elm Fork of the Trinity River flows through the east central part of the county. It was dammed in the 1920s to form Lake Dallas, which has since been joined with Garza–Little Elm Reservoir to form Lewisville Lake, a moderately large reservoir. The western part of the county is cut by several major creeks. Clear Creek drains into the Elm Fork and Hickory Creek into Lewisville Lake. Denton Creek and its tributaries, in the southern part of the county, are sources of water for Grapevine Lake, which is partly in Denton County and partly in Tarrant County. In the Cross Timbers and the floodplains of the creeks black jack and post oak, pecan, white ash, sycamore, cottonwood, hackberry, elm, and willow trees predominate. Most of the rest of the county was originally covered by grasses. Some native pasture remained in the 1980s, but the bulk of county land not in cultivation was improved pasture, planted mainly with coastal Bermuda grass. The Trinity Sands underlie the area at about 700 to 1,200 feet, but in some parts of the county residents are able to reach artesian water at depths as shallow as 100 feet. Though Denton County is not abundant in natural resources, it has produced a modest but significant amount of oil (5,696,311 barrels by the end of 2004), mostly from the Bolivar field between the 1930s and the 1960s. Other natural resources are natural gas, sand and gravel, and some building stone—the stone courthouse on the square in Denton was built in 1896 from stone quarried a few miles north.
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