Physical Geography of North America

North America is a continent in the Earth’s northern hemisphere and almost fully in the western hemisphere. It is bordered on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southeast by the Caribbean Sea, and on the south and west by the North Pacific Ocean; South America lies to the southeast, connected to North America by the Isthmus of Panama. It is the third-largest continent in area, after Asia and Africa, and is fourth in population after Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Physical Geography of North America

North America is the third largest continent, and is also a portion of the second largest supercontinent if North and South America are combined into the Americas and Africa, Europe, and Asia are considered to be part of one supercontinent called Afro-Eurasia.

With an estimated population of 580 million and an area of 24,709,000 sq km, the northernmost of the two continents of the Western Hemisphere is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west; the Atlantic Ocean on the east; the Caribbean Sea, Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and South America on the south and the Arctic Ocean on the north.

Introduction

The northern half of North America is sparsely populated and covered mostly by Canada, except for the northeastern portion, which is occupied by Greenland, and the northwestern portion, which is occupied by Alaska, the largest state of the United States. The central and southern portions of the continent are occupied by the contiguous United States, Mexico, and numerous smaller states in Central America and in the Caribbean.

Natural features of North America include the northern portion of the American Cordillera, represented by the geologically new Rocky Mountains in the west; and the considerably older Appalachian Mountains to the east. The north hosts an abundance of glacial lakes formed during the last glacial period, including the Great Lakes. North America’s major continental divide is the Great Divide, which runs north and south down through Rocky Mountains. The major watersheds all drain to the east: The Mississippi/Missouri and Rio Grande into the Gulf of Mexico, and St. Lawrence into the Atlantic.

North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western Hemisphere, or simply the Americas. Mainland North America is shaped roughly like a triangle, with its base in the north and its apex in the south; associated with the continent is Greenland, the largest island in the world, and such offshore groups as the Arctic Archipelago, the West Indies, Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), and the Aleutian Islands.

North America is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the east by the North Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Caribbean Sea, and on the west by the North Pacific Ocean. To the northeast Greenland is separated from Iceland by the Denmark Strait, and to the northwest Alaska is separated from the Asian mainland by the much narrower Bering Strait. North America’s only land connection is to South America at the narrow Isthmus of Panama. Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska, rising 6,190 metres above sea level, is the continent’s highest point, and Death Valley in California, at Approx 86 metres below sea level, is its lowest. North America’s coastline of Approx 60,000 km—the second longest of the continents after Asia—is notable for the great number of indentations, particularly in the northern half.

The name America is derived from that of the Italian merchant and navigator Amerigo Vespucci, one of the earliest European explorers to visit the New World. Although at first the term America was applied only to the southern half of the continent, the designation soon was applied to the entire landmass. Those portions that widened out north of the Isthmus of Panama became known as North America, and those that broadened to the south became known as South America. According to some authorities, North America begins not at the Isthmus of Panama but at the narrows of Tehuantepec, with the intervening region called Central America. Under such a definition, part of Mexico must be included in Central America, although that country lies mainly in North America proper. To overcome this anomaly, the whole of Mexico, together with Central and South American countries, also may be grouped under the name Latin America, with the United States and Canada being referred to as Anglo-America. This cultural division is a very real one, yet Mexico and Central America (including the Caribbean) are bound to the rest of North America by strong ties of physical geography. Greenland also is culturally divided from, but physically close to, North America. Some geographers characterize the area roughly from the southern border of the United States to the northern border of Colombia as Middle America, which differs from Central America because it includes Mexico. Some definitions of Middle America also include the West Indies.

North America contains some of the oldest rocks on Earth. Its geologic structure is built around a stable platform of Precambrian rock called the Canadian (Laurentian) Shield. To the southeast of the shield rose the ancient Appalachian Mountains; and to the west rose the younger and considerably taller Cordilleras, which occupy nearly one-third of the continent’s land area. In between these two mountain belts are the generally flat regions of the Great Plains in the west and the Central Lowlands in the east.

Canadian Shield_Physical Geography of North America

North America’s first inhabitants are believed to have been ancient Asiatic peoples who migrated from Siberia to North America sometime during the last glacial advance, known as the Wisconsin Glacial Stage, the most recent major division of the Pleistocene Epoch (about 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago). The descendants of these peoples, the various Native American and Eskimo (Inuit) groups, largely have been supplanted by peoples from the Old World. People of European ancestry constitute the largest group, followed by those of African and of Asian ancestry; in addition there is a large group of Latin Americans, who are of mixed European and Native American ancestry.

Geologic history

Continents have collided and broken apart repeatedly over geologic time. When they separate, new ocean basins develop between the diverging pieces through the process of seafloor spreading. Spreading, which originates at oceanic ridges, is compensated (to conserve surface area on the planet) by subduction—the process whereby the seafloor flexes and sinks along inclined trajectories into the Earth’s interior—at deep-sea trenches and the closure of ocean basins by subduction of the seafloor results in continental collisions.

The material moved laterally from spreading ridges to subduction zones includes plates of rock up to 100 km thick. This rigid outer shell of the Earth is called the lithosphere, as distinct from the underlying hotter and more fluid asthenosphere. The portions of lithosphere plates descending into the asthenosphere at subduction zones are called slabs. The many lithosphere plates that make up the present surface of the Earth are bounded by an interlinking system of oceanic ridges, subduction zones, and laterally moving fractures known as transform faults. Over geologic time the system of plate boundaries has continually evolved as new plates have formed, expanded, contracted, and disappeared.

The continent is richly endowed with natural resources, including great mineral wealth, vast forests, immense quantities of fresh water, and some of the world’s most fertile soils. These have allowed North America to become one of the most economically developed regions in the world, and its inhabitants enjoy a high standard of living. North America has the highest average income per person of any continent and an average food intake per person that is significantly greater than that of other continents. Although it is home to less than 10 percent of the world’s population, its per capita consumption of energy is almost four times as great as the world average.

Etymology

North and South America are widely accepted as having been named after Amerigo Vespucci by the German cartographer Martin Waldseemuller. Vespucci was the first European to suggest that the Americas were not the East Indies, but a new world, previously undiscovered by Europeans.

The second and less generally accepted theory is that the continents are named after an English merchant named Richard Amerike from Bristol, who is believed to have financed John Cabot’s voyage of discovery from England to Newfoundland in 1497. A minutely explored belief that has been advanced is that America was named for a Spanish sailor bearing the ancient Visigothic name of ‘Amairick’. Another is that the name is rooted in an American Indian language.

Geography and extent

North America occupies the northern portion of the landmass generally referred to as the New World, the Western hemisphere, the Americas, or simply America. North America’s only land connection is to South America at the narrow Isthmus of Panama. Geopolitically, all of Panama—including the segment east of the Panama Canal in the isthmus—is often considered a part of North America alone. According to some authorities, North America begins not at the Isthmus of Panama but at the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Mexico with the intervening region called Central America or Middle America if the Caribbean is included and resting on the Caribbean Plate. Before the Central American isthmus was raised, the region had been underwater. The islands of the West Indies delineate a submerged former land bridge, which had connected North America and South America via Florida.

The continental coastline is long and irregular. The Gulf of Mexico is the largest body of water indenting the continent, followed by Hudson Bay. Others include the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and the Gulf of California.

There are numerous islands off the continent’s coasts: principally, the Arctic Archipelago, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, the Alexander Archipelago, and the Aleutian Islands. Greenland, a Danish self-governing island and the world’s largest, is on the same tectonic plate (the North American Plate) but is not considered to be part of the continent. Bermuda is not part of the Americas, but is an oceanic island formed on the fissure of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The nearest landmass to it is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and it is often thought of as part of North America, especially given its historical political and cultural ties to Virginia and other parts of the continent.

Physical geography

The vast majority of North America is on the North American Plate. Parts of California and western Mexico form the partial edge of the Pacific Plate, with the two plates meeting along the San Andreas fault.

The continent can be divided into four great regions (each of which contains many sub-regions): the Great Plains stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Canadian Arctic; the geologically young, mountainous west, including the Rocky Mountains, the Great Basin, California and Alaska; the raised but relatively flat plateau of the Canadian Shield in the northeast; and the varied eastern region, which includes the Appalachian Mountains, the coastal plain along the Atlantic seaboard, and the Florida peninsula. Mexico, with its long plateaus and cordilleras, falls largely in the western region, although the eastern coastal plain does extend south along the Gulf.

The western mountains are split in the middle, into the main range of the Rockies and the Coast Ranges in California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia with the Great Basin – a lower area containing smaller ranges and low-lying deserts – in between. The highest peak is Denali in Alaska.

Countries and territories

North America is often divided into sub regions but no universally accepted divisions exist. “Central America” comprises the southern portion of the continent, but its northern terminus varies between sources. The United Nations includes Mexico in Central America, while most other definitions of the region do not (e.g., the European Union excludes Belize and Mexico from the area). The term Middle America is sometimes used to refer to Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean collectively.

Northern America is used to refer to the northern countries and territories of North America: Canada, the United States, Greenland, Bermuda, and St. Pierre and Miquelon.

The Caribbean is used to refer to the islands in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

River systems of North America

Missouri River

The continent’s longest river is the Missouri which runs from its source to its mouth for 3,767 kilometers. It emerges from the Rocky Mountains in the state of Montana. On the other hand, river’s journey comes to an end at Spanish Lake in the Missouri State. It flows through seven states during its course.

More informative facts about the Missouri River are given below.

  • The joining of three rivers – Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin – forms the Missouri River near Three Forks which is a town in Montana.
  • The huge river ranks fifteenth among the planet’s longest rivers.
  • The Missouri River was discovered by the Europeans in the seventeenth century.
  • The Missouri drainage area is enormous and covers one-sixth of the land in the United States. This area equals 1,371,010 square kilometers.
  • The huge Missouri basin accommodates a population of around ten million consisting of twenty-eight native tribes of North America, ten states of the US and some parts of Canada.
  • Many man-made modifications, such as dams, have changed the natural flow of the river.
  • A diverse species of fish is found in the river, including lake trout, channel catfish, carp, rainbows, sturgeon, Chinook salmon and many other varieties.
  • Deep brush grasses and tall grasses are found along the banks of the river which house a population of formidable rattlesnakes.
  • Individuals navigating across the river should look out for whirlpools as well strong currents.

Mississippi River

The second longest river flowing through North America is Mississippi. It is 3,374 kilometers long with a width of 11 kilometers at its widest point. Emerging from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, the river flows through nine other states of the US before reaching the end of its journey at the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River is the major component of the continent’s largest drainage system.

More information about this important North American river is provided in the following facts.

  • Combined with the Missouri River, the Mississippi forms the continent’s longest river system which ranks fourth in the world.
  • The widest point of the Mississippi River is at Lake Winnibigoshish in the state of Minnesota.
  • The river is narrowest at Lake Itasca where it stretches from twenty to thirty feet only.
  • Martin Strel conquered the Mississippi River by swimming the entire length of the river in 2002, completing the task in sixty-eight days.
  • The river’s watershed extends from the Allegheny Mountains and continues up to the Rocky Mountains. During this course, the watershed covers thirty-one states of the US and two provinces of Canada, making it the world’s fourth largest watershed.
  • Mississippi offers a supply of fresh water and is also used for dumping domestic and industrial waste by the communities living along and around the river.

Ohio River

The importance of Ohio River lies in the fact that it is the largest tributary of the continent’s second longest river – the Mississippi River. Emerging from Pennsylvania, the river flows through six states and covers a distance of 1,579 kilometers. It discharges an average of 7,957 cubic meters of water per second.

Here are some informative facts about the Ohio River.

  • The river is formed when the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join at Pittsburg. On the other hand, it reaches it mouth at the Mississippi River in the state of Illinois.
  • The river supplies fresh drinking water to a population of more than 3 million individuals.
  • The Ohio basin is home to more than 25 million souls which constitute around ten percent of the entire population of the United States. This basin spreads across an area of 490,601 square kilometers.
  • Twenty dams have been built on the river for the purpose of power generation. However, this has resulted in polluting the river’s water with silt and changing its natural flow.

Colorado River

The most important river flowing through the Southwestern region of the United States and northwestern Mexico is the Colorado River. It is 2,334 kilometers in length. It originates from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado which gives the river its name. On the other hand, its final destination is at the Gulf of California.

The following facts reveal more information about the Colorado River.

  • During its course, the river covers seven states of the US and two states of Mexico.
  • It is a source of fresh water to a large population of over twenty-five million individuals. In addition, it irrigates around 3.5 million acres of agricultural land.
  • The Grand Canyon – one of the world’s seven wonders – is found in the Colorado River.
  • Before the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, the water of the river used to appear red owing to the presence of silt particles. For this reason, the river was also known as the Red River. However, the silt is now trapped by the dam, restoring the natural color and clarity of the river’s waters.
  • The construction of dams on the river has affected the population of different fish species living in its waters. These dams have led to a change in the river’s temperature from 80 F to 42 F, which is unsuitable for most of its fish to thrive.

Rio Grande

Rio Grande emerges from San Juan Mountains in Colorado and flows for 3,051 kilometers to reach its destination at the Gulf of Mexico. Part of the natural border between the USA and Mexico is formed by the river. It has been serving as an immensely significant source of water for irrigation as well as hydroelectric power generation.

More information about Rio Grande is discussed below.

  • The river is also called Rio Bravo in Mexico.
  • It is North America’s fourth longest river system.
  • Several major cities, including Santa Fe, Del Rio, El Paso and the Rio Grande City are situated along the river.
  • Its basin area covers 471,900 square kilometers.
  • Due to its historical importance, the river has been classified as one of the most important American Heritage Rivers.

Yellowstone River

The Yellowstone River is one of the tributaries of the mighty Missouri River. It emerges from Absaroka Range in Wyoming where the North Fork converges with the South Fork. During its course, the river passes through three states of the US and covers a distance of 1,114 kilometers. The river is famous the world over owing to the breathtaking waterfalls which are one of its important natural features.

More information about the Yellowstone River is given through the following facts.

  • It was known as the Elk River by the Native Americans.
  • The Europeans first discovered the river in 1806.
  • The river’s basin covers 181,299 square kilometers of area.
  • The average discharge of the Yellowstone River is quite low, being 390 cubic meters per second.
  • In 2011, a huge oil spill polluted the waters of the river. It was caused by a burst in pipeline which released around forty-two thousand gallons of oils into the water.

Mackenzie River

The famous Mackenzie River constitutes Canada’s longest river system. It emerges from the Great Slave Lake in Fort Providence and runs for 1,738 kilometers. After flowing through the Northwest Territories of Canada the river empties into the Arctic Ocean.

Here are some interesting facts about the Mackenzie River.

  • It is the world’s eleventh longest river.
  • The river was named after a Scottish-Canadian discoverer – Alexandra Mackenzie – who travelled through the river during his journey towards the Pacific Ocean.
  • The basin area of the Mackenzie is spread across 1,805,200 square kilometers. This enormous area is almost as large as the entire Mexico.
  • The width of the river ranges between 1.6 and 3.2 kilometers while the points marked by islands are 4.8 to 6.4 kilometers wide.
  • Interesting wildlife is found along the river’s delta. Some of the most popular animals are the snow geese and the tundra swans.
  • The river begins freezing in October and melts in May. During the rest of the months, the Mackenzie is navigable.
  • The Mackenzie River system consists of important rivers including Peace, the Arctic Red, Slave and Liard Rivers.
  • The Mackenzie basin consists of popular lakes including Lake Athabasca and the Great Bear Lake.

Columbia River

The largest river flowing through the Pacific Northwest part of the continent is the Columbia River. It emerges from British Columbia in Canada and empties into the Pacific Ocean after flowing for 2,000 kilometers. During its course, the Columbia River discharges an average of 7,500 cubic meters per second.

Here are some informative facts about the river.

  • After leaving the British Columbia, the river flows into Washington DC, US. From there, it flows onwards and forms a natural border between the states of Washington and Oregon before arriving at its final destination in the Pacific Ocean. During this journey, the entire river covers around 260, 000 square miles.
  • The Columbia River basin ranks fourth among the largest river basins on the planet. It covers an area of 668,000 square kilometers.
  • The river serves as one of the world’s biggest sources of hydroelectric power through a large number of dams built on the river.
  • It is also popularly known as the River of the West, River Oregon as well as the Big River.

Green River

The Green River flows through the western part of the United States and serves as the main tributary of the Colorado River. It is 1,175 kilometers long and is one of the important rivers in North America. Originating from the Wind River Mountain Range of the Rocky Mountains, the river flows through three states – Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. It joins the Colorado River at the Canyon lands National Park located in the state of Utah.

Go through the following informative facts about the Green River.

  • The area drained by the Green River is 124,578 square kilometers.
  • The average discharge of the river is quite low – only 173 cubic meters per second.
  • The river is historically important as the river valley is where the Fremont Culture thrived during the 7th and 13th centuries.
  • The Shoshone Indians called the river the Prairie Hen River.

Hudson River

The Hudson River is a small yet popular waterway flowing primarily through the New York State in the US. It originates from Adirondack Mountains and flows towards its mouth located at the Upper New York Bay. Its basin spreads across an area of 36,260 square kilometers. The river’s average discharge is 620 cubic meters per second.

Here is some more information about the Hudson River.

  • Although it was first discovered in the sixteenth century by Verrazano, the river is named after a European explorer, Henry Hudson. He explored the river a century later in 1609.
  • The principal tributary of the river is known as the Mohawk River.
  • The river is navigable. Ocean vessels can travel through it up to Albany while smaller vessels can travel up to Troy.
  • The river’s upper course is marked by waterfalls as well as rapids.
  • The Catskill and Shawangunk Mountains mark the river’s middle course.

Largest Countries in North America

  1. Canada
  2. United States of America
  3. Mexico
  4. Greenland (Denmark)
  5. Nicaragua
  6. Honduras
  7. Cuba
  8. Guatemala
  9. Panama
  10. Costa Rica

Canada

The capital of Canada is Ottawa. This country extends all the way through US to the Arctic Circle. The language widely and commonly used is English and the currency is Canadian Dollar.

Land Area

Canada is the largest country of North America in terms of land surface, with an estimated area of 9,984,670 km2.

Population

Although region-wise it is the largest country but in terms of population, it is not as much thickly populated as the other countries of the continent. It has almost 35.16 million people as of 2013.

Interesting Facts

  • The largest country by area of North America is also the second largest country in the whole world.
  • Almost half the people of Canada have a college degree, making it the most educated country in the world.
  • Canada boasts of the most number of lakes in the world. The lakes in Canada are more than the lakes of the remaining parts of the world combined.
  • It has the longest coastline in the world.
  • Large parts of Canada have less gravity than rest of the Earth. This was discovered in 1960s.
  • Blessed with a lot of natural resources, it has the third largest oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

 

United States of America

The United States is a country which consists of 50 states. The capital of which is Washington D.C. The language commonly used is English and the currency is U.S Dollar.

Land Area

The total land area of the US is 9,831,510 km2, which makes it the second largest country of this continent.

Population

It is fairly populated with the total population being 318.9 million according to a report issued in 2014.

Interesting Facts

Some of the interesting facts about USA are:

  • Russia and America are just 44 nmi (nautical miles) apart, at their closest point.
  • Due to their junk food consumption, every 1 in 3 Americans is obese.
  • Out of 9 million people who are in prison all over the world, over a quarter of them are in America alone.
  • Alaska was purchased by the US from Russia in just $7.2 million in the year 1867.
  • Almost 20 million Americans live in mobile homes.
  • The largest religious affiliation in the USA is Christianity, followed by Judaism.
  • In Nevada 80% of the land is owned by the government.
  • There are more Facebook users from the US than the number of citizens who voted in the last election.
  • The U.S has no official language.
  • Around half of the world’s credit card frauds happen in the States.
  • The longest war in the history of this country is the Afghan War.
  • The cost of going to college has gone up 500% since 1985.

Mexico

Mexico lies between the US and the Central America. The capital of Mexico is Mexico City and the currency used is Mexican Peso. The most widely used languages are Spanish and Nahuati.

Land Area

Mexico secures third place in being the largest country of North America according to its area which is 1,964,380 km2.

Population

As of the latest estimate in the year 2013, the total population of Mexico is 122.3 million making it the 11th most populous country of the world.

Interesting Facts

  • The official name for Mexico is the United Mexican States.
  • It has 68 official languages. However, national language is Spanish.
  • Artists in Mexico can pay their taxes in form of artwork.
  • Surprisingly the world’s largest pyramid is not in Egypt but in Mexico.
  • San Francisco was a part of Mexico before the Mexican-American war in the year 1848.
  • Mexico is also known as the world’s fattest country.
  • Texas declared its independence from Mexico in the year 1836.

Greenland

Nuuk is the capital of Greenland. Greenland is a huge island between the North Atlantic and Arctic Ocean. The currency used is the Danish Krone and the language commonly used and understood is Danish or Greenlandic.

Land Area

Greenland has a total land area of 410,450 km2, making it the fourth largest country of this region.

Population

About 56,483 people live in the Greenland according to a report released in the year 2013.

Interesting Facts

  • About 80% of the land mass is covered with ice caps and glaciers.
  • Sealing, whaling, hunting and fishing are the main sources of getting income.
  • The largest glacier outside the Antarctica is Ilulissat Ice fjord in Greenland.
  • There are quite a few hot springs that attracts visitors. The temperature of these springs is around 98 to 100 Fahrenheit.
  • Greenland is geographically a part of North America but politically it is a part of Europe.
  • The sun does not set from May 25 to July 25.
  • The Vikings discovered the Greenland in the 10th century.

Nicaragua

Nicaragua spans between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. The capital is Managua while the currency used is the Nicaragua Cordoba. The official language is Spanish.

Land Area

The total land area of the fifth largest country, Nicaragua is 130,370.

Population

Nicaragua is not as populated as the other large countries of the region. The latest estimate of its population for the year 2013 is 6.08 million.

Interesting Facts

  • It hosts the largest fresh water body in Central America, Lago de Nicaragua.
  • It declared its independence from Spain in the year 1821.
  • The lowest point for Nicaragua is Pacific Ocean 0m.
  • Rio Coco is the longest river in Nicaragua.

Famous Landmarks in North America

The continent of North America lies in the northern and western hemispheres of the planet. Occupying an area of 24,709,000 square kilometers, the region houses a huge population and ranks as the world’s fourth most populated continent. A large number of foreigners are attracted to North America by its amazing natural beauty as well as man-made wonders. The Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and the Empire State Building are some examples of the most famous landmarks in North America.

The Statue of Liberty

The colossal Statue of Liberty was gifted to the United States of America in 1986 by France. It stands on the Liberty Island located in the New York Harbor. The monument weighs 225 tons and measures 93 meters in height. It is the statue of a female which depicts the Roman goddess of freedom – Roberta.


Famous Landmarks in North America - The Statue of Liberty

Here are some interesting facts about the Statue of Liberty.

  • As its actual full name, the magnificent statue is known as Liberty Enlightening the World.
  • The name of the French artist who designed this legendary monument was Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.
  • Inscribed on the tablet which the robbed female figure holds is the date of America’s Declaration of Independence – 4th of July 1776.
  • There are stairs to let visitors climb up the statue and explore its magnificence. In order to reach to the top of the woman’s crown, tourists have to climb up 354 stairs.
  • The crown of the statue contains windows which are twenty-five in number. Visitors can look outside through these windows to enjoy a spectacular view.
  • The Statue of Liberty is visited by around four million people each year, making it the third most visited place in the world after the Eiffel Tower and the London Eye.

The Grand Canyon

Located in the state of Arizona, the spectacular Grand Canyon is counted among the seven natural wonders of the world. The most distinguishing feature of the national park is layered bands made up of red rock. The rest of the region offers adventurous activities like hiking, camping and mule ride.

Here are some interesting facts about the Grand Canyon.

  • The Grand Canyon stretches to a length of 446 kilometers.
  • The Colorado River running through the region has been causing erosion of the steep sides of the Grand Canyon for millions of years.
  • The schist rock found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is as old as two billion years.
  • The region and the surrounding area housed American Indians for thousands of years.
  • The nature’s wonder was turned into a national park in the year 1919, becoming the seventeenth national park in North America.

 

The Empire State Building

Standing in Manhattan, New York City is an enormous skyscraper known as the Empire State Building. Its construction began in 1929 and was completed in 1931. The building was designed by William Lamb and consists of 103 floors.

Following are some interesting facts about the Empire State Building.

  • As many as 3,400 workers were hired for the construction of the colossal skyscraper who finished the job in 410 days – quicker than expected.
  • The Empire State Building held the rank of the world’s tallest skyscraper for forty-one years between 1931 and 1972.
  • For tourist attraction, there are observation decks on two of the building’s floors – 86th and 102nd.
  • The building contains a total of 79 elevators – 73 for people and 6 for freight.
  • It was the world’s first building having a hundred floors.
  • There is a lightening rod at the top of the building. On average, the rod is struck twenty-three times in a year by lightening.

The Golden Gate Bridge

Another one of the most famous landmarks in North America is the Golden Gate Bridge. It is a suspension bridge which spans the Golden Gate Strait – a channel connecting the San Francisco Bay with the Pacific Ocean. The bridge is 2,737 meters long with a height of 227 meters.

Some more informative facts about the bridge are given below.

  • The construction of the bridge began in 1933 and was completed in 1937.
  • The total cost of the construction project was around 27 million US dollars.
  • It is a strong bridge which has been designed to withstand eight point earthquakes and survive gusty winds measuring up to 90 mph.
  • The Golden Gate Bridge is the most photographed landmark in the city of San Francisco.
  • The initial toll cost for crossing the bridge was merely 50 cents. Today, it is 6 dollars.
  • Joseph Stratus, Charles Ellis and Irving Morrow were the main designers of the Golden Gate Bridge.

 

The Gateway Arch

Located in ST. Louis, the Gateway Arch is another one of the most famous landmarks in North America. It is a stylish monument which rises to a height of 630 feet, surpassing the skyline of the city.

Here is more information about the popular Gateway Arch.

  • The architect of the monument was Eero Saarinen whose design was chosen through a nationwide competition held nationwide in order to select the best design for a monument to honor the western pioneers.
  • The construction of the Gateway Arch was completed in two years between years 1963 and 1965.
  • It cost 13 million US dollars to construct the spectacular Gateway Arch.
  • This steel structure weights 43, 000 tons.
  • The monument is located at the banks of River Mississippi in the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

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