The United States of America is the second largest country in North America. 6.9% of the country's surface area is made up of water masses. The country is made up of one federal district, 50 states, and five self-governing regions. In this article, we explore the northernmost, southernmost, westernmost, easternmost, lowest and highest points of the US.
6. Northernmost Point in the US
Point Barrow, located at 71°23′20″N 156°28′45″W, is the northernmost point of the United States. It is found on the Arctic Coast of Alaska. There exists a distance of 1,291 miles from the North Pole. This point is named after British geographer, Sir John Barrow. It was named by Explorer Frederick William Beechey. Point Barrow is known for its ice conditions that manifest throughout most of the year. It normally has about 3 months that are ice-free. This conditions posed difficulties for early explorers like William Pullen, Thomas Simpson, and John Franklin to access it during the 1800s.
Point Barrow is significant as a geographical landmark, as well as an expedition site and an archaeological site. It is a mark demarcating the Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea. Both are marginal sea of the Arctic. For years, this point has been used for expeditions as a jumping-off point. There have been artifacts pointing to the Thule culture which points to ancestors of the Iñupiat people.
5. Southernmost Point in the US
The southernmost point of the US is Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. It is found at the South Pole at a 9,306 feet elevation. This United States Scientific Station was built in 1956. Temperatures experienced range from -13.6 to -82.8 degrees Celsius, with an annual average of -49 degrees Celsius. The areas around the station experience less ice accumulation compared to the rest of Antarctica, thus are habitable. The people found in this station are mainly researchers, considering that this station offers a perfect site for placing a space telescope.
At the South Pole, the sun rises and sets only once. This means that people in those areas experience six straight days and six straight nights. A dry atmosphere with forceful blizzards and continuous periods of darkness are associated with the six month night period. These are particularly significant in astronomical observations.
4. Westernmost Point in the US
Point Udall in Guam is the westernmost point of the Unites States. It was originally referred to as Orote Point. It is located at the mouth of Apra Harbor, on the Orote Peninsula of Guam. This point’s name was adopted in the year 1987 in honor of Morris Udall, who was a former congressman for the state of Arizona. The change of the name from Orote Point to Point Udall was officially done in May 1987 by Joseph Franklin, the then Governor of Guam. This was in line with Denny Smith’s proposal.
3. Easternmost Point in the US
By travel, Point Udall in the US Virgin Islands is the easternmost point of the United States of America. It is found at St. Croix on the east end. It was named after a United States Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, who served under presidents Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy. This point is known for the Millenium Monument and its geology. The Millenium Monument is situated above this point and is a mark for the azimuth of the first US sunrise of the year 2000. The monument was erected for the New Year’s celebration. The areas around Point Udall here have a unique geology composed of rotated and uplifted volcanic rock.
2. Highest Point in the US
Denali, formerly known as Mount McKinley, is considered the highest point of the US. The highest point of this mountain is at 6,190 meters above the sea level. Denali has the highest mountain peak in the North American continent. After Mount Everest and Aconcagua, it is the third most isolated and the third most prominent peak in the world. Denali is characterized by two summits and a 387 meter prominence. It also has glaciers off the mountain slopes namely Ruth, Traleika, Muldrow, Peters and Kahiitna Glaciers.
1. Lowest Point in the US
The Badwater Basin represents the lowest point of the US. It is located in the Death Valley, particularly the Death Valley National Park, in California. It is a poor drainage water basin that is about 282 feet deep. The water in this basin is undrinkable. This is in part attributed to the accumulated salts over time which are as a result of repeated evaporation cycles. It supports plant and animal life. Those seen in the Badwater basin are aquatic insects, badwater snails, and pickleweed. The basin is a popular site for tourists. Evaporation may also lead to deposition of salts as clean crystals or cause crusted shapely basin bed once all the water evaporates.