The United States lies in the central part of the North American continent with the Atlantic Ocean to the East, the Pacific to the West, Canada to the North, and Mexico and the Gulf of Mexico to the South.
The country faces the Atlantic Ocean with the deep fiords and rocky promontories of New England; the low sandy strands of New Jersey and Virginia, cut deep into by Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. Nearly parallel with the coast the Appalachian Mountains run from Alabama northeastward into Maine.
Beyond the Appalachian Range opens the Central Valley, drained by the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. The region of five Great Lakes is in the north-eastern part of the country. The lakes are: Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. The heart of the United States is a vast plain, broken by the Superior Upland and Black Hills in the north and the Ozark Plateau in the south, which extends from central Canada southwards to Mexico and from the Appalachian Mountains westwards to the Cordillera. These interior plains, which rise gradually like a saucer to higher land on all sides, are divided into two major parts: the wetter, eastern portion is called the Central Plains and the western portion the Great Plains, both of which have good soil. To the west of the Great Plains is the Cordillera, which accounts for one-third of the United States. This region can be subdivided into various other regions. On its eastern border the Rocky Mountains, a chain of mountains stretching from mountainous Alaska down to Mexico, rise sharply from the Great Plains. These mountains contain many important metals such as lead, uranium and gold. The Western edge of the Cordillera is characterized by a coastal chain of high mountains, among which there are broad fertile valleys. The most important ranges are the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades in the eastern part and the Coastal Ranges along the western coast.
Northeast USA is drained by rivers such
as the Genesee, that flow into the St. Lawrence or Great Lakes. The east coast rivers such as the Susquehanna, Hudson, Delaware, Potomac, Roanoake and Savannah flow into the Atlantic Ocean. The central plains are drained by the great Red-Missouri-Mississippi River System as well as the Trinity, Saline, Alabama and Flint Rivers which flow into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Mississippi is one of the world’s great continental rivers. The waters of the Mississippi are gathered from two-thirds of the United States. Together with the Missouri River (its chief western branch), the Mississippi flows some 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) from its northern sources in the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi has been called the “father of waters”. The Ohio and Tennessee are the Mississippi’s principal eastern tributaries. The two great rivers of the Pacific side are the Colorado and the Columbia. The Rio Grande is the foremost river of the Southwest. The Yukon is the largest river in Alaska.
ACROSS THE USA
Stretching 4500 kilometers from east to west and 2500 kilometers south, the main land mass of the United States offers almost every variety of climate and physical feature. Including the states of Alaska and Hawaii, the country covers an area of more than nine million square kilometers, Hawaii lying in the Pacific 3,200 kilometers from the mainland, and Alaska 3,170 kilometers (by the Alaskan Highway through Canada) to the northwest.
The U. S. is too large and varied a country to sum up in a short explanation.