If we want to understand the U.S., we need to learn geography.
In Geography, we talk about what a certain place is like and where it is.
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Geographers would like to know in what way the land affects the people, and in what way the people are affecting the land. Geography is helpful for understanding our past, our present, and our future.
In the United States, we can see quite a few different landforms in the United States. Near the Pacific Ocean, in the west, we find the Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. To the east of these mountain ranges, we find the Basin and Range region.
This area includes many high plateaus and mountains. Plateaus are high, steep-sided areas rising above the surrounding land. The rivers that were running over these plateaus have worn away lots of rock to create canyons like the ones at Bryce Canyon National Park.
Further to the east, we find the Rocky Mountains and to the east of the Rockies, we can find flat, wide plains that are sloping toward a large valley in the central portions of our country. In the center of this massive valley lies the mighty Mississippi River.
East of the Mississippi, we can see the Central Plains that are rising again to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The Appalachians mountain range runs all the way from Maine to Alabama. To the east of the Appalachians, we can see the Atlantic Coastal Plain where the land is meeting the Atlantic Ocean.
The United States includes many climates. A climate is that type of weather that places have measured over long periods of time. A climate includes, among other aspects, the place’s temperature and the amount of rain, snow, or sleet that falls over a long time. The southern portions of the U.S. are usually hotter than the northern portions. In general, the closer places are to the equator, the hotter they will be.
Landforms are affecting climate. Usually, lower-laying places are warmer than places that are high up in the mountains. Trees and plants are also affecting climate. The leaves are releasing water and produce shade. Places that have many plants or trees have cooler temperatures.