3Great PlainsGreat Plains is an extensive grassland region in North America.Extends form Northern Canada to Texas between the Rocky Mountains and the Mississippi River.It is a very fertile region and is called the “Bread Basket” of America because a lot of wheat is grown there.
4Great BasinThe Great Basin is a lowland desert region in the western U.S. between the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada.An area of land that is a depression (lower than the land around it) is called a basin.Death Valley is in the Great Basin and is the lowest basin at 282 ft below sea level.
5Cape CodJuts out into the Atlantic like a giant fishhook near Boston, MA.Pilgrims landed on the shores of Cape Cod at Plymouth, MA, establishing one of the first European settlements.
6Gulf Coastal PlainStarts in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula and moves along Texas and around the Gulf of Mexico to Florida.The shoreline on the Gulf Coastal Plain is low, sandy, marshy and has many swampy areas called bayous. These areas are prone to flooding and dangerous especially when hurricanes like Katrina come through.
7Atlantic Coastal Plain The Atlantic Coastal Plain extends from Canada down the eastern U.S. coastline to Florida.Made up of low flatlands which are prone to flooding, and sometimes makes good farmland.
9Central Valley of California The Central Valley is between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Coastal Ranges and extends 450 miles.It has very fertile lands and contains the largest concentration of fruit farms and vineyards in the US.
10Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mtns. run from the St. Lawrence River to the Gulf Coastal Plain.Mount Mitchell is the tallest mountain in the Appalachians.The Appalachians are a very old mountain chain and used to be the tallest in the world (millions of years ago), but they have erroded over long periods of time.They formed a natural border to west during early colonization of American.
11Rocky MountainsLocated in the western U.S. and extend more that 3,000 miles from central New Mexico to NW Alaska.The jagged peaks indicated they are young in geological times.The Rockies form the continental divide which means it separates the Rivers that drain into the Atlantic and Arctic from those that drain into the Pacific.
12Sierra Nevada Mountains The Sierra Nevada mountains extend from Bakersfield, CA to Lassen State Park in eastern CA.The mountains are known for their spectacular scenery including Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.
13Mount McKinleyLocated in Alaska in the Alaska Range in south central Alaska.It is the highest peak in North America at over 20,000ft.
14Mount WhitneyMount Whitney is the highest mountain in CA and the second highest peak in North America.It is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range.
15Cascade RangeThe Cascade Range stretches from Canada to Northern California. There are volcanic cones in this area, including Mount St. Helen which erupted in 1980.Mount Rainier is its highest peak.
16Coast RangeThe Coast Range runs along the Pacific coast of North America from Alaska to California.There are rocky coasts with sheer cliffs often shown in movies with high speed car chases (because it is very dangerous curvy roads bordered by cliffs).
17Brooks RangeThe Brooks Range is in northern Alaska and you can see the Arctic ocean from this range.There is oil in the mountains and a pipeline was finished in 1977 that brings oil to southern Alaska.
18Mauna Loa Mauna Loa is Hawaii’s most active volcano. Volcanoes like Mauna Lao formed the Hawaiian Islands as the flow of lava cooled and hardened into the rock which built slowly into islands.The island of Hawaii grows each year because of lava flow.
20Pacific Ocean Borders the US to the west Named by Ferdinand Magellan Pacific means tranquilThe part he saw was very peaceful, but the Pacific is known for rough waters.The Pacific is the largest ocean in the world.
21Atlantic Ocean Borders the United States to the east Second largest ocean in the worldMany underwater mountain ranges
22Gulf of MexicoLarge body of water west of Florida, it is actually an extension of the Atlantic OceanOil has been found under the GulfIt is bordered by Florida, Alabama,Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas
23Great LakesGroup of five freshwater lakes between the United States and Canada.They make up the largest body of fresh water in the worldMade up of Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior.Great Lakes Region was rich in furs.
24Great Salt Lake Shallow body of salt water in NW Utah Largest body of salt water in the USThere are few or no outlets from the lake so salt has built up over time. The area is rich in salt deposits and has been mined for many years.
25Chesapeake Bay This bay is a 200 mile inlet to to the Atlantic Ocean Its calm waters provide many ocean vessels with protection from rough waters and has been a popular area for settlement since the first European arrivedBig urban areas have formed here including Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond.
26San Francisco BayThe bay is 50 miles long and is an important entrance to the Pacific Ocean.It is a major seaport on the west coast of USSome of the largest ship in the world come and go from San Francisco Bay.
27Hudson RiverStarts in the Adirondack Mountains and flows through NY City.The Erie canal was built in to connect the river to Lake Erie.The Hudson was an important natural water route for the trade of furs.New York City grew to be one of the largest cities in the world because of its easy trade accessibility.
28Mississippi RiverIt is 2,350 miles long and starts in Minnesota, flows down through the central US to Mississippi.It empties into the Gulf of Mexico.It is the major shipping route and has been very important to trade for a long time.It was part of the Louisiana purchase.
29Ohio RiverStarts in Western Pennsylvania and flows generally westward where it joins with the Mississippi River in Illinois.Serves as a natural boundary between several states, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
30Missouri RiverForms a natural border between Iowa and Nebraska and Kansas.Flows in a curvy (meandering) path through the Great Plains.Called the “Big Muddy” for its heavy load of silt.Meets with the Mississippi in St. Louis.Much of the Louis and Clark expedition was traveling the Missouri River.
31Colorado RiverMajor river that flows through the Grand Canyon and is responsible for carving out this and many other canyons.Starts in the Rockies and flows SW through Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California before entering Mexico and empting into the Gulf of California.
32Rio GrandFlows south from Colorado through New Mexico then turns southeast and forms the border between Texas and Mexico.In some places it is very narrow.
33St. Lawrence RiverOne of the most important rivers of North America, it flows NE from Lake Ontario and forms part of the border between Canada and the US before turning north to Quebec and then finally into the Atlantic ocean.It has been important to trade and is now a large source of hydroelectric power to the region.Thousand Islands
34Columbia RiverFlows from British Columbia, Canada through Washington and Oregon.It forms part of the Washington and Oregon border before emptying into the Pacific Ocean near Portland, Oregon.Lewis and Clark found the Columbian River on their great expedition.