Landforms and Waterforms in California: {facts were found from the book: "Celebrate The States, California by Linda Jacobs Altman.}



  • Northwest corner of state: Heavily forested Klamath Moutains. Mountains reach 8,000 foot elevations. Range includes soaring Trinity Alps. (carved by ancient glaciers)
  • East part of state: To the East lies the volcanic Cascade Range. It's tallest peak, Mout Shasta, is a dormant volcano. Mout Lassen, 85 miles to Southeast, one of two volcanos to have errupted in the twenieth century in the Continental United States. (Last errupted in 1921)

The Central Valley:

Oval valley that runs down the center of California

  • It has one of the most fertile agricultural areas in the world. T
  • The rich valley soil was washed down from surrounding moutains, making it excellent for many crops.
  • Crops include, cotton, grains, nuts, rice, fruits, sugar beets, and all kinds of vegstables.
  • The valley is a workaday place.

The Deserts:

  • Part of a huge area known as the Great Basin lies along the boarder of Nevada.
  • As it reaches in Northern California it turns into treeless highlands dotted with lava beds.
  • The Southeastern portion includes Death Valley, which extends 140 miles through Eastern California and Western Nevada.
  • To the South and East of this Basin are the Colorado and Mojave Deserts.
  • Mojave is a largely barren, with great pastel vistas that seem to stretch on forever.
  • The Colorado is made up of the Coachella and Imperia Valleys, areas that have been irrigated to provide excellent farmland.


  • California's principal rivers are the Sacramento in the North and the San Joaquin in the south.
  • Most of the other large rivers in the state flow into one of these two.
  • In the south, the Colorado river flows down from the Rocky Moutains to form CA's southeastern border.
  • California has relatively few natural lakes.
  • The largest body of frestwater entirely within the state is Clear Lake.
  • Clear Lake is some one hundred miles north of San Francisco.
  • Lake Tahoe, which is larger, is located partly in Nevada.
  • Other natural lakes are Goose, Eagle, and Mono.
  • They are all in the northern part of California.
  • The Salton Sea, in the desert of the Imperial Valley, was once the bed of an acient lake.
  • In 1905, the Colorado River flooded, filling the basin and creating an inland sea that lies some 232 feet below sea level.
  • Because the Salton Sea has no natural outlets, water that flows into it is trapped there.
  • Over the years, that water has become almost as salty as the ocean itself.
  • Most of California's freshwater lakes are actually reservoirs.
  • Water has always been a problem in California; the northern part of the state has it, but the southern part does not.
  • Southern California gets only 30% of the states annual rainfall but uses 80% of the water supply.
  • Lakes Shasta, Berryessa, Folsom, Isabella, Cachoma, and Arrowhead are just a few of the better known reservoirs.
  • From these artificial lakes, a vast system of aqueducts moves the water to where it is needed.

Natural Resources:

  • Natural Resources in CA include oil, fish, gold, and natural gas.


  • The climate in California-
  • Northwest California has a temperate climate with rainfall of 15 inches of precipitation per year.
  • Some areas of Coast Redwood forest get over 100 inches of precipitation per year.
  • The high mountains have a mountain climate with snow in the winter and mild to moderate heat in the summer.
  • East to mountains is a drier rain shadow. California's desert climate regions lie east of the high Sierra Nevada and southern California's Transverse Ranges and Peninsular Ranges.
  • The low deserts east of the southern California mountains have hot summers and nearly frostless, mild winters.
  • The higher elevation deserts of eastern California which includes The Great Basin Region has hot summers and cold winters.
  • During the summer months, especially from July through early September the region is affected by the Mexican Monsoon, which drives moisture from the tropical Pacific, Gulf of California, and/or Gulf of Mexico into the deserts, setting off brief, but often torrential thunderstorms, particularly over mountainous terrian.

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