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Geography of Missouri

General Features
Missouri is a state located in the Midwestern United States. It is bounded on the north by Iowa; on the east by Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee; on the south by Arkansas; and on the west by Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska. The total area covered by the state is 69,697 square miles. The geographic center of Missouri is in Miller County.

Missouri comprises four major land regions:

  • Dissected Till Plains: These lie north of the Missouri River and form part of the Central Plains region of the United States. The area is composed of rolling hills, open fertile flatlands, and well-watered prairie.

  • The Osage Plains: Covering the western part of the state, the region around the Osage Plains is characterized by a flat landscape where some hills are also found.

  • The Mississippi Alluvial Plain: The region lies in the southern part of the state and is made up of fertile black lowlands. Cotton, soybeans, and rice are grown in the region.

  • The Ozark Plateau: The largest land area of Missouri, the Ozark Plateau comprises most of southern Missouri and extends into northern Arkansas and northeastern Oklahoma. Taum Sauk Mountain, the highest elevation in the state is located in this region. The area is well known for its forests, mountains, large springs, lakes and rivers.

Missouri has a continental climate characterized by cold winters and hot and humid summers. Tornadoes and thunderstorms are common.

Geographical Facts About Missouri


Area 69,709 square miles
Land Area 68,898 square miles
Water Area 811 square miles
Highest Point Taum Sauk Mountain (540 meters)
Lowest Point St. Francis River (70 meters)
Mean Elevation 240 meters
Geographic Center Miller County

Climate of Missouri
Missouri has a variety of climatic conditions across the state. Generally the state has a humid continental climate, with cold winters and hot and humid summers. The monthly average temperatures range from 90.5 degrees to 19.4 degrees. The highest temperature recorded is 48 °C at Warsaw and Union on July 14, 1954; on July 15, 1936 at Clinton; and on July 18, 1936 at Lamar. The lowest temperature in Missouri is -40°C, recorded on February 13, 1905 at Warsaw. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are common in the state. Most tornadoes occur in the spring time. The most recent EF5 tornado in the state was the 2011 Joplin tornado, which destroyed roughly one-third of the city of Joplin.

Mountains
Missouri has many high mountain peaks and summits. Taum Sauk Mountain is the highest peak in the state, followed by Wildcat Mountain, and Buford Mountain.The other chief mountain peaks in the state are:

  • The Ozarks
  • St. Francois Mountains
  • Bell Mountain
  • Lindsey Mountain
  • Grassy Mountain
  • Pine Mountain
  • Bear Cave Mountain
  • Russell Mountain

Rivers
The major rivers in Missouri are:
  • Big Piney River
  • Black River
  • Blackwater River
  • Charriton River
  • Current River
  • Eleven Point River
  • Gasconade River
  • James River
  • Marais des Cygnes River
  • Mississippi River
  • Missouri River
  • Osage River
  • St. Francis River

Lakes
The major lakes in Missouri are:
  • Table Rock Lake
  • Clearwater Lake
  • Lake Wappapello
  • Bull Shoals Lake
  • Lake of the Ozarks
  • Harry S. Truman Reservoir
  • Mark Twain Lake
  • Stockton Lake



Last Updated on: July 13, 2017