About North Dakota

  • North Dakota is the 17th largest state. From east to west it covers 335 miles. North Dakota is right in the middle of North America. North Dakota is 1,500 miles from the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

    North Dakota's surface was formed by a series of glaciers over the last million years.

    Before people were living in North Dakota, all of the land was grassland except for about 2%.

    North Dakota averages 32 inches of snow a year. However, in 1996-97, Fargo received 119 inches of snow.

    North Dakota is one of the driest states in the country. The Western portion of the state is semi-arrid. It doesn't have many trees.

Four Division of North Dakota

  • Drift Prairie:


    This is the middle part of North Dakota. It is called "drift" because drift is glacial deposit. Also because of glaciers, there are ponds and other small bodies of water. This area is a rolling plain. Devil's lake can be found here, too. It is the largest natural lake in North Dakota. In recent years Devil's Lake has become too large. Several years of above average precipitation, and no natural outlet to the basin, has caused millions of dollars in flood damage.

    Red River Valley:


    The Red River Valley is the eastern strip of North Dakota next to the Red River. It is the lowest area of land in North Dakota. The soil is extra good for farming and planting because that area was once part of the bed of Lake Agassiz. This part is often called "The Breadbasket of World" because large amounts of wheat are grown here. Sugarbeets, corn, and potatoes are also grown.

    Missouri Plateau:


    A plateau is an area of high flat land. The Missouri Plateau covers about two-fifths of the state. It is located in the Southwest part of N.D. It is the highest part of the state at 2,400 ft. above sea level. The landforms here were not formed mainly from glaciers, but from water, wind, and fire. In fact, most of this area was not covered by Lake Agassiz.

    Slope Region:

    The Slope Region of North Dakota is located west and south of the Missouri River. It is actually a subsection of the Missouri Plateau. The Slope Region is the only area that was not affected by glaciers. Wind and water have been responsible for carving out the landscape. Familiar geographical attractions that are located in the Slope include: The Badlands, The Killdeer Mountains, and North Dakota's highest elevations, White Butte. White Butte reaches 3,506 feet above sea level.

Mountainous Areas

  • Turtle Mountains:


    The Turtle Mountains are so small they aren't considered mountains, but hills. The Turtle Mountains are located on the Missouri Plateau. Long ago a glacier covered the Turtle Mountains. The glacier didn't wear down the mountains, it just left a layer of drift. The Turtle Mountains range 400 to 800 ft. They cover 400 square miles of North Dakota.

    North Dakota Badlands:


    The North Dakota Badlands were established by congress in 1947 as what is now called Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Sculpted by nature for more than 5 million years into an infinite valley of buttes ,tablelands, valleys, and gorges, it is a sight to behold. The Badlands rugged topography is one of the scenic wonders of the West. Theodore Roosevelt National Park was named after our twenty-sixth president.

    The Badlands are formed in an elevated area that has been severely eroded and incised with gullies. The Badlands lack a protective vegetation and occasional rainfall will form runoff gullies. The term Badlands was first used for a region of the Great Plains. Two protected areas of the Badlands remain in their natural state. The Badlands National Monument covers 985 sq km; fossil remains of the saber-toothed cat, the three-toed horse, and other early mammal fossils have been found there. Reptile and bird fossils have been found there too. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park covers 285 sq km of the Badlands. Little vegetation or animal life exists, but the beautiful scenery draws many tourists every year.

Glacial Areas

  • Long ago it, snowed hard, and much that the snow packed down into thick ice from the pressure. The snow kept on packing down into ice from any snow that was laid above it, and eventually, the ice became two miles thick. Therefore, it could not melt in the summer. Now the ice toward the bottom of the glacier was great enough to force the bottom to slide along. This is how glaciers moved. They cracked down everything in their path. When the glaciers finally melted, the water of course couldn't just disappear, so it formed Lake Agassiz. It was bigger than all of the Great Lakes combined. It covered an area 1200 miles long. It eventually emptied into the Hudson Bay, which was north of it. Lake Agassiz is largely responsible for the rich soil in the Red River Valley. The soil there is considered to be some of the richest in the world.

Geographic Center of North America: Rugby, North Dakota

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