The territory of the United States consists (since 1959) of 3 non-contiguous parts: 1) the main (within the boundaries before 1959) – an area of 7830 thousand km2, located between 24 ° 30 – 49 ° 23 north latitude and 66 ° 57 – 124 ° 45 west longitude. The length from east to west is 4662 km, from south to north 4583 km. It borders on Canada in the north and Mexico in the south, in the west it is washed by the Pacific Ocean, in the east by the Atlantic Ocean, in the southeast by the Gulf of Mexico; 2) Alaska (since 1959) – an area of 1.53 million km2, occupying the northwestern part of the North American continent; 3) Hawaiian Islands (24 islands in the Pacific Ocean with a total area of 16.8 thousand km2).
According to BRIDGAT, the main part of the territory is located in the subtropical and partly in the temperate zone. Alaska – in the subarctic and arctic zones. California, Hawaii and the southern parts of Florida and the Mexican Highlands are in the tropical zone. OK. 1/2 of the main part of the territory is plains and low mountains, incl. Appalachian, Rocky, Laurentian Uplands, Central Plains, Great Plains; in the west, the ranges, plateaus and plateaus of the Cordillera mountain system predominate, including the Columbian Plateau, the Great Basin Plateau, the Colorado Plateau, the Cascade Mountains, and the Sierra Nevada Range. On the coast of the Pacific Ocean – the Coast Ranges. In Alaska, mountains occupy almost the entire territory. Hawaii is a group of volcanic islands. A characteristic feature of the rest of the territory is the presence of lowlands and valleys, including the Atlantic and Mexican lowlands, Willamette, California and Lower California valleys. The highest point is Mount McKinley (6194 m above sea level), the lowest point is the depression of the Valley of Death (86 m below sea level).
Water bodies are unevenly distributed. In the east of the country, the following rivers (km) flow: Hudson (492), Delaware (627), Susquehanna (719), Potomac (616), St. Lawrence (3057), Savannah (502), which are navigable almost all the way. In the west – rivers (km): Arkansas (2347), Colorado (2333), Sacramento (606), Snake (1670), Columbia (2000). In the center and in the south – the rivers (km): Ohio (2100), Missouri (4086), Tennessee (1425), Red River (2075), Illinois (675) and Mississippi (3765). The southern border of the United States with Mexico runs along the Rio Grande (3605 km). The main river of Alaska is Yukon (3185 km). In the northeast is the Great Lakes system – Superior (82,414 km2), Michigan (58,016 km2), Huron (59,596 km2), Erie (25,719 km2) and Ontario (19,477 km2) – with a total area of approx. 250 thousand km2. The Great Salt Lake (3500 km2) is located in Utah.
The soil cover of the United States is characterized by a wide variety depending on the nature and topography of the terrain, as well as remoteness from the oceans. Soils of almost all existing types are developed within the country. The area of arable land is 19.32% of the total territory. The area of irrigated land is 214 thousand km2 (1998).
For more than 200 years of US history, a significant part of the forests, which originally covered almost 1/2 of the country’s territory, as well as vast prairies, has turned into cities, farms and pastures. Vegetation in its original form is preserved only in mountainous regions. In the north-east of the country there are coniferous-broad-leaved forests (pine, spruce, fir, maple, linden, ash); broad-leaved forests (oak, maple, sumac, tulip tree, plane tree) predominate in the south of the Appalachians; to the south, magnolias, laurels, cacti and other hard-leaved evergreens and succulents are common. In the Cordillera there are predominantly coniferous forests, above 2100-3000 m there are subalpine and alpine meadows. The deserts and semi-deserts of the Great Basin are characterized by wormwood, quinoa and other types of shrub and semi-shrub vegetation. On the Atlantic lowland near the coast of the Gulf of Mexico there are subtropical forests, in the south of Florida – tropical vegetation (palms, ficuses, melon tree). On the coast of the Pacific Ocean, forests of pseudo-hemlock, Sitka spruce, and arborvitae are common; in California – sequoias. In Alaska, there is predominantly coniferous light forest of the northern taiga type and tundra vegetation. In Hawaii, in the coastal lowlands and on low mountain slopes, there are plantations of sugar cane, pineapples, bananas and other tropical crops. The total area of forests is 940 million km2 (including 770 million km2 that are in federal ownership). In Alaska, there is predominantly coniferous light forest of the northern taiga type and tundra vegetation. In Hawaii, in the coastal lowlands and on low mountain slopes, there are plantations of sugar cane, pineapples, bananas and other tropical crops. The total area of forests is 940 million km2 (including 770 million km2 that are in federal ownership). In Alaska, there is predominantly coniferous light forest of the northern taiga type and tundra vegetation. In Hawaii, in the coastal lowlands and on low mountain slopes, there are plantations of sugar cane, pineapples, bananas and other tropical crops. The total area of forests is 940 million km2 (including 770 million km2 that are in federal ownership).
The zone of mixed forests is characterized by brown bear, lynx, wolverine, marten. In the forests of the Appalachian Mountains – Virginian deer, red lynx. In the southeast of the country – alligators, caiman turtles, peccaries, possums; birds – flamingos, pelicans, hummingbirds. Bison are bred in the reserves; steppe animals are found in wildlife: pronghorn antelopes, mazama deer, coyotes, prairie foxes, rattlesnakes, as well as numerous local varieties of ferrets, badgers, ground squirrels. On the slopes of the Cordillera inhabited by bighorn goat, bighorn sheep. In the south – jaguars, armadillos. In Alaska – grizzly bears, reindeer, numerous animals of the tundra and taiga. In the area of the Aleutian Islands, traditional species of valuable marine mammals are common – the sea otter (sea beaver), the fur seal. The wildlife of the Hawaiian Islands is exceptionally diverse, where many species of rare birds and insects are found. In the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean, various types of fish of commercial importance are found, incl. cod, herring; In the Pacific Ocean – salmon, halibut, tuna, crab, shrimp, oysters, etc.
There are more than 100 types of minerals in the United States, including iron, copper, lead, molybdenum, bauxite, phosphates, gold, silver, mercury, nickel, tungsten, zinc. OK. 90% of the total output of the extractive industry falls on oil (explored reserves – 22 billion barrels), natural gas (explored reserves – over 5 trillion m3), coal and uranium, incl. 72% – for oil and gas. More than 50% of domestic demand for mineral resources (such as chromium, manganese, mica, strontium) is met through imports. Raw commodities mined in the country are practically not exported.
Typical for the main part of the country is a temperate type of climate, for the Pacific coast – subtropical maritime, for the coast of the Atlantic Ocean – continental-marine, continental climate prevails on the internal plains, and sharply continental climate on the internal plateaus and plateaus of the Cordillera. In the northern part of Alaska – arctic climate, in the south – subarctic maritime. The Hawaiian Islands have a tropical maritime climate.
Federal property is St. 255 million hectares (27.7% of the entire territory of the country) (1999). The category of federal protected areas includes national parks and memorial parks, state parks, wildlife sanctuaries, recreational areas, numbering several thousand objects in total. The Wildlife Protection Act, passed in 1964, prohibits the construction of roads and structures, commercial activities, automobile and bicycle traffic in the protected area. The area of protected areas of wild nature reaches 42 million hectares. Under the protection of the National Park Service 54 national parks, 47 national monuments, 3 national reserves, as well as other historical and recreational areas with a total area of 22.3 million hectares (55 million acres). More than 400 national reserves for the protection of fauna (25 million hectares), more than 4,000 reserves and state parks (5.2 million hectares), 155 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which make up 8.5% of the US territory. The largest national parks: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Sequoia, Grand Canyon, Everglades, Glacier, Rocky Mountains, McKinley, Grand Teton, Mammoth and Carlsbad caves.
Natural disasters: tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes in the Pacific coast; hurricanes along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico; tornadoes in the states of the Midwest and the southeast; wildfires in the western states; landed in the state of California; permafrost in Alaska.