Golden Gate National Recreation Area
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area is a U. S. National Recreation Area protecting 80,002 acres of ecologically and historically significant landscapes surrounding the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of the park is land used by the United States Army. GGNRA is managed by the National Park Service and is one of the most visited units of the National Park system in the United States, with more than 15 million visitors a year. It is one of the largest urban parks in the world, the park is not one continuous locale, but rather a collection of areas that stretch from southern San Mateo County to northern Marin County, and includes several areas of San Francisco. The park is as diverse as it is expansive, it contains famous tourist attractions such as Muir Woods National Monument, the park was created thanks to the cooperative legislative efforts of cosponsors Congressman William S. Mailliard and Congressman Phillip Burton. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed into law An Act to Establish the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the bill allocated $120 million for land acquisition and development.
The National Park Service first purchased Alcatraz and Fort Mason from the U. S. Army, the Nature Conservancy transferred the land to the GGNRA. These properties formed the basis for the park. Throughout the next 30 years, the National Park service acquired land and historic sites from the U. S. Army, private landowners and corporations, incorporating them into the GGNRA. Many decommissioned Army bases and fortifications were incorporated into the park, including Fort Funston, four Nike missile sites, The Presidio, the latest acquisition by the National Park Service is Mori Point, a small parcel of land on the Pacifica coast. In 1988, UNESCO designated the GGNRA and 12 adjacent protected areas the Golden Gate Biosphere Reserve, the property, located south of Pacifica and surrounding the communities of Moss Beach and Montara, is home to many diverse plant and animal species. The bill passed in the Senate, but did not pass the House of Representatives, Fort Baker - former Army post located on the northern side of the Golden Gate Headlands Center for the Arts - an artist residency program set in renovated military buildings in the Marin Headlands.
Nike Missile Site SF-88 - a decommissioned Army surface-to-air missile site located near Fort Barry, located at the southwestern corner of the Presidio Battery Chamberlin - one of the last remaining coastal defense disappearing guns on the U. S. Trails lead across the ridge and to Sharp Park beach, the site includes recently restored wetlands and a pond, protecting endangered San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog habitat. Rancho Corral de Tierra - the GGNRAs newest park, Golden Gate National Recreation Area Scenery Video, a video showing the scenery observed from the GGNRA, including footage from Lands End
Sequoia National Park
Sequoia National Park is a national park in the southern Sierra Nevada east of Visalia, California, in the United States. It was established on September 25,1890, the park is south of and contiguous with Kings Canyon National Park, the two are administered by the National Park Service together as the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. They were designated the UNESCO Sequoia-Kings Canyon Biosphere Reserve in 1976, the park is famous for its giant sequoia trees, including the General Sherman tree, the largest tree on Earth. The General Sherman tree grows in the Giant Forest, which five out of the ten largest trees in the world. The Giant Forest is connected by the Generals Highway to Kings Canyon National Parks General Grant Grove, the parks giant sequoia forests are part of 202,430 acres of old-growth forests shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Indeed, the preserve a landscape that still resembles the southern Sierra Nevada before Euro-American settlement. Many park visitors enter Sequoia National Park through its entrance near the town of Three Rivers at Ash Mountain at 1,700 ft elevation.
The last California grizzly was killed in this park in 1922, the California Black Oak is a key transition species between the chaparral and higher elevation conifer forest. At higher elevations in the front country, between 5,500 and 9,000 feet in elevation, the landscape becomes montane forest-dominated coniferous belt, found here are Ponderosa, Jeffrey and lodgepole pine trees, as well as abundant white and red fir. Found here too are the giant sequoia trees, the most massive living single-stem trees on earth, between the trees and summer snowmelts sometimes fan out to form lush, though delicate, meadows. In this region, visitors often see deer, Douglas squirrels, and American black bears. There are plans to reintroduce the bighorn sheep to this park, the vast majority of the park is roadless wilderness, no road crosses the Sierra Nevada within the parks boundaries. 84 percent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks is designated wilderness and is only by foot or by horseback. Sequoias backcountry offers a vast expanse of high-alpine wonders, covering the highest-elevation region of the High Sierra, the backcountry includes Mount Whitney on the eastern border of the park, accessible from the Giant Forest via the High Sierra Trail.
On the floor of canyon, at least two days hike from the nearest road, is the Kern Canyon hot spring, a popular resting point for weary backpackers. From the floor of Kern Canyon, the trail ascends again over 8,000 ft to the summit of Mount Whitney, in the summertime, Native Americans would travel over the high mountain passes to trade with tribes to the East. By the time the first European settlers arrived in the area, smallpox had spread to the region. The first European settler to homestead in the area was Hale Tharp, Tharp allowed his cattle to graze the meadow, but at the same time had a respect for the grandeur of the forest and led early battles against logging in the area
Muir Woods National Monument
Muir Woods National Monument is a unit of the National Park Service on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, California. It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is 12 miles north of San Francisco and it protects 554 acres, of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest, due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during droughty seasons, the monument is cool and moist year round with average daytime temperatures between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Rainfall is heavy during the winter and summers are almost completely dry with the exception of fog drip caused by the fog passing through the trees.
Annual precipitation in the ranges from 39.4 inches in the lower valley to 47.2 inches higher up in the mountain slopes. The redwoods grow on brown humus-rich loam which may be gravelly and this soil has been assigned to the Centissima series, which is always found on sloping ground. It is well drained, moderately deep, and slightly to moderately acidic and it has developed from a mélange in the Franciscan Formation. More open areas of the park have shallow gravelly loam of the Barnabe series, one hundred and fifty million years ago ancestors of redwood and sequoia trees grew throughout the United States. Today, the Sequoia sempervirens can be only in a narrow, cool coastal belt from Monterey, California. Before the logging industry came to California, there were an estimated 2 million acres of old growth forest containing redwoods growing in a strip along the coast. By the early 20th century, most of these forests had been cut down, just north of the San Francisco Bay, one valley named Redwood Canyon remained uncut, mainly due to its relative inaccessibility.
He and his wife, Elizabeth Thacher Kent, purchased 611 acres of land from the Tamalpais Land and Water Company for $45,000 with the goal of protecting the redwoods and the mountain above them. In 1907, a company in nearby Sausalito planned to dam Redwood Creek. When Kent objected to the plan, the company threatened to use eminent domain. Kent sidestepped the water companys plot by donating 295 acres of the redwood forest to the federal government, on January 9,1908, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the land a National Monument, the first to be created from land donated by a private individual. President Roosevelt agreed, writing back, MY DEAR MR, responding to some photographs of Muir Woods that Mr. Kent had sent him, Those are awfully good photos. Kent and Muir had become friends over shared views of wilderness preservation, in December 1928, the Kent Memorial was erected at the Kent Tree in Fern Canyon
Angel Island (California)
Angel Island is an island in San Francisco Bay offering expansive 360° views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin County Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The entire island is included within Angel Island State Park and is administered by California State Parks, Angel Island is the second largest island in area of the San Francisco Bay. The island is so large that on a day and Napa can be seen from the north side of the island. The highest point on the island, almost exactly at its center, is Mount Caroline Livermore at a height of 788 feet, the island is separated from the mainland of Marin County by Raccoon Strait, the depth of the water approximately 90 feet. The United States Census Bureau reported an area of 3.107 km². Until about ten years ago, Angel Island was connected to the mainland. From about two years ago the island was a fishing and hunting site for Coast Miwok Native Americans. Similar evidence of Native American settlement is found on the mainland of the Tiburon Peninsula upon Ring Mountain.
In 1775, the Spanish naval vessel San Carlos made the first European entry to the San Francisco Bay under the command of Juan de Ayala, Ayala anchored off Angel Island, and gave it its modern name, the bay where he anchored is now known as Ayala Cove. In his book Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, Richard Henry Dana, like much of the California coast, Angel Island was subsequently used for cattle ranching. In 1863, during the American Civil War, the U. S. Army was concerned about Confederate naval raiders attacking San Francisco and it decided to construct artillery batteries on Angel Island, first at Stuart Point and Point Knox. Col. René Edward De Russy was the Chief Engineer, James Terry Gardiner was the engineer tasked with designing and supervising the work. The Army established a camp on the island, and it became an infantry garrison during the US campaigns against Native American peoples in the West. In the 19th century, the designated the entire island as Fort McDowell and developed further facilities there.
A quarantine station was opened in Ayala Cove in 1891, during the Spanish–American War the island served as a discharge depot for returning troops. It continued to serve as a transit station throughout the first half of the 20th century, at the end of World War I the disembarkation center was commanded by William P. Burnham, who had commanded the 82nd Division in France during the war. In 1938, hearings concerning charges of membership in a political party against labor leader Harry Bridges were held on Angel Island before Dean James Landis of Harvard Law School. After eleven weeks of testimony that filled nearly 8,500 pages, the decision was accepted by the United States Department of Labor and Bridges was freed
Cabrillo National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument is at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28,1542 and this event marked the first time a European expedition had set foot on what became the West Coast of the United States. The site was designated as California Historical Landmark #56 in 1932, as with all historical units of the National Park Service, Cabrillo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15,1966. The annual Cabrillo Festival Open House is held on a Sunday each October and it commemorates Cabrillo with a reenactment of his landing at Ballast Point, in San Diego Bay. The park offers a view of San Diegos harbor and skyline, as well as Coronado, on clear days, a wide expanse of the Pacific Ocean and Mexicos Coronado Islands are visible. A visitor center screens a film about Cabrillos voyage and has exhibits about the expedition, the Old Point Loma Lighthouse is the highest point in the park and has been a San Diego icon since 1855.
The lighthouse was closed in 1891, and a new one opened at an elevation, because fog. The old lighthouse is now a museum, and visitors may enter it, the area encompassed by the national monument includes various former military installations, such as coastal artillery batteries, built to protect the harbor of San Diego from enemy warships. Many of these installations can be seen walking around the area. A former army building hosts an exhibit that tells the story of history at Point Loma. The area near the monument entrance was used for gliding activities in 1929-1935. Even Charles Lindbergh soared in a Bowlus sailplane along the cliffs of Point Loma in 1930, markers for these accomplishments can be found near the entrance, and the site is recognized as a National Soaring Landmark by the National Soaring Museum. On October 14,1913, by proclamation, Woodrow Wilson reserved 0.5 acres of Fort Rosecrans for The Order of Panama. To construct a statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo. In 1939 the Portuguese government commissioned a statue of Cabrillo.
The sandstone statue, executed by sculptor Alvaro de Bree, is 14 feet tall, the statue was intended for the Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco but arrived too late and was stored in an Oakland, California garage. Then-State Senator Ed Fletcher managed to obtain the statue in 1940 over the objections of Bay Area officials and it was stored for several years on the grounds of the Naval Training Center San Diego, out of public view, and was finally installed at Cabrillo Monument in 1949. The sandstone statue suffered severe weathering because of its position and was replaced in 1988 by a replica made of limestone
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, the park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, valleys and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has declared an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 91% of the park is a wilderness area. It is the hottest and lowest of the parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, the park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep and the Death Valley pupfish, several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams, the valley became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies.
Tourism blossomed in the 1920s, when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994. The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology, the valley itself is actually a graben. The oldest rocks are metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean, additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. This uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes, the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, in 2013, Death Valley National Park was designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association. There are two valleys in the park, Death Valley and Panamint Valley. Both of these valleys were formed within the last few million years, the result of this shearing action is additional extension in the central part of Death Valley which causes a slight widening and more subsidence there.
Uplift of surrounding mountain ranges and subsidence of the floor are both occurring. The uplift on the Black Mountains is so fast that the fans there are small
Bureau of Land Management
President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies, the General Land Office and the Grazing Service. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states, Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The mission of the BLM is to sustain the health, originally BLM holdings were described as land nobody wanted because homesteaders had passed them by. All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits, the agency manages 221 wilderness areas,23 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Landscape Conservation System totaling about 30 million acres. There are more than 63,000 oil and gas wells on BLM public lands, total energy leases generated approximately $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states, and Native American groups. The BLMs roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and these laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution.
As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain and other countries, the United States Congress directed that they be explored, during the Revolutionary War, military bounty land was promised to soldiers who fought for the colonies. After the war, the Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed by the United States, France, in the 1780s, other states relinquished their own claims to land in modern-day Ohio. By this time, the United States needed revenue to function, Land was sold so that the government would have money to survive. In order to sell the land, surveys needed to be conducted, the Land Ordinance of 1785 instructed a geographer to oversee this work as undertaken by a group of surveyors. The first years of surveying were completed by trial and error, once the territory of Ohio had been surveyed, in 1812, Congress established the General Land Office as part of the Department of the Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands. By the early 1800s, promised bounty land claims were finally fulfilled, over the years, other bounty land and homestead laws were enacted to dispose of federal land.
Several different types of patents existed and these include cash entry, homestead, military warrants, mineral certificates, private land claims, state selections, town sites, and town lots. A system of land offices spread throughout the territories, patenting land that was surveyed via the corresponding Office of the Surveyor General of a particular territory. This pattern gradually spread across the entire United States, the laws that spurred this system with the exception of the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 have since been repealed or superseded. The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed leasing and production of selected commodities, such as coal, gas, the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees. The Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937, commonly referred as the O&C Act, in 1946, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior.
It took several years for new agency to integrate and reorganize
Redwood National and State Parks
The Redwood National and State Parks are old-growth temperate rainforests located in the United States, along the coast of northern California. Comprising Redwood National Park and Californias Del Norte Coast, Jedediah Smith, and Prairie Creek Redwoods State Parks, the combined RNSP contain 139,000 acres. Located entirely within Del Norte and Humboldt Counties, the four parks, protect 45% of all remaining coast redwood old-growth forests and these trees are the tallest and one of the most massive tree species on Earth. In addition to the forests, the parks preserve other indigenous flora, grassland prairie, cultural resources, portions of rivers and other streams. In 1850, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2,000,000 acres of the California coast, the northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others turned gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region. Failing in efforts to strike it rich in gold, these men turned toward harvesting the giant trees for booming development in San Francisco, after many decades of unrestricted clear-cut logging, serious efforts toward conservation began.
Redwood National Park was created in 1968, by which time nearly 90% of the redwood trees had been logged. The ecosystem of the RNSP preserves a number of threatened species such as the tidewater goby, Chinook salmon, northern spotted owl. Modern day native groups such as the Yurok, Karok and Wiyot all have ties to the region. Archaeological study shows they arrived in the area as far back as 3,000 years ago, an 1852 census determined that the Yurok were the most numerous, with 55 villages and an estimated population of 2,500. They used the abundant redwood, which with its grain was easily split into planks, as a building material for boats, houses. For buildings, the planks would be erected side by side in a trench, with the upper portions bound with leather strapping. Redwood boards were used to form a sloping roof. Previous to Jedediah Smith in 1828, no other explorer of European descent is known to have investigated the inland region away from the immediate coast. The discovery of gold along the Trinity River in 1850 led to a secondary rush in California.
This brought miners into the area and many stayed on at the coast after failing to strike it rich and this quickly led to conflicts wherein native peoples were placed under great strain, if not forcibly removed or massacred. By 1895, only one third of the Yurok in one group of villages remained, by 1919, the miners logged redwoods for building, when this minor gold rush ended, some of them turned again to logging, cutting down the giant redwood trees. Representative John E. Raker, of California, became the first politician to introduce legislation for the creation of a national park
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Lassen Volcanic National Park is a United States National Park in northeastern California. The dominant feature of the park is Lassen Peak, the largest plug dome volcano in the world, Lassen Volcanic National Park started as two separate national monuments designated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, Cinder Cone National Monument and Lassen Peak National Monument. The source of heat for volcanism in the Lassen area is subduction off the Northern California coast of the Gorda Plate diving below the North American Plate, the area surrounding Lassen Peak is still active with boiling mud pots, stinking fumaroles, and churning hot springs. Lassen Volcanic National Park is one of the few areas in the world where all four types of volcano can be found, the park is accessible via State Routes SR89 and SR44. SR89 passes north-south through the park, beginning at SR36 to the south, SR89 passes immediately adjacent the base of Lassen Peak. A large lodge with concession facilities was located near the south-west entrance, a new, full-service visitor center was constructed in the same location, and opened to the public in 2008.
Near the old location was located Lassen Ski Area. Native Americans have inhabited the area long before white settlers first saw Lassen. The natives knew that the peak was full of fire and water, White immigrants in the mid-19th century used Lassen Peak as a landmark on their trek to the fertile Sacramento Valley. One of the guides to these immigrants was a Danish blacksmith named Peter Lassen, Lassen Peak was named after him. Nobles Emigrant Trail was cut through the area and passed Cinder Cone. Inconsistent newspaper accounts reported by witnesses from 1850 to 1851 described seeing fire thrown to a terrible height, as late as 1859, a witness reported seeing fire in the sky from a distance, attributing it to an eruption. Early geologists and volcanologists who studied the Cinder Cone concluded the last eruption occurred between 1675 and 1700, after the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens, the United States Geological Survey began reassessing the potential risk of other active volcanic areas in the Cascade Range.
Further study of Cinder Cone estimated the last eruption occurred between 1630 and 1670, recent tree-ring analysis has placed the date at 1666. The Lassen area was first protected by being designated as the Lassen Peak Forest Preserve, Lassen Peak and Cinder Cone were declared as U. S. National Monuments in May 1907 by President Theodore Roosevelt. Starting in May 1914 and lasting until 1921, a series of minor to major eruptions occurred on Lassen and these events created a new crater, and released lava and a great deal of ash. Fortunately, because of warnings, no one was killed, because of the eruptive activity, which continued through 1917, and the areas stark volcanic beauty, Lassen Peak, Cinder Cone and the area surrounding were declared a National Park on August 9,1916. The 29-mile Main Park Road was constructed between 1925 and 1931, just 10 years after Lassen Peak erupted, near Lassen Peak the road reaches 8,512 feet, making it the highest road in the Cascade Mountains
California is the most populous state in the United States and the third most extensive by area. Located on the western coast of the U. S, California is bordered by the other U. S. states of Oregon and Arizona and shares an international border with the Mexican state of Baja California. Los Angeles is Californias most populous city, and the second largest after New York City. The Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nations second- and fifth-most populous urban regions, California has the nations most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The Central Valley, an agricultural area, dominates the states center. What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish Empire claimed it as part of Alta California in their New Spain colony. The area became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its war for independence.
The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, the California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale emigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom. If it were a country, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world, fifty-eight percent of the states economy is centered on finance, real estate services and professional, scientific and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5 percent of the states economy, the story of Calafia is recorded in a 1510 work The Adventures of Esplandián, written as a sequel to Amadis de Gaula by Spanish adventure writer Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The kingdom of Queen Calafia, according to Montalvo, was said to be a land inhabited by griffins and other strange beasts. This conventional wisdom that California was an island, with maps drawn to reflect this belief, shortened forms of the states name include CA, Cal. Calif. and US-CA.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior. California groups were diverse in their organization with bands, villages. Trade and military alliances fostered many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups, the first European effort to explore the coast as far north as the Russian River was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Portuguese captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542. Some 37 years English explorer Francis Drake explored and claimed a portion of the California coast in 1579. Spanish traders made unintended visits with the Manila galleons on their trips from the Philippines beginning in 1565
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its resources. The organization has four science disciplines, concerning biology, geology. The USGS is a research organization with no regulatory responsibility. The USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior, the USGS employs approximately 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia. The USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, the current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is science for a changing world. The agencys previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its anniversary, was Earth Science in the Public Service. Prompted by a report from the National Academy of Sciences, the USGS was created, by a last-minute amendment and it was charged with the classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain.
This task was driven by the need to inventory the vast lands added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the legislation provided that the Hayden and Wheeler surveys be discontinued as of June 30,1879. Clarence King, the first director of USGS, assembled the new organization from disparate regional survey agencies, after a short tenure, King was succeeded in the directors chair by John Wesley Powell. Administratively, it is divided into a Headquarters unit and six Regional Units, Other specific programs include, Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide. The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location, the USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System. The USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, and it maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research.
It conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards, USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time, the USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online, since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. USGS operates a number of related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program. USGS Water data is available from their National Water Information System database
Forty-eight of the fifty states and the federal district are contiguous and located in North America between Canada and Mexico. The state of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east, the state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean, the geography and wildlife of the country are extremely diverse. At 3.8 million square miles and with over 324 million people, the United States is the worlds third- or fourth-largest country by area, third-largest by land area. It is one of the worlds most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, paleo-Indians migrated from Asia to the North American mainland at least 15,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century, the United States emerged from 13 British colonies along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the following the Seven Years War led to the American Revolution. On July 4,1776, during the course of the American Revolutionary War, the war ended in 1783 with recognition of the independence of the United States by Great Britain, representing the first successful war of independence against a European power.
The current constitution was adopted in 1788, after the Articles of Confederation, the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, were ratified in 1791 and designed to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties. During the second half of the 19th century, the American Civil War led to the end of slavery in the country. By the end of century, the United States extended into the Pacific Ocean. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the status as a global military power. The end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the sole superpower. The U. S. is a member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States. The United States is a developed country, with the worlds largest economy by nominal GDP. It ranks highly in several measures of performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP. While the U. S. economy is considered post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge economy, the United States is a prominent political and cultural force internationally, and a leader in scientific research and technological innovations.
In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America after the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci