The USA is the 4th largest country in the world (after Russia, Canada and China). It is situated in central North America and stretches from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. It borders on Canada in the north and Mexico in the south and has a sea-border with Russia. It also includes Alaska and Hawaii. The total area of the country is 9,4 million square kilometres. The enormous size of the country influences the diversity of landscape, climate and even people.
The USA is a federal republic, a union of 50 states. The capital of the country Washington is situated in a special federal area called the District of Columbia.
The population of the country is about 260 million people. They are the people of all races and nationalities, either descendants of immigrants or immigrants who have come to America from all the countries of the world in search of independence and self-realization. It's impossible to generalize about the weather, the landscape and the way of living because the nation occupies nearly half of a continent, which is divided into 4 time zones and has almost every type of climate. If you look at the map of the USA you'll see snow-topped mountains and flat prairies, fertile valleys and deserts, the areas of tropical heat and arctic cold.
One of the most important geographical boundaries in the USA is the 50-centimetre rainfall line, which runs from north to south almost through the middle of the country. East of the line farming, is relatively easy and the population is large. There are man-made irrigation systems, dry farming, grazing and fewer people west of the line.
The West is a mountainous area of the Rocky Mountains, the Cordillera and the Sierra Nevada. The highest peak is Mount McKinley in Alaska (6,000 metres). As compared with the Appalachians in the east, the Rocky Mountains are sharp and. rugged, over 4,000 metres high, rich in gold, copper, lead, silver and other minerals.
The USA has many thousands of streams. Some of them are mighty rivers, which flow lazily across the valleys. Others rush swiftly down deep canyons and steep gorges. The longest are the Mississippi (6,400 kilometres), «the farther of waters»., the Missouri (1,600 kilometres) «too thin to plough and too thick to drink», the Colorado wild, restless and angry, the Columbia full of quiet dignity and the Rio Grand (3,200 kilometres), a national boundary between the USA and Mexico. The Colorado forms the Grand Canyon, which strikes one's imagination as a fabulous phenomenon of nature. Its perpendicular walls go up to 1,500 metres above the river level. The USA has thousands of lakes of all kinds and sizes. The Great Lakes make up the largest group; they are the greatest collection of fresh water lakes in the world with the total area equal to that of Great Britain,. Here the famous Niagara Falls precipitate from the height of 50 metres. Among salty lakes the Great Salt Lake in Utah and the Salton Sea in California are the most famous. They are rich in salt (6,000 million tons).
The climate of the country varies greatly from arctic in Alaska, through continental in the central part to subtropical in the south. The climate along the Pacific coast is warmer than that of th6 Atlantic coast. The temperature changes little between winter and summer there. In the eastern part the difference between summer and winter is distinct, but not so extreme as in the north central part where the difference between winter and summer is 36 degrees С and even more.
Among the largest cities of the USA are New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco and others. But a great proportion of the country consists of open land marked with farm-houses and small towns.
The USA is one of the greatest industrial and leading agricultural nations in the world. With only about 5% of the world's population and about 6% of its land area, the USA produces around 25% of the world's industrial products, agricultural goods and services. It's the world's leader in biochemical and genetic engineering, aerospace research and development, communications, computer and information services and similar high-technology fields. One of the reasons is America's vitality, its spirit of enterprise and initiative as well as its size and natural resources.