The United States of America is a very large country. Because of its vastness, the geography is quite diverse and genuinely unique in so many ways. The following are 11 amazing facts about the geography of the United States. Let’s read.
11 amazing facts about the geography of the United States
The United States controls a massive area of approximately 9.8 million square kilometers (~3.8 million square miles). This makes US the third biggest country in the world after Russia and Canada. In terms of population also, the United States ranks 3rd, after India and China. The population in the US is estimated at 335 million (2022).
The United States is sparsely populated
There are many big population centers in the US. However, overall because of the large area, the population density is just around 35 people per square kilometer. The United States is one of the least densely populated large country in the world.
Mountain ranges of the United States
The United States is blessed with some of the most beautiful mountain ranges. In the eastern part of the country there are Appalachian Mountains; in the western part, there are the Rockies, the Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada; and in Alaska there are a bunch of different mountain ranges.
The highest mountain peak in the country is Denali (Mount McKinley). Denali has an elevation of 20,194 ft (6,155 m). The highest mountain in the contiguous US is Mount Whitney (14,498 ft/4,419 m).
The Grand Canyon located in the state of Arizona is truly ‘Grand’. It is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and has a depth of over a mile. The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited places in America. The area around the Canyon is established as a National Park which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Top 2 longest rivers in the United States
Missouri and Mississippi are the two longest rivers in the US. The Missouri River has a length of 2,341 miles (3,767 km) and the Mississippi River has a length of 2,340 miles (3,766 km).
The Missouri River starts near the city of Three Forks, Montana when the Madison, Gallatin, and Jefferson rivers meet. Missouri joins the Mississippi River near St. Louis. The Mississippi River originates from Lake Itasca in Minnesota and drains into the Gulf of Mexico in Louisiana.
Almost every type of climate zone exists in the United States from tropical to tundra. The country is truly special. Not many countries have this diversity.
America has a great diversity of wildlife. More than 400 species of mammals, more than 800 species of birds, and several hundred species of reptiles, amphibians, and fish are found in the US. Some of the well known wildlife species of America are – Grizzly bear, American bison, Moose, Bald eagle, American alligator, Coyote, etc.
(Also read: What states have grizzly bears in the US?)
There are 63 National Parks spread across the length and breadth of the United States. These National Parks are a great place for vacationing, hiking, sightseeing, and for animal lovers. Each park has its own unique geography e.g., Great Smoky Mountains National Park sits in the lap of majestic Great Smoky Mountains. Death Valley National Park houses one of the harshest ecosystems in the entire world.
Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem
The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of the largest ‘almost completely preserved’ ecosystems in North America. At maximum extent, the ecosystem is 34,400 square miles in area covering parts of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. The famous Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park are part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.
Large lakes of the United States
Lake Superior is the largest lake in the United States. It is also the largest of the five great lakes of North America. Lake Superior has an area of 31,700 square miles. The US-Canada border passes through Lake Superior. The lake does not lie entirely within US borders.
Lake Michigan is the largest lake entirely within the borders of the US. Lake Michigan has an area of 22,400 square miles.
States and territories
The large area of the United States is divided into 50 states and a federal district, Washington, D.C. In addition there are many overseas territories of the US.
(Also read: USA and China – country comparison | USA vs China)
US geography basic facts
|Area||9.8 million square kilometers (~3.8 million square miles)|
|Population||335 million (2022).|
|Highest mountain||Denali (20,194 ft/6,155 m)|
|Longest River||Missouri (2,341 miles/3,767 km)|
|National Mammal||American bison|
|National bird||Bald eagle|
|National tree||The Oak|
|Number of states||50 state and a federal district, Washington, D.C.|
|Capital City||Washington, D.C.|
|Largest City||New York City|