Talk:Geography of the United States

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Huge issue with US total area VS China[edit]

You statement is wrong. US is larger than China if you include coastal and territorial waters. But if you use the CORRECT method of calcalution area US is just a little bit smaller than china. This is to include inland water and the US share of great lakes. Encyclopedia Britaanica gives a accurate assessment of US total area. Especially read it footnotes in the end. Their figure only includes inland water and great lakes share. When same method is applied to china, china comes out ahead.

Go to: and:

The article on US is still baised in favor of US. It never was larger and china but right now, it is considered "disputed."

las vegas[edit]

your article mentions that prostitution is legal in las vegas, which is incorrect. Nevada state law provides that any county with a population of less that 400,000 people may allow prostitution. this exludes Clark county, in which las vegas is located, because it has a population of over 400,000. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 12:17, 1 January 2007 (UTC).


I have added a {{Fact}} tag to this sentence:

The United States shares land borders with Canada and Mexico, and water borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

According to Territorial waters, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the U.S. all claim 12 miles. Can the U.S. be said to border nations separated from it by the high seas? Kablammo 21:34, 18 February 2007 (UTC)

The CIA Factbook page on the US says under "Disputes, International": "The Bahamas and US have not been able to agree on a maritime boundary". This doesn't really answer your question, but kinda pokes at it. Pfly 05:31, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
Good source. It makes a distinction between territorial waters (12 nm) and exclusive economic zones (200 nm). It does not appear that the Bahamas are within 24 nm of the US. Perhaps the issue is competing claims over the continental shelf. In any even the statements about Cuba, the Bahamas, and "numerous smaller nations" are unattributed and they should be deleted unless citations are given. Kablammo 13:05, 19 February 2007 (UTC)
I have changed or deleted the questioned assertions and removed the tag. Kablammo 22:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Cultural regions[edit]

This is an article about geography, not cultural stereotypes. The discussion of regional stereotypes may have a place in some other article (if properly referenced and even-handed) but they do not belong here. Kablammo 16:06, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

The whole section on culture is unsalvageable, in my humble opinion. Struck it in its entirety. Note that a separate Culture of the United States article already exists. I would suggest a rewrite, if it must be dealt with here, as a summary of the region, climate, and nature-related sections of the aforelinked main culture article. MrZaiustalk 16:37, 21 June 2007 (UTC)

Missing sections[edit]

Aside from the aforementioned deletion of the original research-laden unsourced culture section, note that we could also use a section on the environment and flora & fauna. As such, assessed as start class for the relevant Wikiproject. MrZaiustalk 16:55, 21 June 2007 (UTC)


The article states:

Lowest point: Death Valley, Inyo County, California 282 feet below sea level (-86 m).

This is not correct. The lowest point is the bottom of the Lake Superior rift valley, at 733 feet below sea level. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:17, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

Human geography[edit]

This article seems to deal with only the physical geography of the U.S., while I argue that human geography of any region is just as important as the physical geography. "Geography" is a broad a term, and should mean both physical and human geography. What I suggest then is that either a section be created to discuss this aspect, or perhaps another article like Human geography of the United States be made. ~ UBeR (talk) 03:05, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Makes sense to start it as a section here and make a new page if it gets long enough. I'd try to add to it if I can. Any ideas on what aspects of human geography would make a good start? Population patterns (regional, urban/rural, etc)? Transportation? Pfly (talk) 04:11, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

Coastline discrepancy[edit]

I am prepared to believe that Alaska'a coastline is more than half the US total. However, this article lists total US coastline at 12,380. This article posted on the alaskan gov site, claims that the Alaskan coastline is 33,000 miles long with a possibility of 44,000. This seems a bit high IMO. The article Geography of Alaska is vague and simply claims "half." The count at neap high tide, or whatever, needs to be the same as the geodetic survey. So some sort of resolution is needed. The actual figure for the coastline should be footnoted. The Alaskan article needs to be specific and be footnoted. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 00:17, 31 October 2009 (UTC)

Mm vs km[edit]

I notice that this article uses Mm for millions of square kilometres. I believe it would be clearer if the article stuck to square kilometres throughout. What do others think? Michael Glass (talk) 05:32, 5 January 2010 (UTC)

I changed some inaccurate statements[edit]

I have back up everything I changed with footnotes linking to information.

The statement that "some" publication list china as 3rd and "many" list US as third is misleading. Most english language publications mirror CIA factbook figures. That is why it seems "many" when CIA factbook is the ONLY publication in the world that does these rankings. I removed this sentence and the following sentencing about depending on the "status of taiwan." This is just wrong bull$*@W. Note that taiwan has NEVER been calculated into PRChina's territorial figure. I put a footnote there for you to see. If you don't understand how this dispute ever got started, then YOU SHOULD NOT BE EDITING THIS PAGE.

Furthermore, the statement that "(including inland water), Russia and Canada is larger than US" IS WRONG! Including inland water, Russia, Canada, and CHINA is larger than US. In fact, including the US share of great lakes CHINA is still larger than US. Go see Encyclopedia Brittanica's figure for both countries. It is the ONLY publication that correctly states US and China's territorial extent.

It is only with the addition of COASTAL WATERS for US and exclusion of such waters for China, US becomes larger and this onyl happened in 1997. Go see this link:

PLEASE know your facts before editing!

You may be precisely right about how the figures have been calculated. I would wonder whether some calculations might inlcude Tibet as part of China. My guess is that China would include it. Most western counts would omit it. Student7 (talk) 22:00, 13 January 2010 (UTC)


The article should be consistent when referring to The United States as either a single entity or as a collection of entities. Since the article begins "The United States IS a country" (not "The United States ARE a collection... ") there should not be sentences in the article such as "The United States experience disasters"; it would instead appear "The United States experiences disasters". Only when "states" is in lower-case is it not the proper noun, and therefore a plural entity. I corrected the article to reflect this. VIOLENTRULER (talk) 10:56, 7 February 2010 (UTC)


I am not too wild about the addition of Anitpodes. It is amusing but, let's face it, not real solid encyclopedic information. Maybe for Simple English verson. Kids want to know where they will come out if they dig down at the beach! Doesn't help here, though. Next, Anipodes, not just for countries, but for states/provinces? Then for cities? I don't think so. Student7 (talk) 02:26, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

The author isn't responding to discussion pages. Antipodes are very nearly the definition of non WP:TOPIC. They are not inside the topic; in fact they are the furthest outside it. You can't get any further on earth!
And no, it is not like the highest peak or westernmost range, both of which are well inside the topic! Might be a different decision for Simple English, which I assume is for schoolchildren. Maybe it could be justified on the basis of amusing them, though it could fail their WP:TOPIC criteria as well.
BTW, have you thought of applying this to states? Cities? Monuments within cities? How about Earth's "twin" on the other side of the sun? I suppose the same for the other planets? And the solar system's anti-whatever on the other side of the Milky Way? Where does it all end? Student7 (talk) 13:33, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
You're being silly. If Earth had a twin on the other side of the Sun, that would be of enormous interest and would be well covered in our articles. Also, the phrase is "on topic", not "in topic", and in any case this isn't geometry where prepositions are given literal definitions: no-one is going to argue that since "of" can mean "off", that the "geography of the US" must be restricted to places that are elevated in the air above the US. That's the quality of your argument. The antipodes of the US are a geographic topic that deal with the US, therefore they are covered by the geography of the US, just as sister cities are covered in the articles on the cities they are sisters of.
There isn't a single hamlet within the contiguous US which is antipodal to land. In Alaska there are only four, of which the only significant one is Barrow, but that's opposite Antartica, which is pretty boring. Hawaii is antipodal to the Kalahari Desert, and I don't think the islands coincide with any towns there. So where, exactly, is this all going to get out of hand? Take the analogy of westernmost point: Are we going to list the westernmost point of every city? of every street within cities? of every monument? where does it all end? By your logic, we should delete all such information so it doesn't get out of hand.
And no, Simple English is not for schoolchildren, but for people who do not command English well. The topics aren't dumbed down, the language is only simplified. — kwami (talk) 15:47, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
This isn't the only geographic article I watch, so I am concerned, not only that the material is not within WP:TOPIC but that other editors will use it as an excuse to place it in their articles for Italy, Rome, the Vatican, whatever. In water for the US? That didn't seem to bother you any? Why should it stop someone else? Why shouldn't every place article have a (mandatory?) antipodes subsection?
You have not explained why a point exactly opposite the US is within the WP:TOPIC.
If this were a biography, would I be justified in placing Wilt Chamberlain in an article about Danny Devito because "they are opposites?" Or Millard Fillmore in an article about Jack Kennedy because they are presumed to be personality "opposites?"
In other words, if opposites trump the WP:TOPIC policy why shouldn't Wikipedia consider opposites for every article? Student7 (talk) 21:08, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
You're just being silly. I suppose we shouldn't mention Jackie O or Lyndon Johnson in the Kennedy bio "because they aren't Jack Kennedy, and therefore are not within the topic". What about the Natural disasters section? A tornado is not a geographic feature. Therefore, per your narrow interpretation of WP:TOPIC, this section should be removed.
As for your slippery slope argument, too much drama. Have you looked at the antipodes of Rome? There's nothing there. It's open water, and of no interest to anyone. Only 4% of land is antipodal to land, and even within that 4%, there is seldom anything of interest. Do you know what the most exciting thing is in the antipodes of the United States? Most of Molokai is antipodal to a corner of the Central Kalihari game reserve. No towns, just scrub. What exactly would anyone say about the antipodes of any town in Molokai that isn't already covered here? — kwami (talk) 23:38, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Antipodes are meaningless geotrivia and do not belong in encyclopedia articles. WP:Trivia. Skookum1 (talk) 21:24, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps. But the westernmost point of a country is also meaningless geotrivia. In this article we have elevation extremes, which are also meaningless and so by your argument should be removed. We include these things because they're of general interest, not because they're actually important. — kwami (talk) 23:38, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
But these places you are mentioning are within a country and therefore within the WP:TOPIC, not diametrically outside.
LBJ is not "within" JFK, therefore Kennedy's veep can't be mentioned in his bio because that would violate TOPIC? What of the countries and seas surrounding a country, can they not be mentioned because they aren't "within" the country? Can the moon landings not be mentioned in an article on Cape Canaveral, because the moon is not even on the same planet as Cape Canaveral? I'm sorry. Skookum's objection is legitimate, because this is trivia: we merely disagree on how trivial s.t. has to be to be excluded. But it clearly does not violate TOPIC: the antipodes of the US are topical specifically to the US. I'm reverting, as you do not have a legitimate objection.
PS. The solution to off-topic material is to move it where it would be topical. Do we really want a section in this article linking to an article 'antipodes of the United States'? There's hardly enough info for an article of its own, although I suppose we could expand it, if you don't mind it being even more trivial. That seems like overkill to me, though I don't really have any objection other than that.
BTW, I would argue to keep a list of all former mayors. That's the kind of thing people come to a reference work to find out. To delete such info strikes me as irresponsible. Sure, the individual mayors may not be notable, but finding out who was mayor when may be relevant to a reader's research topic which is notable. We're not a democracy here. It may have been best stylistically for the mayors to be split off as a separate list article, but being "voted down" isn't how we really want things decided here. We wouldn't "vote down" evolution if there happened to be more creationists than biologists on a talk page, for example. The antipodes, though rather trivial, are of interest to people, and so IMO are info we could profitably provide, though I'm open to suggestions as to where. — kwami (talk) 03:19, 20 December 2010 (UTC)
I just came across this article, and was very surprised to see this kind of information. While it is "neat" in some way, I fail to see how it has any bearing on the geography of the country. One could just as easily add in a list of things such as distance from some spot on the East Coast to another in Africa or Europe. Again it would be interesting information, but of no real bearing on the topic at hand. I would recommend removing it, especially since the article Antipodes already has nice lists covering both countries and cities. Russ3Z (talk) 16:48, 8 December 2015 (UTC)

State Geography[edit]

Most states have their own page for geography (eg Geography of California). What is the best way of cross-linking those pages with this page please? John a s (talk) 22:54, 24 February 2011 (UTC)

General Characteristics[edit]

"The combination of rivers navigable thousands of miles inland, running throughout virtually all of the largest contiguous area of farm land in the world, has helped to make the United States the world's breadbasket and wealthiest nation by far. Considering both the natural features and the political unity of the states of the region of the Great Plains, contrasted with the river systems and political disunity of Europe as an example, nothing quite like it exists anywhere else in the world."

These two sentences sound subjective and unencyclopedic. No references to these statements add to the ambiguity. Also, what does river systems and politics have to do with each other? I recommend removing these two sentences as they don't provide any facts or useful information. What is the point of these statements? (talk) 07:12, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

"In turn, Texas, with its own, unnavigable rivers, but productive land, acts as a buffer to protect New Orleans from the south and west." Another winner. Propose to delete. (talk) 07:17, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

The latter deletion sounds like a slam dunk. Not sure what the editor was trying to say.
It seems to me that there is something redeemable in the first two sentences. They've got a point. The pov (comparison) should definitely go. But the inland river features of the Mississippi Basin with its transportation ability should be stated somewhere, not excluding the river features/canals that developed the East Coast (Europe did the same, of course). Your call. I guess we can find something better if those two sentences are deleted. Student7 (talk) 13:04, 5 May 2012 (UTC)

Physiographic Divisions[edit]

"It contains the highest point in the contiguous 48 states, Mount Whitney (14,505 ft/4,421 m). Mount Whitney is the highest summit in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet (4,421 m).[1] "

These two sentences state the same thing. Propose to remove one or the other. (talk) 07:25, 30 April 2012 (UTC)

Please do. You needn't feel obliged to discuss this sort of thing. It is "automatic" for the discovering editor. Just do it and fill in the edit summary as to the reason. Student7 (talk) 13:07, 5 May 2012 (UTC)


The following statement is incorrect - "By land area only (exclusive of waters), the United States is the world's third largest country, after Russia and Canada, with Canada second and China fourth"

By land area alone, China is larger than the United States (9,569,901 v 9,158,960). However, it actually IS the 3rd largest by area, because Canada drops to 4th largest by land area only.

By total area: Russia, Canada, China, United States.

By land only: Russia, China, United States, Canada.


The CIA World Factbook is not a good source because its figures use only China's land area, but use ALL water area for the United States, including territorial waters, which should not be included. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:43, 26 December 2013 (UTC)

Largest Lake[edit]

The largest lake is listed as Lake Superior but that lake is not wholly within the US. This should be changed to Lake Michigan. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:02, 28 February 2014 (UTC)

re CIA figures on Canada's land area[edit]

The number given in the new edits from the CIA's factbook does not match what's on Geography of Canada, "Canada ranks fourth in land area (i.e., total area minus the area of lakes and rivers)—China is 9,326,410 km2 (3,600,950 sq mi) and the U.S. is 9,161,923 km2 (3,537,438 sq mi)". from the infobox there Total 9,984,671 km2 (3,855,103 sq mi), of which 91.08% is land, and 8.92% water; that apparently, per the text where "freshwater" is specified, doesn't include large oceanic areas such as Hudson Bay and the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the inter-insular waterways and gulfs of the Arctic and the BC Coast; and lakes and rivers include Great Bear and Great Slave Lakes. "Covering 9,984,670 km2 or 3,855,100 sq mi (land: 9,093,507 km2 or 3,511,023 sq mi; freshwater: 891,163 km2 or 344,080 sq mi), Canada is slightly less than three-fifths as large as Russia and slightly larger than Europe. In total area, Canada is slightly larger than both the U.S. and China; however, Canada ranks fourth in land area (i.e., total area minus the area of lakes and rivers)—China is 9,326,410 km2 (3,600,950 sq mi) and the U.S. is 9,161,923 km2 (3,537,438 sq mi)".Skookum1 (talk) 05:53, 12 February 2015 (UTC)

Intro sentence[edit]

The inclusion of territories and possessions within the geographic extent of the United States reflects the recent consensus arrived at for the United States article. The previous intro sentence omitted the Northern Mariana Islands in the referenced FAM, and the US State Department now includes the five insular territories and minor outlying possessions as within the constitutional framework of the United States as referenced at Common Core Document to U.N. Committee on Human Rights, December 30, 2011, Item 22, 27, 80; Homeland Security Public Law 107-296 Sec.2.(16)(A); Presidential Proclamation of national jurisdiction [1] TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 11:32, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

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