ARIZONA: GENERAL ASPECTS

The State of Arizona is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. The capital and largest city is Phoenix. The second largest city is Tucson, followed in size by the four Phoenix metropolitan area cities of Mesa, Glendale, Chandler, and Scottsdale.

Arizona was the 48th and last of the contiguous states, admitted to the Union on February 14, 1912, the 50th anniversary of Arizona's recognition as a territory of the United States. Arizona is noted for its desert climate, exceptionally hot summers, and mild winters, but the high country in the north features pine forests and mountain ranges with cooler weather than the lower deserts. Population figures for the year ending July 1, 2006, indicate that Arizona was, at that time, the fastest growing state in the United States, exceeding the growth of the previous leader, Nevada, and is currently the second. Arizona has had more female governors than any other U.S. state.

Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. It borders New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, touches Colorado, and has a 389-mile (626 km) international border with the states of Sonora and Baja California in Mexico. Because of its strong association with Southern California, it is sometimes considered a part of the West Coast region, despite not having a coastline. It is the largest landlocked US State by population. In addition to the Grand Canyon, many other national forests, parks, monuments, and Indian reservations are located in the state.

FLAG OF ARIZONA
Arizona state seal
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University located in Prescott, AZ
Grand Canyon
Littlefield located outside the Virgin River Gorge is an isolated community in the Mojave Desert.
Meteor Crater
Monument Valley in the northeastern part of the state is famous for its scenery and Hollywood Western films.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
View from Mogollon Rim

Arizona is located in the western United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state in area, after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state's 113,998 square miles (295,000 km2), approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.

Arizona is best known for its desert landscape, which is rich in xerophyte plants such as the cactus. It is also known for its climate, which presents exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country of the Colorado Plateau in the north-central portion of the state, which contrasts with the desert Basin and Range region in the southern portions of the state.

Like other states of the Southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topographical characteristics in addition to its desert climate. Mountains and plateaus are found in more than half of the state. Despite the state's aridity, 27% of Arizona is forest [6], a percentage comparable to modern day France or Germany. The largest stand in the world of Ponderosa pine trees is contained in Arizona.[7] The Mogollon Rim, a 1,998 feet (609 m) escarpment, cuts across the central section of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where the state experienced its worst forest fire ever in 2002. Arizona belongs firmly within the Basin and Range region of North America. The region was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by a cooling-off and related subsidence. The entire region is slowly sinking.

The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River, in northern Arizona. The canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park—one of the first national parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of designating the Grand Canyon area, visiting on numerous occasions to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery. The canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6 to 29 km) and attains a depth of more than 1 mile (1.6 km). Nearly 2 billion years of the Earth's history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted.

Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. The Barringer Meteorite Crater (better known simply as "Meteor Crater") is a gigantic hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater itself is nearly a mile wide, and 570 feet (170 m) deep.

Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except in the Navajo Nation, located in the northeastern region of the state.

Luciano Mende

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