USA: Geography                                                              



Area Comparative: About 1/2 the size of Russia, about 3/10 the size of Africa, about 1/2 the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil), slightly larger than China, more than twice the size of the E.U.Area: 9,826,675 sq km

Terrain: Vast central plain, mountains in west, hills and low mountains in east, rugged mountains and broad river valleys in Alaska, rugged and volcanic topography in Hawaii.

Natural Resources: Coal, copper, lead, molybdenum, phosphates, uranium, bauxite, gold, iron, mercury, nickel, potash, silver, tungsten, zinc, petroleum, natural gas, and timber.

Natural Hazards: Tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquake activity around Pacific Basin, hurricanes along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts, tornadoes in the Midwest and southeast, mud slides in California, forest fires in the west, flooding, permafrost in northern Alaska (a major obstacle to development).

Environmental Issues: Air pollution, which results in acid rain in both the US and Canada, poses a large problem. The US is the largest single emitter of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels. Water pollution from runoff of pesticides and fertilizers is an issue. There is a limited amount of natural fresh water resources in much of the western part of the country.

Other Geography Facts:

  • The U.S.A. consists of 50 states and the District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.).
  • The 48 contiguous or continental states (meaning all states except Hawaii and Alaska) can be divided geographically into seven major regions:
    • New England
    • Mid-Atlantic States 
    • The South
    • The Midwest
    • Mountain States
    • The Southwest
    • The Pacific States
  • The 49th and largest state, Alaska, is one-fifth as large as all the contiguous states combined.
  • The 50th state, Hawaii, is a group of islands located in the mid-Pacific Ocean. Each island has its own name. 
  • Besides the 50 states, the U.S. has possession of islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, but these are not considered states.
  • The United States has a very diverse landscape. There are forests, deserts, mountains, plateaus, plains, and costal shores.  Each of the seven major regions of the contiguous states has similar landscapes, a common history, and share major industries.
  • Visitors may notice that people living in a certain area may speak with a distinctive regional accent.

USA: Climate                                                                  


Explore the world's climate zones here! Search for the USA and discover where each zone listed is located within the country.

  • The climate of the U.S. varies just like the landscape. 
  • The climate is mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid (mostly dry) in the great plains west of the Mississippi River, and arid (dry) in the Great Basin of the southwest.
  • Low winter temperatures in the northwest are ameliorated occasionally in January and February by warm winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
  • The temperatures in the southern states are generally warmer than the northern states. 
  • Alaska has the coldest temperatures and a place called Death.


Look at the 3 photos above. Can you guess which label below goes with which photo?                       

1. Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

2. Saruaro National Park, Arizona

3. Anini Beach, Kauai, Hawaii