The Geography of North Dakota
Click here for a few definitions.
|Longitude / Latitude
||Longitude: 97°W to 104°W
Latitude: 45° 55'N to 49°N
|Length x Width
||North Dakota is about 340 miles long and 211 miles wide.
of North Dakota is located in Sheridan County, 5 miles SW of McClusky.
Longitude: 100° 34.1'W
Latitude: 47° 24.7'N
||North Dakota is bordered by Canada on the north and by South
Dakota on the south. On the east, North Dakota is bordered by
Minnesota and on the west, North Dakota is
bordered by Montana.
||North Dakota covers 70,704 square miles, making it the 19th largest of the
||68,994 square miles of North Dakota are land areas.
||1,710 square miles of North Dakota are covered by water.
||The highest point in North Dakota is White Butte at 3,506 feet
above sea level.
||The lowest point in North Dakota is the Red River at 750 feet above
||The Mean Elevation of the state of North Dakota is 1,900 feet above sea level.
||James River, Missouri River, Red River
||Lake Sakakawea, Lake Oahe
|From east to west, North Dakota is divided into three geographic regions. In
the east is the Red River Valley. To the west of the Red River Valley is the Drift
Prairie. The southwestern half of North Dakota is covered by the Great Plains.
The Red River Valley is flat. It lies along the border of Minnesota and is one
of the most fertile areas in the world. This area of North Dakota is farm
country and wheat and other crops cover the area along with livestock.
To the west of the Red River Valley is the Drift Prairie, rising from 200 to
2,000 feet over the Red River Valley. The Drift Prairie is separated from the
Red River Valley in the north by the Pembina Hills. This area is marked by rolling
hills, stream valleys, and numerous lakes where thousands of ducks nest every year.
In the north are the Turtle Mountains.
About half of North Dakota is covered by the Great Plains. The Great Plains, in
the southwestern section of the state, rise about 300 to 400 feet above the Drift
Prairie east of the Missouri River. The area is hilly and rich in mineral deposits.
Along the Missouri River, the land is lower. This area is called the Missouri Break.
To the south and west of the river is an area of rugged valleys and buttes called
The Badlands lie in southwestern North Dakota. This strip of beautiful monuments
to nature stretches about 190 miles and is about 6 to 20 miles wide. The Badlands
are a valley of stone and clay where wind and water have shaped the land into
strange and beautiful formations; buttes, pyramids, domes, and cones colored in
shades of browns, reds, grays, and yellows. In some areas of the Badlands the
rocks contain lignite coal that has been burning for many years. The clay above
these coal beds has turned bright pink and red. White Butte, the highest point in
North Dakota stands 3,506 feet above sea level in the Badlands.
( North Dakota Close-up )
|Climate (All temperatures Fahrenheit)
||The highest temperature recorded in North Dakota is 121°, Fahrenheit. This record high
was recorded on July 6, 1936 at Steele.
||The lowest temperature in North Dakota, -60°, was recorded on February 15, 1936 at Parshall.
||Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 84.4 degrees to a low of -5.1 degrees.
||Average yearly precipitation for North Dakota, from 1971 to 2000, is shown on
this chart from Oregon State University.