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Geology

The SLL is located in the Cimarron Gypsum Hills, which is topographically dominated by rolling hills and plains.  It is a karst area of escarpments that have developed on interbedded Permian gypsums and shales.  Permian Redbed deposits of red sandstones and siltstones are locally common.  Caverns have resulted from ground water flow dissolving away the gypsum.  The topography and geology of the area contribute to a unique ecosystem.  For example, the Cimarron Gypsum Hills are unique from a herpetological aspect in that certain western species are more or less restricted to these hills in Oklahoma (Lardie 1978; Lardie and Black 1981).

Vegetation

The SLL is located in the Mixed-grass Plains region of Oklahoma.  Approximately 230 plant species (including gypsophilous forms) have been identified on the site (Buckallew and Caddell, 2003).  Both sod and bunchgrass forms occur.  Common grasses include little bluestem, sand bluestem, silver bluestem, Indian grass, switch grass, grama grasses, and buffalo grass.  Sandy areas support sand sage, sand plum, and sumacs.  Trees include hackberries, elms, cottonwood, chittamwood, and willow.  Prickly pear and small cacti, various mosses, ferns, and liverworts, as well as a large variety of flowering annuals and perennials occur.  Wetland plants include cattails, rushes, sedges, water cress and various algae.

Climate

The SLL exists in a semiarid region with a mean annual temperature of 14.4C and a mean annual precipitation of 60.5 cm

Location

The SLL is located about 16 km SW of Freedom (pop. 264) in rural northwestern Oklahoma and approximately 50 km from the larger towns of Woodward and Alva. The nearest cross-streets are N2110 Rd and E0210 Rd in Freedom, OK 73842. Climatically, this region is characterized by an average annual temperature of 15°C (50°F) and an annual rainfall of 69 cm (27.2 in). 

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