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Arizona Geography, Physical Features of Arizona

by Vishul Malik

The state of Arizona has a variable climate throughout the year. Generally, the state has exceptionally hot summers and mild winters.

Geographical Features of Arizona

Arizona is located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is bordered by Utah to the north, by Mexico to the south. On the east, the state is bordered by New Mexico and on the west lie Nevada and California.The state is divided into three major land areas: the Colorado plateau, the Transition Zone and the Basin and Ridge Region.

The Colorado Plateau: The area covers the northern two-fifth of the state of Arizona. Broad, mostly flat, level land interrupted by occasional soaring mountains and deep canyons are the characteristics. The Grand Canyon, the Canyon de Chelly and Oak Creek Canyon are the notable canyons in the region. Black Mesa, Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest are found on the Colorado Plateau.

Geographical Facts About Arizona

Area 114,006 square miles
Land Area 113,642 square miles
Water Area 364 square miles
Highest Point Humphreys Peak
Lowest Point Colorado River
Mean Elevation 4,100 feet above sea level
Geographic Center Yavapai County

The Transition Zone : The area lies around the south of the Colorado Plateau and north of the Arizona Basin and Ridge Region. This is a narrow strip of land characterized by a rugged series of mountain ranges and valleys. Salt River Canyon, the Mazatzal, Santa Maria, Sierra Ancha, and White mountain ranges are found in the Transition Zone.

The Basin and Ridge Region: The area lies to the south of the Transition Zone and along the western border of California. The Basin and Ridge Region of Arizona has mountain ranges running from the northwest in a southeasterly direction. These mountain ranges are separated by low fertile valleys.

Arizona National Parks

It includes 3 national parks such as Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, and Saguaro. The celebrated national monuments such as Chiricahua and Casa Grande Ruins are located in Arizona. Check this Arizona National Parks Map locating all the national parks in the US.

Climate of Arizona

Arizona has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. The climate is primarily desert-type, with mild winters and hot summers in the lower elevations of the state. The coldest months in the state are November and February, with temperatures ranging between 4 to 24 ºC. The lowest recorded temperature in the state was -40º, on January 7, 1971 at Hawley Lake. The state has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 inches.

Mountains in Arizona

There are 194 mountain ranges in Arizona. Some of the mountain ranges in the state are:

  • Belmont Mountains
  • Bradshaw Mountains
  • Black Mountains
  • Castle Dome Mountains
  • Dragoon Mountains
  • White Mountains
  • Sierra Pinta
  • Puerco River
  • Zuni River

Rivers in Arizona

There are a number of rivers and other water bodies found in Arizona. The major rivers are:

  • Colorado River
  • Little Colorado River
  • Gila River
  • Bill Williams River
  • Black River
  • San Francisco River
  • Santa Cruz River

Lakes in Arizona

Most of the lakes in Arizona are managed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The major lakes are:

  • Lake Mead
  • Lake Havasu
  • Lake Mohave
  • Theodore Roosevelt Lake
  • San Carlos Lake
  • Lake Powell
  • Bartlett Lake
  • Knoll Lake
  • Mittry Lake

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