Physiographic Mapping

What is a physiographic province?

A physiographic province is a delineation of a geographic area by at least one physical attribute that relates that geographic area together (i.e. elevation).

Why are physiographic maps important?

Physiographic maps are important because they display various physical characteristics (i.e. elevation, time of creation) in a given area (i.e. the United States) thus grouping similar places of similar physical characteristics into a province.

Map & Explantation of Physiographic Provinces

Physiographic Map created from elevation data of North America
Physiographic Map created from elevation data of North America
  1. American Interior – This province was determined by looking at the elevation range 50-500m and a rolling relief which was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being less than one meter. The province starts at the United States border with Canada and runs down to the United States border with Mexico. The Eastern border of the province borders the higher “Appalachian Mountains” province and the Chattahoochee River. In the West, this province borders the higher “Rocky Mountains” province. The larger part of the Southern extent of the province borders the lower “Gulf Coast” province.
  2. Appalachian Mountains – Is determined by the elevation range 500- 5,000m and moderate relief whish was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being greater than one meter. This province rises above the surrounding “American Interior” and “East Coast” provinces.
  3. Atlantic Coast – Has been determined as the province that borders the Atlantic Ocean which is to the province’s east. The elevation range is -84-50m and has a flat relief which was defined as mean divided by standard divination being less than one and a half meters.
  4. East Coast – Has an elevation range of 50-500m like the “American Interior” province 500m and a rolling relief which was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being less than one meter. To the north the province runs to the United States and Canada border. In the east it is bordered by the lower “Atlantic Coast” province. Similarly the southern border is defined by the lower “Gulf Coast” province. The western border is comprised of the higher “Appalachian Mountains” province and the Chattahoochee River.
  5. Great California Valley – Is a province which has an elevation range of -84-500m and has a flat relief which was defined as mean divided by standard divination being less than one and a half meters. It is almost totally engulfed by the higher “Rocky Mountains” province. “West Coast” province borders this province in the west.
  6. Gulf Coast – Was determined as the province that borders the Gulf of Mexico which is to the province’s south. The elevation range is -84-50m and has a flat relief which was defined as mean divided by standard divination being less than one and a half meters.
  7. Rocky Mountains – Have an elevation range of 500-5,000m and a high relief which was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being greater than one meter. This province rises above those surrounding it which includes the “American Interior”, “Southwest Valleys”, “West Coast”, and “Great California Valley”.
  8. Southwest Valleys – This province was determined by the elevation range -84-500m and a rolling relief which was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being less than one meter. It, like the “Great California Valley” province, is almost totally engulfed by the “Rocky Mountains” province.
  9. West Coast – The elevation range of this province is -84-500m and a rolling relief which was defined as slope mean divided by slope standard deviation being less than one meter. It is bordered to the east by the “Rocky Mountains” and “Great California Valley” provinces. To the west it is bordered by the Pacific Ocean.

How could one of these provinces be sub-divided into more refined provinces?

An example of how one of my provinces could be sub-divided could be along the lines of geographic time periods. For example, the “American Interior” province could be split up by land forms that were created during the Cretaceous, Proterozoic, Paleozoic, Mesozoic, Paleogene, Neogene, Tertiary, and Quaternary periods of time.

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