Land area: 423,970 square kilometers (3rd place of all states in the USA)
Share of water surface: 4.7%
Population: 36.76 million (2008), making California by far the most populous state in the United States.
Population density: 87 residents per square kilometer (11th place of all states in the USA)
Member of the United States since: September 9, 1850
Capital: Sacramento (476,000 residents, 2007, metropolitan area 2.09 million residents)
Largest city: Los Angeles (3.85 million residents, 2006, metropolitan area 17.8 million residents)
Highest point: 4,418 m, Mt Whitney (highest point of the contiguous US states).
Lowest point: – 86 m, Death Valley
Governor: Arnold Schwarzenegger (Republican)
Lieut. Governor: John Garamendi (Democrat)
Local time: CET -9 h. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November: CET -8 h. The time difference to Central Europe is -9 h in both winter and summer.
Postal abbreviation: CA
According to ehotelat, California is located on two tectonic plates that meet over the San Andreas Fault. This is the reason why this region is often hit by earthquakes.
California is 411,000 km² and is the third largest state in the USA after Alaska and Texas. The area of California corresponds roughly to Paraguay and Iraq. The state extends from north to south over 1200 kilometers, from west to east over about 400 kilometers.
California is bounded to the west by the Pacific Ocean, to the south by the Mexican state of Baja California, to the southeast by Arizona, to the east by Nevada and to the north byOregon.
The highest point of the contiguous US states (Mt. Whitney, 4,418 m) is in California. About 100 kilometers from Mt Whitney extends the desert area Death Valley (Valley of Death), here is the lowest point in the USA (Badwater, – 85.5 m). Death Valley was so named by the first settlers because they often suffered great heat here on their treks without finding any water sources.
California is known for numerous national and nature parks, the most famous of which is Yosemite National Park.
The California geography is very rich in forms. In California you can find the fertile long valley, alpine mountains, deserts and foggy coasts.
California is often divided into Northern and Southern California. According to the US Geological Survey, the geographic center of the state is in North Fork.
From a geomorphological point of view, California can be divided into 11 clearly distinguishable regions. From north to south these are: Klamath Mountains, Cascade Range, Modoc Plateau, Basin and Range, Coast Range, Central Valley, Sierra Nevada, Transverse Range, Mojave Desert, Peninsular Ranges and Colorado Desert.
The Klamath Mountains are located in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon. The highest point is reached in Thompson Peak (2,744 m). The Klamath Mountains have a very diverse geology, large areas are carved by serpentine and marble stones. There is little rainfall in summer. In the Klamath Mountains there are several endemic plants (including foxtail pine and Siskiyou spruce.
Cascade Range –
Cascade Range) The mountainous region of the Cascade Range extends from British Columbia in Canadato northern California. The cascade chain is part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, a ring of volcanoes on the edge of the Pacific. All previously known volcanic eruptions in the USA took place in the cascade region. Lassen Peak (the southernmost volcano in the Cascade Range) was the last volcano to erupt in 1921.
In northeastern California is the Modoc Plateau, which extends into the US states of Nevada and Oregon.
Basin and Range
is an extensive arid region that includes the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts of Mexicoheard. The dry, drainless Great Basin is located in the east of the Sierra Nevada and is largely in the state of Nevada.
In the large basin there are numerous mountain ranges and valleys (Owens Valley is the deepest valley in North America at more than 3000 m).
Mono Lake is the oldest lake in North America. In the Great Basin, numerous dried up lakes were also found that have not had any water since the last ice age. Salts such as borax can be found in some of these lakes (including Owens Lake and in the Valley of Death).
The Coast Range is a coastal mountain range that covers approximately 109,000 km². These mountains also include the Santa Cruz Mountains in the south of San Francisco and the Diablo Range in the east of the city. The coast of northern San Francisco is characterized by frequent fog and precipitation.
Central Valley – California’s long valley
The extensive (about 77,700 km²) and fertile California Long Valley (English: Central Valley) is located between the coastal mountains and the Sierra Nevada. In the north of the long valley lies the Sacramento Valley, named after the river of the same name. In the south of the long valley is the San Joaquin Valley, which is also named after a river. The third important river in the long valley is the Kings River, which flows into San Francisco Bay. There are several inland ports on the rivers, and the city of Stockton also has a seaport.
The Sierra Nevada (Spanish: snow-covered mountains), shaped by glaciers, is located in eastern California. This mountain range reaches a length of 600 km in north-south direction. Near the place Lone Pine you can find the highest point in the contiguous US states (Mount Whitney, 4,421 m).
The Sierra Nevada has a characteristic continental climate – warm summers and cold winters. In the central Sierra Nevada is the Yosemite Valley with the large and deep Lake Tahoe.
The three largest national parks in this mountain range are Yosemite, Kings Canyon and Seqouia National Park.
The Transverse Ranges is also sometimes called the Los Angeles Ranges. It runs untypically for California in a west-east direction. The Tehachapi Mountains are part of the Transverse Ranges.
Mojave Desert – Mojave Desert
The approximately 35,000 km² Mojave Desert is located in southeastern California, but also extends to Arizona, Utah and Nevada. The boundaries of the desert are the high plains of San Bernadino, the Tehachapi Mountains and the San Andreas Fault to the west.
The Peninsular Ranges in the east of San Diego extends to Baja California in Mexico. They are the southernmost mountain range in California. This mountain range includes the Sierra San Pedro Mártir in Mexzu, the Palomar Mountain Range, the San Jacinto Mountains, the Laguna Mountains and the Santa Ana Mountains.
Colorado Desert – The Colorado Desert
in the south of California and in the northwest of Mexico extends the approximately 39,000 km² Colorado Desert. After a dam on the Colorado River broke in 1905 and water poured into the Colorado desert, the Salton Sea, the largest lake in California, was created near the border with Mexico. The Colorado desert is up to 100 m below sea level.