Utah ranks 13th in size among the states and has an area of 219,887 sq km (84,899 sq mi), including 7,086 sq km (2,736 sq mi) of inland water. The state has an overall distance from north to south of 555 km (345 mi) and a maximum extent from east to west of 446 km (277 mi). The approximate mean elevation is 1,900 m (6,100 ft).
Utah includes portions of three major natural regions, or physiographic provinces, of the western United States: the Middle Rocky Mountains, the Basin and Range province, and the Colorado Plateau. All three form part of larger physiographic divisions. The Middle Rocky Mountains form part of the Rocky Mountain system, and the Basin and Range province and the Colorado Plateau form part of the Intermontane Plateaus.
The Middle Rocky Mountains, in northeastern Utah, include the Uinta and the Wasatch mountain ranges. The Wasatch Range is noted for its majestic granite peaks, deep canyons carved by valley glaciers, and hundreds of glacial lakes. The older Uinta Mountains, or Uintas, are one of the few major ranges in the Rocky Mountains that extend in an east-to-west direction. Several of the rounded peaks in the range reachelevations of more than 4,000 m (more than 13,000 ft) above sea level. The highest, Kings Peak, is 4,123 m (13,526 ft) above sea level and is the highest peak in Utah. The peaks of the Wasatch Range are lower. The two highest are Mount Timpanogos, 3,581 m (11,750 ft), and Mount Nebo, 3,620 m (11,877 ft). Several other peaks have similar elevations. The western side of the range is often called the Wasatch Front.
The Basin and Range Province, covering approximately the western third of the state, is a region of gray desert plains, shimmering white salt flats, and towering mountains. It constitutes the eastern portion of the so-called Great Basin. Rivers peter out in the Great Salt Lake Desert or drain into Great Salt Lake, a remnant of huge, prehistoric Lake Bonneville. The narrow level strip of land between Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Front, known as the Salt Lake Valley, is the most fertile, productive, and densely populated part of Utah.
The Colorado Plateau is an area of fiery colors and unusual physical variety. The uplifted plateaus, rising in places to heights of more than 3,400 m (more than 11,000 ft), have been carved by rivers and eroded by wind and water over the centuries. The results are hundreds of canyons of great depth that are carved into red, pink, purple, and yellow sandstones and shales. Through these colorful canyons wind the Colorado River and some of its tributaries. "Utah" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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