Destination guide United States

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Geographical description

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THE CENTER OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS A VAST
INTERIOR LOWLAND SPREADING FROM CENTRAL CANADA TO THE GULF
OF MEXICO. TO EAST AND WEST THIS LOWLAND RISES GRADUALLY,
THEN ABRUPTLY, TO FORM MOUNTAIN RANGES THAT DIVIDE IT FROM
THE OCEAN ON EACH SIDE.

THE TWO MOUNTAIN RANGES ARE HOWEVER QUITE DIFFERENT. THE
EASTERN APPALACHIAN SYSTEM IS A LOW, UNBROKEN CHAIN OF
MOUNTAINS THAT ARE SEPARATED FROM THE ATLANTIC BY A LOW
COASTAL PLAIN THAT RUNS FROM NEW YORK CITY TO THE MEXICAN
BORDER.

THE GRAND CORDILLERA LIES WEST OF THE CENTRAL LOWLAND
PLAINS. IT MAKES UP A THIRD OF THE UNITED STATES WITH A
VARIETY OF MOUNTAIN CHAINS. ON ITS EASTERN EDGE ARE THE
HIGH ROCKY MOUNTAINS, A BROKEN CHAIN THAT STRETCHES FROM
NEW MEXICO TO THE CANADIAN BORDER. THE CORDILLERA'S
WESTERN EDGE IS A RUGGED COASTAL MOUNTAIN CHAIN RISING
DRAMATICALLY FROM THE PACIFIC WITHOUT A COASTAL PLAIN.

BETWEEN THE ROCKIES AND THE PACIFIC CHAINS LIES A VAST
INTERMONTANE AREA OF ARID BASINS, PLATEAUS, AND ISOLATED
RANGES THAT RUNS FROM MEXICO TO CANADA.

THE UNITED STATES HAS AN ENORMOUS NETWORK OF RIVERS AND
LAKES. AMONG THE MAJOR RIVERS IS THE MISSISSIPPI AND ITS
TRIBUTARIES, THE OHIO AND MISSOURI. THESE THREE RIVERS
DRAIN MOST OF THE MID-CONTINENT AND ARE ONE OF THE WORLD'S
GREAT INLAND WATERWAYS. THE GREAT LAKES - ST. LAWRENCE
SYSTEM CONSTITUTES THE LARGEST FRESHWATER LAKE GROUP IN
THE WORLD.

WEST OF THE ROCKIES ONLY THREE RIVER SYSTEMS MANAGE TO
REACH THE SEA - THE COLUMBIA, THE COLORADO AND THE SAN
JOAQUIN-SACREMENTO SYSTEM. THE COLORADO AND COLUMBIA HAVE
CARVED SPECTACULAR GORGES.

HAWAII: STRETCHING IN AN ARC, MORE THAN 4,000KM WEST OF
THE U.S. MAINLAND, THE STATE OF HAWAII INCLUDES EIGHT
PRINCIPAL ISLANDS. SIX - OAHU, MAUI, KAUAI, HAWAII, LANAII
AND MOLOKAI ARE OPEN TO VISITORS. ONE, NIIHAU IS PRIVATELY
OWNED AND KAHOOLAWE IS UNINHABITED.

THE LAND AREA OF HAWAII CONSISTS OF THE TOPS OF SUBMERGED
VOLCANIC MOUNTAINS THAT FORM THE MAJOR ISLANDS AND 124
SMALL ISLETS. THE TOTAL COMBINED AREA IS 16,641 SQ.KM. HIGH
MOUNTAINS COVERED WITH GREEN FOLIAGE DOMINATE EACH ISLAND.
WHITE SANDY BEACHES, ROCKY CLIFFS AND BAYS LINE THEIR SHORE
INLAND FINDS FIELDS OF SUGARCANE AND WATERFALLS ABOVE LUSH
TROPICAL VALLEYS.

VOLCANIC ACTIVITY IS FOUND ON THE LARGEST ISLAND, HAWAII
WHERE MAUNA KEA AND KILAUEA ERUPT FROM TIME TO TIME. THE
HIGHEST MOUNTAINS ARE MAUNA KEA, 4,205M AND MAUNA LOA,
4,169M ABOVE SEA LEVEL.

ALASKA: ALASKA IS A LAND OF CONTRASTS AND IS THE LARGEST OF
THE UNITED STATES WITH AN AREA OF 1,518,800 SQ.M. NEARLY A
THIRD OF THE STATE LIES WITHIN THE ARCTIC CIRCLE AND HAS
PERMANENT FROST AND TREELESS TUNDRA. ALASKA LIES AT THE
EXTREME NORTHWEST OF THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT AND IS THE
LARGEST PENINSULA IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE.

IN ARCTIC ALASKA, BARREN TUNDRA EXTENDS FROM THE ARCTIC
OCEAN TO THE BROOKS MOUNTAIN RANGE. INTERIOR ALASKA, LYING
BETWEEN THE ALASKA AND BROOKS RANGES, IS A LAND OF ENDLESS
TUNDRA-COVERED LOWLANDS & PLATEAUS AND TAIGA SPRUCE &
BIRCH FORESTS, FED BY A NUMBER OF LARGE RIVER SYSTEMS.

SOUTH-CENTRAL ALASKA EXTENDS FROM THE ALASKA RANGE TO THE
GULF OF ALASKA. OUTSTANDING FEATURES HERE INCLUDE A GLACIER-
DOTTED COASTLINE, VERDANT RIVER VALLEYS, ACTIVE VOLCANOS
AND DENSE FORESTS, ALL BACKED BY HIGH SNOWCAPPED MOUNTAINS.

THE SOUTHEAST IS A LAND OF FJORDS, FOREST, MOUNTAINS AND GLA-
CIERS. THE COAST MOUNTAINS RISE FROM THE SEA TO HEIGHTS OF
2,744M, SEPARATING THIS SECTION FROM CANADA ON THE EAST.
STRETCHING SOUTHEAST ALONG THE COAST IS AN AREA OF DRAMATIC
BEAUTY, WITH MOUNTAINS, WATERFALLS, EVERGREEN FORESTS, AND
BLUE-WATER GLACIERS. MOUNTAINS RISE ABRUPTLY ALONG EITHER
SIDE OF THE INSIDE PASSAGE WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST SCENIC
AND BEST-SHELTERED SEA ROUTES IN THE WORLD BETWEEN VANCOUVER,
BRITISH COLUMBIA, AND SKAGWAY, ALASKA.

IN REMOTE SOUTHWEST ALASKA, THE ALASKA PENINSULA AND THE
ALEUTIAN ISLANDS EXTEND 2,414 KM INTO THE PACIFIC TOWARD
ASIA.

POPULAR CITIES:
NEW YORK | MINNEAPOLIS | CHICAGO | NEW ORLEANS | PHILADELPHIA
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