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Naturals regions of Wisconsin


Wisconsin landscape
Wisconsin landscape

Wisconsin ranks 22nd in size among the states. It covers 169,639 sq km (65,498 sq mi), including 4,740 sq km (1,830 sq mi) of inland water. Also under jurisdiction of the state is 24,237 sq km (9,358 sq mi) of waters in lakes Michigan and Superior. Wisconsin is roughly rectangular in shape, except for the Door Peninsula, which is about 130 km (about 80 mi) long and separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. Wisconsin has a maximum length from north to south of about 480 km (about 300 mi) and a width from east to west of about 450 km (about 280 mi).

Wisconsin includes parts of two major natural regions of North America, the Central Lowland and the Superior Upland. The Central Lowland covers southern Wisconsin, and the Superior Upland occupies northern Wisconsin.

The Central Lowland


The Central Lowland is the larger of the two natural regions. It is a predominantly low-lying area and swings in a broad belt across the southern two-thirds of the state. During the Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago, great ice sheets from the north pushed southward across Wisconsin and adjoining areas. Wherever the ice went, it obliterated most of the existing landscape. It planed off the preglacial hills, filled up the ancient valleys, and left thick deposits of glacial clays and sands known as till, or drift.

In the southwestern corner of the state, there is no drift. This unglaciated section, known as the Wisconsin Driftless Area, is believed to look the way the rest of the Central Lowland looked before the Ice Age.

Most of the Wisconsin Driftless Area is moderately hilly and suitable for farming, but some parts are quite rocky, steep, and rugged, especially south of the Wisconsin River. Among the more prominent features are the Military Ridge, Blue Mounds, and Baraboo Range, which provide sweeping views of the countryside. Unusual for this part of the country are the steep-sided, flat-topped hills found in the vicinity of Camp Douglas that are similar in appearance to the mesas and buttes of the arid Western states.

The Superior Upland


The Superior Upland occupies northern Wisconsin and is underlain by ancient and very hard rocks. These rocks form a southward extension of the Canadian Shield.

The Superior Upland is higher than the Central Lowland and for this reason is sometimes referred to as the Northern Highland. Most of its hills are from 400 to 430 m (1,300 to 1,400 ft) above sea level. Several isolated peaks rise considerably above this level, however. They include Timms Hill, which at 595 m (1,951 ft) is the highest point in Wisconsin, and Sugarbush Hill, Rib Mountain, and the Gogebic, or Penokee, Range. Forests cover much of the Superior Upland, and there are numerous small lakes of glacial origin. A low-lying and partially swampy plain, known as the Lake Superior Lowland, occupies the areas along the southern shore of Lake Superior. "Washington" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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