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Michigan Geography: The Land
Geography and Landforms of MichiganFind an overview of Michigan geography, topography, geographic land area, and major rivers. Access Michigan almanac furnishing more details on the state geography, climate and weather, elevation, land area, bordering states, and other statistical data.
The state of Michigan consists of two peninsulas separated by the
Straits of Mackinac. The Upper Peninsula lies between Lake Michigan
and Lake Superior. The Lower Peninsula is bordered on the West by Lake
Michigan and on the East by Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and two rivers, the
Detroit and the St. Clair.
Michigan is made up of these Physiographic Areas
Boreal Hardwood Transition
As the name implies, this area is a transition zone between the mixed hardwood forest to the south and the boreal forest to the north. Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan are in this physiographic area, as is much of southern Ontario and a small area of southeast Manitoba. The Great Lakes are a prominent ecological force in this area, affecting microclimates and forest community composition. These forest communities are a heterogeneous matrix with various oaks, maples, birch, and pines representing the southern element and spruces, tamarack, and balsam fir of boreal origin. Aspen is a common early successional species throughout.
Upper Great Lakes Plain
The Upper Great Lakes Plain covers the southern half of Michigan, northwest Ohio, northern Indiana, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, and small portions of southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa. Glacial moraines and dissected plateaus are characteristic of the topography. Broadleaf forests, oak savannahs, and a variety of prairie communities are the natural vegetation types. A "Driftless Area" was not glaciated during the late Pleistocene and emerged as a unique area of great biological diversity.
The Lower Peninsula is fairly level but some low rolling hills can be found in the south. To the north this changes to a northern tableland of hilly belts. The lowest point in Michigan, along the shore of Lake Erie is found in the Lower Peninsula.
Michigan Landscape and Landforms:
The western area of the Upper Peninsula is referred to as the Superior Upland. In the western part of the Upper Peninsula, the land achieves higher elevations and the terrain becomes more rugged. The Superior Upland runs along Lake Superior and into the Porcupine Mountains in northwestern Michigan. Mount Arvon, the highest point in Michigan, is found on the Upper Peninsula.
Great Lakes Plains
The Lower Peninsula is part of the Great Lakes Plains that stretch,
along the Great Lakes, from Michigan and Wisconsin to Ohio. The Lower
Peninsula is fairly level but some low rolling hills can be found in
the south. To the north this changes to a northern tableland of hilly
belts. The lowest point in Michigan, along the shore of Lake Erie is
found in the Lower Peninsula.
Forty-eight of the States are in the single region between Canada and Mexico; this group is referred to, with varying precision and formality, as the continental or contiguous United States, and as the Lower 48. Alaska, which is not included in the term contiguous United States, is at the northwestern end of North America, separated from the Lower 48 by Canada. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The capital city, Washington, District of Columbia, is a federal district located on land donated by the state of Maryland.
(Virginia had also donated land, but it was returned in 1847.) The United States also have overseas territories.