A highway is any public or private road or other public way on land. It is used for major roads, but includes other public roads and public tracks: It is not an equivalent term to controlled-access highway, or a translation for autobahn, etc. According to Merriam Webster, the use of the term predates 12th century. According to Etymonline, "high" is in the sense of "main". In North American and Australian English, major roads such as controlled-access highways or arterial roads are state highways. Other roads may be designated "county highways" in the Ontario; these classifications refer to the level of government. In British English, "highway" is a legal term. Everyday use implies roads, while the legal use covers any route or path with a public right of access, including footpaths etc; the term has led to several related derived terms, including highway system, highway code, highway patrol and highwayman. The term highway exists in distinction to "waterway". Major highways are named and numbered by the governments that develop and maintain them.
Australia's Highway 1 is the longest national highway in the world at over 14,500 km or 9,000 mi and runs the entire way around the continent. China has the world's largest network of highways followed by the United States of America; some highways, like the European routes, span multiple countries. Some major highway routes include ferry services, such as U. S. Route 10. Traditionally highways were used on horses, they accommodated carriages and motor cars, facilitated by advancements in road construction. In the 1920s and 1930s, many nations began investing in progressively more modern highway systems to spur commerce and bolster national defense. Major modern highways that connect cities in populous developed and developing countries incorporate features intended to enhance the road's capacity and safety to various degrees; such features include a reduction in the number of locations for user access, the use of dual carriageways with two or more lanes on each carriageway, grade-separated junctions with other roads and modes of transport.
These features are present on highways built as motorways. The general legal definition deals with right of use not the form of construction. A highway is defined in English common law by a number of similarly-worded definitions such as "a way over which all members of the public have the right to pass and repass without hindrance" accompanied by "at all times". A highway might be open to all forms of lawful land traffic or limited to specific types of traffic or combinations of types of traffic. A highway can share ground with a private right of way for which full use is not available to the general public as will be the case with farm roads which the owner may use for any purpose but for which the general public only has a right of use on foot or horseback; the status of highway on most older roads has been gained by established public use while newer roads are dedicated as highways from the time they are adopted. In England and Wales, a public highway is known as "The Queen's Highway"; the core definition of a highway is modified in various legislation for a number of purposes but only for the specific matters dealt with in each such piece of legislation.
This is in the case of bridges and other structures whose ownership, mode of use or availability would otherwise exclude them from the general definition of a highway, examples in recent years are toll bridges and tunnels which have the definition of highway imposed upon them to allow application of most traffic laws to those using them but without causing all of the general obligations or rights of use otherwise applicable to a highway. Scots law is similar to English law with regard to highways but with differing terminology and legislation. What is defined in England as a highway will in Scotland be what is defined by s.151 Roads Act 1984 as a road, that is:- "any way over which there is a public right of passage and includes the road’s verge, any bridge over which, or tunnel through which, the road passes. In American law, the word "highway" is sometimes used to denote any public way used for travel, whether a "road and parkway". Highways have a route number designated by t
A concurrency in a road network is an instance of one physical roadway bearing two or more different route numbers. When two roadways share the same right-of-way, it is sometimes called commons. Other terminology for a concurrency includes overlap, duplex, multiplex, dual routing or triple routing. Concurrent numbering can become common in jurisdictions that allow it. Where multiple routes must pass between a single mountain crossing or over a bridge, or through a major city, it is economically and advantageous for them all to be accommodated on a single physical roadway. In some jurisdictions, concurrent numbering is avoided by posting only one route number on highway signs. Most concurrencies are a combination of two route numbers on the same physical roadway; this is practically advantageous as well as economically advantageous. Some countries allow for concurrencies to occur, others do not allow it to happen. In those nations which do permit concurrencies, it can become common. In these countries, there are a variety of concurrences.
An example of this is the concurrency of Interstate 70 and I-76 on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in western Pennsylvania. I-70 merges with the Pennsylvania Turnpike so the route number can continue east into Maryland. A triple Interstate concurrency is found in Wisconsin along the five-mile section of I-41, I-43, I-894 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; the concurrency of I-41 and I-43 on this roadway is an example of a wrong-way concurrency. The longest Interstate highway concurrency is I-90 for 265 miles across Indiana and Ohio. There are examples of eight-way concurrencies: I-465 around Indianapolis and Georgia State Route 10 Loop around downtown Athens, Georgia. Portions of the 53-mile I-465 overlap with I-74, US Highway 31, US 36, US 40, US 52, US 421, State Road 37 and SR 67—a total of eight other routes. Seven of the eight other designations overlap between exits 46 and 47 to create an eight-way concurrency. In the United States, concurrencies are marked by placing signs for both routes on the same or adjacent posts.
The federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices prescribes that when mounting these adjacent signs together that the numbers will be arranged vertically or horizontally in order of precedence. The order to be used is Interstate Highways, U. S. Highways, state highways, county roads, within each class by increasing numerical value. Several states do not have any concurrencies, instead ending routes on each side of one. There are several circumstances. One example occurs along the Oklahoma–Arkansas state line. At the northern end of this border Oklahoma State Highway 20 runs concurrently with Arkansas Highway 43 and the two highways run north–south along the boundary. Concurrencies are found in Canada. British Columbia Highway 5 continues east for 12 kilometres concurrently with Highway 1 and Highway 97, through Kamloops; this stretch of road, which carries Highway 97 south and Highway 5 north on the same lanes, is the only wrong-way concurrency in British Columbia. In Ontario, the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 403 run concurrently between Burlington and Oakville, forming the province's only concurrency between two 400-series highways.
The concurrency was not in the original plan which intended for both the QEW and Highway 403 to run parallel to each other, as the Hamilton–Brantford and Mississauga sections of Highway 403 were planned to be linked up along the corridor now occupied by Highway 407. It was planned for the Mississauga section of Highway 403 would be renumbered as Highway 410 but this never came to pass. Highway 403 was signed concurrently along the Queen Elizabeth Way in 2002, remedying the discontinuity to avoid confusing drivers that wanted to travel between the two segments without using the toll Highway 407. Nonetheless, many surface street signs referring to that section of freeway with the QEW/Highway 403 concurrency still only use the highway's original designation of QEW, although the MTO has updated route markers on the QEW to reflect the concurrency. In the United Kingdom, routes do not run concurrently with others. Where this would occur, the roadway takes the number of only one of the routes, while the other routes are considered to have a gap and are signed in brackets.
An example is the meeting of the M60 and the M62 northwest of Manchester: the motorways coincide for the seven miles between junctions 12 and 18 but the motorway between those points is only designated as the M60. European route numbers as designated by UNECE may have concurrencies, but since the E-route numbers are unsigned and unused in the UK, the existence of these concurrencies is purely theoretical. In Sweden and Denmark, the most important highways use only the European route numbers that have cardinal directions. In Sweden the E6 and E20 run concurrently for 280 kilometres. In Denmark the E47 and E55 run concurrently for 157 kilometres. There are more shorter concurrencies. There are two stretches in Sweden
U.S. Route 75
U. S. Route 75 is a major north–south U. S. Highway that extends 1,239 miles in the central United States; the highway's northern terminus is in Noyes, Minnesota, at the Canada–US border, where it once continued as Manitoba Highway 75 on the other side of the now-closed border crossing. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 30 and Interstate 45 in Dallas, where it is known as North Central Expressway. U. S. 75 was a cross-country route, from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico at Texas. However, the entire segment south of Dallas has been decommissioned in favor of Interstate 45, a cutoff section of town-to-town surface road having become Texas State Highway 75; the first freeway in Texas was a several-mile stretch of US 75 --The Gulf Freeway, opened to Houston traffic on October 1, 1948. The stretch of US 75 between Interstate 30 and the Oklahoma state line has exits numbered consecutively from 1 to 75, excluding 9-19. All other Texas freeways that have exit numbers are coordinated with mile markers. From Denison north to the Oklahoma border, US 75 is concurrent to U.
S. Route 69. US-75 remains concurrent to US-69 from the Texas border north to Atoka. While US-69 continues to the northeast as a multilane highway, US-75 turns north to serve several small communities between Atoka and Henryetta. Through travellers bypass this segment of US-75 via US-69 and the Indian Nation Turnpike, where the speed limit is 75 miles per hour. From Henryetta through Tulsa and on through Bartlesville to the Kansas State Line, US-75 is once again a multilane highway. In the early 1990s, some portions of US-75 in Oklahoma were slated to become part of the Interstate Highway System; the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act states that "upon the request of the Oklahoma State highway agency, the Secretary shall designate the portion of United States Route 69 from the Oklahoma-Texas State line to Checotah in the State of Oklahoma as a part of the Interstate System." This would have created an Interstate route from Interstate 40 south to the Texas line, including the portion of US-75 co-signed with US-69 south of Atoka.
The legislation was unclear whether the route would enter Texas to connect with or become an extension of Interstate 45. A current plan is to construct a new segment of the Oklahoma Turnpike along the US-69 corridor to bring it to corridor standards. A major north–south artery in Kansas, US-75 enters the state at Caney, it crosses Interstate 35 south of Olivet at the BETO Junction. From I-35 to Melvern Lake, US-75 is a Super-2 highway, with controlled access interchanges at Township Road, K-278, K-31 southbound. From Melvern Lake to just north of Lyndon, US-75 and K-31 share a long concurrency. At U. S. Route 56 near Scranton US-75 becomes a freeway. There is no direct access to the Kansas Turnpike from US-75, but the highway joins with Interstate 470 less than 1 mile from 470's interchange with the turnpike. US-75 and Interstate 470 run together along the west side of Topeka to Interstate 70. US-75 turns east along Interstate 70 for about 3 miles before exiting northbound as a freeway; this freeway segment runs to Elmont becomes an expressway to Holton.
The remainder of US-75 in Kansas is two lanes. The highway exits the state north of Sabetha. There was a US-75 Alternate in Kansas, it was on Topeka Boulevard and was the route US-75 took through Topeka. U. S. 75 enters Nebraska south of Dawson. From Nebraska City northward, it parallels the Missouri River. A brief section which serves as a bypass for Nebraska City is an expressway called the J. Sterling Morton Beltway. Nebraska City itself is served with Business Route U. S. 75. U. S. 75 and U. S. Route 34 overlap from Union to Plattsmouth. North of Plattsmouth, U. S. 75 becomes the Kennedy Freeway, serving as an arterial highway through Bellevue and the South Omaha neighborhood of Omaha. It follows Interstate 480 through central Omaha before branching off as the North Omaha Freeway. From Interstate 680 northward to Nashville U. S. 75 is an expressway. North of Nashville it becomes a two-lane road again, it is concurrent with U. S. Route 30 in Blair, it joins with U. S. Route 77 at Winnebago; the two highways run together until their junction with Interstate 129 and U.
S. Route 20 at South Sioux City. U. S. 75 follows I-129 and U. S. 20 towards the Missouri River and Iowa. U. S. 75 is a major north–south artery in the northwestern corner of Iowa. It enters the state by a Missouri River crossing at Sioux City concurrent with Interstate 129 and U. S. Route 20. U. S. 75 and U. S. 20 run together on a freeway bypass around the southeast side of Sioux City before U. S. 20 turns east at Gordon Drive. U. S. 75 continues as a freeway to the Woodbury County/Plymouth County line, where it becomes an expressway. This expressway becomes a freeway bypass of Le Mars. North of Le Mars, U. S. 75 exits off the freeway bypass, which continues on as Iowa Highway 60, turns north. U. S. 75 continues as a two-lane, undivided highway passing through Sioux Center and Rock Rapids before leaving the state north of Iowa Highway 9. The segment from the Missouri River to LeMars is part of a larger expressway project which will provide a direct connection between Sioux City and the Twin Cities region in Minnesota.
In Minnesota, U. S. 75 stays close to the state's western border. It passes through few large towns. U. S. 75 enters Minnesota south of Luverne near Ash Creek and Steen, passes though Pipestone and Breckenridge. It is the main north–south route through Moorhead. North of Moorhead, the route turns northeast to pass through Crookston turns northwest towards the Red River of t
U.S. Route 14
U. S. Route 14, an east–west route, is one of the original United States highways of 1926, it has a length of 1,398 miles, but it had a peak length of 1,429 miles. For much of its length, it runs parallel to Interstate 90; as of 2004, the highway's eastern terminus is in Chicago, Illinois. Its western terminus is the east entrance of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, with the western terminus of U. S. Route 16 and the western terminus of the eastern segment of U. S. Route 20. U. S. 14 begins at the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park, along with U. S. 16 and the eastern segment of U. S. 20. It travels through the Shoshone National Forest to Cody, where U. S. 14A splits off to the north. Both routes traverse the dry Bighorn Basin, followed by a steep ascent up the Big Horn Mountains and through the Bighorn National Forest, where they rejoin at Burgess Junction; the highway descends the eastern slope of the Bighorns between Burgess Junction and Dayton. U. S. 14 follows I-90 south from Ranchester to Sheridan.
The highway turns east and south to again join I-90 near Gillette. It splits off for a short time to Carlile rejoins I-90 which it follows to the state line; the South Dakota section of U. S. 14, other than a concurrency with Interstate 90, is defined in the South Dakota Codified Laws. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway incorporates U. S. 14 from South Dakota in the west to Rochester, Minnesota, in the east, where the historic roadway continues on U. S. 63. The author moved to De Smet, SD from Walnut Grove, MN via the Chicago and Northwestern, which parallels the highway from the Black Hills to La Crosse, WI. In South Dakota and Minnesota, the road parallels the Rapid City and Eastern Railroad the Dakota and Eastern Railroad. US 14 and US 83 are the only national routes serving Pierre, South Dakota, one of only four state capitals not on the Interstate Highway System. U. S. 14 enters the state from South Dakota west of Lake Benton. It goes east through several small towns such as Balaton, Revere, Lamberton and Sleepy Eye, on a two-lane road until New Ulm, where it is a divided highway.
From New Ulm to Mankato, the highway lies north of the Minnesota River. Shortly before coming to the Mankato/North Mankato area, U. S. 14 becomes a freeway bypass, which becomes an expressway east of Mankato. This section is part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Highway as it passes through Walnut Grove, it continues east south of Waseca and at Owatonna, it crosses Interstate 35. It heads east towards Rochester, with an expressway segment beginning at Minnesota State Highway 56 and continuing east into Rochester. Once it enters Rochester, it has a concurrency with U. S. Route 52. After the concurrency, it continues through Rochester as a divided highway. After Rochester, the highway parallels Interstate 90 until Winona, where U. S. 14 gets picked up by U. S. Route 61; the two highways run concurrently the rest of the way in Minnesota, cross the Mississippi River at La Crescent over the La Crosse West Channel Bridge. U. S. 14 was extended to a full, limited-access freeway from three miles west of Janesville to Interstate 35 at Owatonna.
Most of the new route is located south of the existing alignment so as to avoid overlapping Interstate 35. The expansion was opened to traffic on August 31, 2012, creating a continuous 4-lane route from North Mankato to Owatonna; the section from Waseca to Janesville has yet to be upgraded to freeway standards. The Minnesota section of U. S. 14 is defined as part of Constitutional Route 7 and Trunk Highways 121 and 122 in the Minnesota Statutes. U. S. 14 enters the state of Wisconsin along with U. S. Route 61 across the Mississippi River into La Crosse. Running through rural southern Wisconsin, the route passes through Madison and the village square of Walworth. U. S. 14 exits into Illinois at Big Foot Prairie. In the state of Illinois, U. S. 14 runs southeast from north of Harvard to Chicago via Woodstock and the northwest suburbs. Southeast of Route 47, U. S. 14 has four lanes. Continuing southeastward from just after the overpass above Route 31, U. S. 14 passes beneath and closely parallels the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad's Harvard Subdivision.
Through the northwest suburbs of Chicago, this route is referred to as "Northwest Highway" and is a busy thoroughfare. East of Des Plaines, U. S. 14 becomes Dempster Street until its intersection with Waukegan Road. From here, U. S. 14 follows Waukegan Road, Caldwell Avenue, Peterson Avenue, Ridge Avenue to its eastern end, at the corner of Broadway and U. S. 41. At an earlier point, U. S. 14 extended south on Lake Shore Drive onto Michigan Avenue. U. S. 14 was the "Black and Yellow Trail", so named as it connected Minnesota with the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park. In Chicago's Northwest Suburbs, it is known as Northwest Highway due to its direction as well as it paralleling the old Chicago and North Western railroad It was called the Northwest Highway from Chicago to New Ulm and some street signs in New Ulm and towns in between still show the old designation. From Ucross west to Sheridan, Wyoming, US 14 was designated U. S. Route 116 in 1926. US 116 was extended west to Cody in 1933, absorbing the Deaver-Cody US 420.
The next year, US 116 became an extension of US 14. Part of this extension, including all of US 420, is now US 14A. Wyoming US 16 / US 20 at the East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park, southeast of Pahaska Tepee; the highways travel concurrently to Greybull. US 310 west-northwest of Greybull I‑90 / US 87 northe
Whitewater River (Minnesota)
The Whitewater River is a 16.6-mile-long tributary of the Upper Mississippi River which flows through the Driftless Area of Minnesota, reaching its mouth in Wabasha County at the community of Weaver opposite Buffalo, Wisconsin. The nearest towns are Altura, Saint Charles, Elba; the region hosts endangered native dry oak savannas, semiforested areas that seem to have been dependent on fire for their well-being. The main stem of the Whitewater River is formed by the confluence of the North and Middle forks at Elba, is joined by the South Fork just downstream; the North Fork flows through Wabasha and Winona counties, with a "channel length of 47 km". The upper branches of the Whitewater River system including the portion that flows through Whitewater State Park are designated trout streams. Native brook, wild brown and stocked rainbow trout populate the streams; the state maintains Whitewater State Park on the upper reach of the main stem, on the Middle Fork and on Trout Run Creek. Crystal Springs Fish Hatchery is located on the lower portion of the South Fork.
Whitewater River is the English translation of the native Sioux language name. In the 1990s the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources restored nearly 5 miles of the river to a more natural, meandering form. Designed to allow the river to access its floodplain, the restored section is supposed to disperse high water levels over a wide area and reduce shoreline erosion; the year 1938 saw major sediment deposition along the river. As a result of the 2007 Midwest flooding, the river overtopped its dikes, flooding the town of Elba on August 18, 2007. U. S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Whitewater River, Retrieved July 12, 2007 Whitewater River Watershed Project Retrieved July 12, 2007 "Map". Retrieved July 12, 2007
U.S. Route 52 in Minnesota
U. S. Highway 52 enters the state of Minnesota at the unincorporated community of Prosper, north of the town of Burr Oak, Iowa; the route is marked north–south in Minnesota along its independent segment from the Iowa state line to downtown St. Paul. Highway 52 is not signed along the length of its concurrency with Interstate 94 from downtown St. Paul to the North Dakota state line at Moorhead and Fargo. U. S. 52 enters Fillmore County and heads through the same Driftless Area it ran through in Iowa. The route heads through proceeds north to Chatfield. Highway 52 enters terrain typical of southern Minnesota; this area is farmland for the rest of the length until the route enters the city of Rochester. Highway 52 intersects Interstate 90 south of Rochester, expands to a four-lane freeway north of this junction; the roadway expands further to six lanes around Rochester, from the junction with U. S. 63 to County Road 14, at the northern tip city. U. S. 14 is a major route, connects Owatonna to Rochester.
North of Rochester, Highway 52 becomes a four-lane expressway through the farmland of Olmsted and Goodhue counties. Zumbrota is bypassed by the highway, the route heads to Dakota County. In October 2014, an interchange was completed in Cannon Falls which eliminated the last two traffic lights between St. Paul and Rochester on Highway 52. North of Coates, Highway 52 enters the edge of the Twin Cities area; the route enters Inver Grove Heights where it becomes the Lafayette Freeway north of Concord Boulevard. Highway 52 splits with State Highway 55 north of there. Highway 55 heads to Minneapolis. Interstate 494 intersects 52 in the northern part of Inver Grove Heights; the St. Paul Downtown Airport is right off of Highway 52 in St. Paul. After Highway 52 crosses the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul, the route intersects Interstate 94 and follows I-94 to the North Dakota state line. S. 52 is not signed along the length of this concurrency. U. S. Highway 52 was extended into the state of Minnesota in 1934.
The road replaced the former routing of old U. S. Highway 55 from the Iowa state line to the Twin Cities, the former route of old U. S. Highway 10S from Minneapolis west to North Dakota. Interstate 94 replaced most of the routing of Highway 52 west of St. Cloud, the routing from St. Cloud to Minneapolis was replaced by U. S. Highway 10, U. S. Highway 169, Hennepin County Road 81. Highway 52 was routed along University Avenue through Minneapolis and St. Paul until about 1995. West of here, it turned west onto Washington Avenue that traversed directly through the University of Minnesota and Downtown Minneapolis. Progressing further, it took another left turn at Broadway Street before curving to the northwest towards Robbinsdale, Brooklyn Park and Osseo. Afterwards, it turned right onto what is now US Highway 169 through Champlin and Anoka thus merging onto US Highway 10 towards Elk River and St. Cloud, it turned onto city streets through St. Cloud and back onto the present-day Interstate 94 alignment.
52 was routed along Robert Street through St. Paul, West St. Paul, into Inver Grove Heights until 1995; the Lafayette Bridge which takes the highway across the Mississippi River near downtown St. Paul was built in 1968 and was a "fracture critical" structure, in need of replacement. Construction of the new bridge, which carries six lanes of US-52, was completed in fall of 2015. U. S. Highway 52 was built as an expressway from Rochester to St. Paul in the 1960s; the "ROC52" project expanded the section of Highway 52 in Rochester to a 6-lane freeway in 2005–2006. Between Rochester and the Twin Cities, several at-grade intersections have been converted to interchanges since the 1990s. However, many at-grade intersections remain along this segment of highway. An experimental installation of Cooperative Intersection Collision Avoidance Systems–Stop Sign Assist was installed at the intersection with Goodhue County Road 9, making use of dynamic message signs to show when it is safe to cross or turn onto the highway.
It uses a diagram that looks like a divided highway sign A full-scale field test began in January 2010, though a previous version had been tried at the intersection a few years earlier. The study will run through 2012. Steve Riner Details of Routes 51-75; the Unofficial Minnesota Highways Page. Accessed March 24, 2007. Adam Froehlig US Route 52 Exit List Twin Cities Highways. Accessed August 5, 2007. Matt Salek US 52 Exits: SE Minnesota Upper Midwest Freeway Exit Guides. Accessed August 5, 2007
Minnesota is a state in the Upper Midwest and northern regions of the United States. Minnesota was admitted as the 32nd U. S. state on May 11, 1858, created from the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory. The state has a large number of lakes, is known by the slogan the "Land of 10,000 Lakes", its official motto is L'Étoile du Nord. Minnesota is the 12th largest in area and the 22nd most populous of the U. S. states. This area is the center of transportation, industry and government, while being home to an internationally known arts community; the remainder of the state consists of western prairies now given over to intensive agriculture. Minnesota was inhabited by various indigenous peoples for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. French explorers and fur traders began exploring the region in the 17th century, encountering the Dakota and Ojibwe/Anishinaabe tribes. Much of what is today Minnesota was part of the vast French holding of Louisiana, purchased by the United States in 1803.
Following several territorial reorganizations, Minnesota in its current form was admitted as the country's 32nd state on May 11, 1858. Like many Midwestern states, it remained centered on lumber and agriculture. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, a large number of European immigrants from Scandinavia and Germany, began to settle the state, which remains a center of Scandinavian American and German American culture. In recent decades, immigration from Asia, the Horn of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America has broadened its demographic and cultural composition; the state's economy has diversified, shifting from traditional activities such as agriculture and resource extraction to services and finance. Minnesota's standard of living index is among the highest in the United States, the state is among the best-educated and wealthiest in the nation; the word Minnesota comes from the Dakota name for the Minnesota River: The river got its name from one of two words in the Dakota language,'Mní sóta' which means "clear blue water", or'Mnißota', which means cloudy water.
Native Americans demonstrated the name to early settlers by dropping milk into water and calling it mnisota. Many places in the state have similar names, such as Minnehaha Falls, Minneota, Minnetonka and Minneapolis, a combination of mni and polis, the Greek word for "city". Minnesota is the second northernmost U. S. state and northernmost contiguous state. Its isolated Northwest Angle in Lake of the Woods county is the only part of the 48 contiguous states lying north of the 49th parallel; the state is part of the U. S. region known as part of North America's Great Lakes Region. It shares a Lake Superior water border with Michigan and a land and water border with Wisconsin to the east. Iowa is to the south, North Dakota and South Dakota are to the west, the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are to the north. With 86,943 square miles, or 2.25% of the United States, Minnesota is the 12th-largest state. Minnesota has gneisses that are about 3.6 billion years old. About 2.7 billion years ago, basaltic lava poured out of cracks in the floor of the primordial ocean.
The roots of these volcanic mountains and the action of Precambrian seas formed the Iron Range of northern Minnesota. Following a period of volcanism 1.1 billion years ago, Minnesota's geological activity has been more subdued, with no volcanism or mountain formation, but with repeated incursions of the sea, which left behind multiple strata of sedimentary rock. In more recent times, massive ice sheets at least one kilometer thick ravaged the state's landscape and sculpted its terrain; the Wisconsin glaciation left 12,000 years ago. These glaciers covered all of Minnesota except the far southeast, an area characterized by steep hills and streams that cut into the bedrock; this area is known as the Driftless Zone for its absence of glacial drift. Much of the remainder of the state outside the northeast has 50 feet or more of glacial till left behind as the last glaciers retreated. Gigantic Lake Agassiz formed in the northwest 13,000 years ago, its bed created the fertile Red River valley, its outflow, glacial River Warren, carved the valley of the Minnesota River and the Upper Mississippi downstream from Fort Snelling.
Minnesota is geologically quiet today. The state's high point is Eagle Mountain at 2,301 feet, only 13 miles away from the low of 601 feet at the shore of Lake Superior. Notwithstanding dramatic local differences in elevation, much of the state is a rolling peneplain. Two major drainage divides meet in Minnesota's northeast in rural Hibbing, forming a triple watershed. Precipitation can follow the Mississippi River south to the Gulf of Mexico, the Saint Lawrence Seaway east to the Atlantic Ocean, or the Hudson Bay watershed to the Arctic Ocean; the state's nickname, "Land of 10,000 Lakes", is apt, as there are 11,842 Minnesota lakes over 10 acres in size. Minnesota's portion of Lake Superior is the largest at 962,700 acres and deepest body of wate