Link to USGS home page
A Tapestry of Time and Terrain:
The Union of Two Maps - Geology and Topography
Tapestry Main Page
top bar
Back to Boundaries Physiographic Regions NEW!   Solve the
Puzzle of Regions

Requires Flash Plug-in
Physigraphic Regions of the US
An interpretative tool that can help make sense out of the large amount of information contained in this map is the regional classification shown here. Geomorphic, or physiographic, regions are broad-scale subdivisions based on terrain texture, rock type, and geologic structure and history. Nevin Fenneman's (1946) three-tiered classification of the United States - by division, province, and section - has provided an enduring spatial organization for the great variety of physical features. The composite image presented here clearly shows the topographic textures and generalized geology (by age) from which the physical regions were synthesized. The features we describe represent many of these subdivisions.

PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS OF THE LOWER 48 UNITED STATES

LAURENTIAN UPLAND
  1. Superior Upland
ATLANTIC PLAIN
  1. Continental Shelf (not on map)
  2. Coastal Plain
    1. Embayed section
    2. Sea Island section
    3. Floridian section
    4. East Gulf Coastal Plain
    5. Mississippi Alluvial Plain
    6. West Gulf Coastal Plain
APPALACHIAN HIGHLANDS
  1. Piedmont province
    1. Piedmont Upland
    2. Piedmont Lowlands
  2. Blue Ridge province
    1. Northern section
    2. Southern section
  3. Valley and Ridge province
    1. Tennessee section
    2. Middle section
    3. Hudson Valley
  4. St. Lawrence Valley
    1. Champlain section
    2. Northern section (not on map)
  5. Appalachian Plateaus province
    1. Mohawk section
    2. Catskill section
    3. Southern New York section
    4. Allegheny Mountain section
    5. Kanawha section
    6. Cumberland Plateau section
    7. Cumberland Mountain section
  6. New England Province
    1. Seaboard Lowland section
    2. New England Upland section
    3. White Mountain section
    4. Green Mountain section
    5. Taconic section
  7. Adirondack province
INTERIOR PLAINS
  1. Interior Low Plateaus
    1. Highland Rim section
    2. Lexington Plain
    3. Nashville Basin
  2. Central Lowland
    1. Eastern Lake section
    2. Western Lake section
    3. Wisconsin Driftless section
    4. Till Plains
    5. Dissected Till Plains
    6. Osage Plains
  3. Great Plains province
    1. Missouri Plateau, glaciated
    2. Missouri Plateau, unglaciated
    3. Black Hills
    4. High Plains
    5. Plains Border
    6. Colorado Piedmont
    7. Raton section
    8. Pecos Valley
    9. Edwards Plateau
    10. Central Texas section
INTERIOR HIGHLANDS
  1. Ozark Plateaus
    1. Springfield-Salem plateaus
    2. Boston "Mountains"
  2. Ouachita province
    1. Arkansas Valley
    2. Ouachita Mountains
ROCKY MOUNTAIN SYSTEM
  1. Southern Rocky Mountains
  2. Wyoming Basin
  3. Middle Rocky Mountains
  4. Northern Rocky Mountains
INTERMONTANE PLATEAUS
  1. Columbia Plateau
    1. Walla Walla Plateau
    2. Blue Mountain section
    3. Payette section
    4. Snake River Plain
    5. Harney section
  2. Colorado Plateaus
    1. High Plateaus of Utah
    2. Uinta Basin
    3. Canyon Lands
    4. Navajo section
    5. Grand Canyon section
    6. Datil section
  3. Basin and Range province
    1. Great Basin
    2. Sonoran Desert
    3. Salton Trough
    4. Mexican Highland
    5. Sacramento section
PACIFIC MOUNTAIN SYSTEM
  1. Cascade-Sierra Mountains
    1. Northern Cascade Mountains
    2. Middle Cascade Mountains
    3. Southern Cascade Mountains
    4. Sierra Nevada
  2. Pacific Border province
    1. Puget Trough
    2. Olympic Mountains
    3. Oregon Coast Range
    4. Klamath Mountains
    5. California Trough
    6. California Coast Ranges
    7. Los Angeles Ranges
  3. Lower California province

bottom bar

U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
Contact: Administrator
Last Modification: 17 April, 2003 (tel)
USGS Privacy Policy