New Hampshire is the seventh smallest state in the nation, with an area of 24,216 sq km (9,350 sq mi), including 813 sq km (314 sq mi) of inland waters. The state is roughly triangular in shape. Its greatest distance from north to south is 291 km (181 mi) and its largest extent east to west is 151 km (94 mi). New Hampshire’s mean elevation is about 300 m (about 1,000 ft). New Hampshire was once covered by glaciers, the last of which receded 10,000 years ago. These glaciers greatly affected the landscape by rounding the mountains and creating hundreds of streams and lakes. In addition, much of New Hampshire is covered with rocks, boulders, and clays that were deposited by the glaciers. Although all of the state was covered by the glaciers, there are great differences among its natural regions.
New Hampshire’s land area is divided into three major natural regions: the White Mountains, the New England Upland, and the Seaboard Lowland. All three are sections of the New England physiographic province, which in turn forms part of the Appalachian Region.
The White Mountains occupy most of the northern one-third of the state. This natural region is the most rugged and heavily forested part of New Hampshire and contains some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in the eastern United States. The average elevation of the White Mountains in New Hampshire is from 760 to 1,200 m (2,500 to 4,000 ft). However, Mount Washington, in a part of the White Mountains called the Presidential Range, in north central New Hampshire, rises to 1,917 m (6,288 ft) and is the highest mountain in New England.
Eight other mountains in the Presidential Range also have elevations of more than 1,500 m (5,000 ft). Deep glacial valleys, or gorges, are common in the White Mountains. Among the most famous of such valleys are Franconia Notch, Crawford Notch, and Tuckerman Ravine.
That part of the White Mountains in the extreme northern New Hampshire is somewhat lower, with a maximum elevation of about 1,100 m (3,600 ft).
The New England Upland occupies most of central and southern New Hampshire. It is a hilly or rolling region with an average elevation of about 370 m (1,200 ft). However, a few isolated mountains rise to more than 900 m (3,000 ft) in the south. These mountains, which consist of rock that has resisted erosion more than the surrounding terrain, are called monadnocks, after Mount Monadnock, which was formed in this way in southern New Hampshire. The western edge of the New England Upland in New Hampshire includes the valley of the Connecticut River, a level plain 8 km (5 m) wide.
The upland region in the state is also dotted with hundreds of lakes and streams, most of which were formed by glaciers.
The Seaboard Lowland covers the southeastern corner of the state. In this region the land slopes gently downward to the ocean from about 150 m (500 ft) near the New England Upland. The Seaboard Lowland is mostly level or gently rolling. "New Hampshire" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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