The main river is the Mississippi (the name coming from an Indian language, means „Father of waters“)
The Mississippi receives the waters of almost 250 tributaries. The most important is the Missouri, that joins the Mississippi at St. Louis. Together they flow for about 6,000 km, from source to the Gulf of Mexico.
The Mississippi has always been an important transportation route throughout the history of the USA and still today riverboats can sail from New Orleans up to Minneapolis.
The Great Lakes and Niagara Falls
Along the Canadian border there are the five Great Lakes: Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario: it is estimated that they contain half of the world ’s fresh water: the Great Lakes are connected to each other by rivers and canals which form a large navigable system.
Between lake Eire and Lake Ontario there are the famous Niagara Falls (over a kilometre wide), formed by the Niagara River which falls with a sudden 50 metre jump into Lake Ontario.
The Niagara Falls are on the border between Ontario in Canada and New York State.
The Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains extend from Montana down to Arizona and New Mexico
They are called the “Backbone of the Continent”.
They are high mountains with a lot of forests, waterfalls and lakes.
Tourism, especially in the Grand Canyon (Arizona) is the most important industry of the area.
The Death Valley
Death Valley, in South East California, is the lowest, driest and hottest place in the USA. It’s nearly 100 metres below sea level.
It has less than 5 cm of rain per year and its record temperature is 57°C.
In the desert there are a lot of unusual plants and animals. As it is often windy, nowadays the area produces windpower.
National Parks in USA
- The Everglades National Park is one of the main tourist attraction in Florida. It is a large, wide area of green subtropical vegetation. The Everglades National Park is famous for its plants and animals, such as alligators and manatees, unusual marine animals.
Yellowstone National Park is the biggest national park in the USA, was created in 1872 and it covers a large area in Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. In the park there are mountains, forests, rivers, hot springs and geysers.
Yellowstone is one of the few areas in the world where the Grizzly bear lives.
The Grand Canyon National Park is situated in Arizona and it is a spectacular valley formed b y the Colorado River millions of years ago.
It is about 350 km long and from 6 to 30 km wide. It is about 1,700 metres deep in some places.
The area became a national park in 1919. In it there are about 200 species of birds, 60 species of mammals and a variety of reptiles.
It has been a location for many films.
Yosemite National Park is not far from San Francisco, in northen California.
It has high granite cliffs and a wonderful canyon formed by the Mercedes River.
Yosemite is full of forests where you can find examples of tall redwood trees.
Complete your glossary:
How is the Weather like in….? ALASKA
The United States is affected by a large variety of natural disasters:
deadly and destructive hurricanes occur almost every year along the Atlantic seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico. [
Hurricanes can also strike Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean. Particularly at risk are the central and southern Texas coasts, the area from southeastern Louisiana east to the Florida Panhandle, the east coast of Florida, and the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with a peak from mid-August through early October. Some of the more devastating hurricanes: Galveston Hurricane of 1900, Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
TORNADOES - The great Plains and Midwest, because of the contrasting air masses, have frequent severe thunderstorms and tornado outbreaks during spring and summer. - In central portions of the U.S., tornadoes are more common than anywhere else on Earth and touch down most commonly in the spring and summer. - The strip of land from north Texas north to Nebraska and east into Southern Michigan is known as Tornado Alley, where many houses have tornado shelters and many towns have tornado sirens.