Arizona Geography

Arizona Geography

Arizona is a beautiful stretch of arid land, of great natural beauty with canyons, valleys, plateaus and mountains. The origin of the name Arizona is from an Indian word arizonac which means small spring. Arizona, which is among the four corner states of the United States, is located in the south western region of the country. To the north, Arizona is bordered by Utah to its North, New Mexico to its east and Nevada and California to its west. It also shares an international border with Mexico towards its south. This state is also called the Grand Canyon State, the Copper State or the Rattlesnake Heaven.

Political geography

The Arid state of Arizona is bordered by the two very important physiographic regions of the United States, which are the Colorado Plateau in the east and the north and the Basin and the Range in the south and West. The state of Arizona covering around 114,006 square miles is the sixth largest state in the country and around fifteen percent of the land is privately owned. The majority of the land of Arizona , that means over 80% is public forest, park land, state trust land and Native American reservations. The state has 15 counties having ninety incorporated cities and towns. The largest major city and the capital of this beautiful land is the Phoenix, which is also the fifth most populated city in the United States.

The land

The land of the generally arid state can be divided into the Colorado plateau, the transition zone and the Basin and Range.

The Colorado Plateau

The Colorado Plateau is a flat land of soft sedimentary rocks which covers about two fifth of the Northern part of Arizona. The region is also called the ' Red Rock Country' due to its bright color from dry sedimentary rocks. These are around 4500 to 8500 feet above sea level and are characterized by uninterrupted area of flat land occasionally interrupted by a mountain or deep canyon. The deepest canyon here, the Grand Canyon which is also one of the seven natural wonders of earth lies in this region and is carved by the Colorado River. Other important canyons which are also cut by the Colorado River and it include Canyon de Chelly, Oak Creek Canyon and Antelope Canyon. The Humphrey's peak, more than 12, 600 feet above sea level located in the Colorado Plateau area is the highest peak in Arizona. The Painted Desert, the Petrified Forest, the Black Mesa, and Monument Valley are some of the distinctive natural features seen in Arizona.

The Transition Zone

The Transition Zone to the south of the Colorado Plateau region is characterized by series of mountain ranges and valleys. The region is called the transition zone because it falls between the plateau region and the basin and range and has the character of both these. The climate of the transition Zone can vary greatly because of the variation in altitude in different areas of the Transition Zone. The Mazatzal, Santa Maria, Sierra Ancha, and White Mountain ranges are the mountain ranges here and the Mogollon Cliff which extends around 200 Km includes most of the mountains in the region.

Basin and Range Province

The Basin and the Range extend along the southern region of Arizona. It is characterized by rocky peaks and steep mountain ranges which extend towards the southeast from the northwest regions. These linear mountain peaks even extend above a height of 9000 feet above the sea level. Some mountain ranges in these areas includes Chiricahua, Gila, Huachuca, Hualapai, Pinaleno, Santa Catalina, Santa Rita, and Superstition which are separated by low and fertile valleys which can sustain crops when enough water is available. This area is rich in copper deposits and also has minerals like gold silver and barite.

Climate in Arizona

Though the state is generally known for a desert, the vast state has a variety of climatic conditions which are shown at different regions. The northern part of Arizona and the mountainous regions experience a cooler climate where as the southern part of the state generally has a year round warm climate. The temperature in the state may vary from day and night, region to region and from season to season. The temperature usually ranges from a 105 degree to 38 degree Fahrenheit. The precipitation also varies by season, elevation and by region. The peak period of rainfall is during the early winter and during the summer; thunder storm and heavy rains are common in summer in the mountainous regions. Precipitation in the form of snow is also common in Arizona and it usually occurs in the high altitude regions during winter.

Major rivers and lakes in Arizona

The major rivers in the Arizona state are the Colorado River, the Little Colorado River, Gila River, and Bill Williams River. Most part of Arizona is drained by the long and steady Colorado River or one of its tributaries. Lake Mead, Lake Havasu, Lake Mohave, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, San Carlos Lake, and Lake Powell are the major lakes of the Arizona.

Arizona Geography Information

Longitude / Latitude Longitude: 109° 3' W to 114° 50' W
Latitude: 31° 20' N to 37° N
Length x Width Arizona is about 400 miles long and about 310 miles wide.
Geographic Center
The geographic center of Arizona is located in Yavapai County, 55 miles ESE of Prescott.
Longitude: 111° 47.6'W
Latitude: 34°1 8.5'N
Borders Arizona is bordered by Utah, Mexico, Nevada and California.
Total Area Arizona covers 114,006 square miles
Land Area 113,642 square miles of Arizona are land areas.
Water Area Only 364 square miles
Highest Point Humphreys Peak
Lowest Point Colorado River, only 70 feet above sea level.
Mean Elevation 4,100 feet above sea level.
Major Rivers Colorado River, Little Colorado River, Gila River, Bill Williams River
Major Lakes Lake Mead, Lake Havasu, Lake Mohave, Theodore Roosevelt Lake, San Carlos Lake, Lake Powell