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Regions of the United States Chapter Seven

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1 Regions of the United States Chapter Seven
The West Section Four

2 Available Water The abundance or scarcity of water is the major factor in shaping the West’s natural vegetation, economic activity, and population density. The southwest receives less than 8 inches of precipitation annually, whereas the northwest receives over 39 inches. The southwest has sparse natural vegetation, but the northwest has vast expansions of forests. Hawaii has a wet tropical climate and dense tropical rainforests. Alaska is covered by short grasses and mosses that grow only in the summer. Tundra- a dry, treeless plain.

3 Natural Resources and the Economy
The West supports four major economic activities: Mineral excavation: Beneath the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada are huge deposits of gold, silver, uranium, copper and tin. Oil: Discovered in Alaska in the 1960’s. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline carries crude oil across the tundra south to Alaska’s Prince William Sound. Forestry: Nearly half the nation’s construction lumber is harvested from the forests of the Pacific Northwest. Commercial Fishing: Billions of tons of fish are caught of the waters of Alaska, Hawaii, and other Pacific Coast states.

4 The Growth of Western Cities
The completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869 spurred the growth of western towns and cities. Los Angeles is the nation’s second largest city. It began as cattle town. By the 1920’s the city was developing a military and civilian aircraft industry and a motion picture industry. To support the growing population, Los Angeles had to obtain huge amounts of water. Aqueducts- large pipes that carry water over long distances. The California Aqueduct brings water from the Sacramento Valley to Los Angeles, a distance of over 685 miles.

5 Alaska Alaska is the largest state, but it is one of the least populated. Fewer than 630,000 people live in an area three times larger than all of the Northeast. Alaska has very few roads across the state. The state capitol, Juneau, can only be reached by boat or plane. Anchorage, which has a population of 250,000 has only two roads leading out of town.

6 Hawaii The state of Hawaii is made up of eight main islands and more than 100 smaller islands. It is located more than 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland. The U.S. annexed it in 1898 and it became the 50th state in 1959. Today Hawaii is a major tourist destination for Americans and Asians.

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