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Tennessee State Flag Tennessee

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The Geography of Tennessee

Click here  for a few definitions.

Longitude / Latitude Longitude: 81° 37'W to 90° 28'W
Latitude: 35°N to 36° 41'N
Tennessee map
Tennessee base and elevation maps
Length x Width Tennessee is about 440 miles long and 120 miles wide.  
Geographic Center
Explanation
The geographic center of Tennessee is located in Rutherford County, 5 miles NE of Murfreesboro.
Longitude: 86° 37.3'W
Latitude: 35° 47.7'N
 
Borders Tennessee is bordered by Kentucky and Virginia on the north and by North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi, on the south. On the east, Tennessee is bordered by North Carolina. On the west, Tennessee is bordered by Missouri and Arkansas.
Total Area Tennessee covers 42,146 square miles, making it the 36th largest of the 50 states.
Land Area 41,220 square miles of Tennessee are land areas.
Water Area 926 square miles of Tennessee are covered by water.
Highest Point The highest point in Tennessee is Clingman's Dome at 6,643 feet above sea level.
Lowest Point The lowest point in Tennessee is 178 feet at the Mississippi River.
Mean Elevation The Mean Elevation of the state of Tennessee is 900 feet above sea level.
Major Rivers Tennessee River, Mississippi River, Cumberland River, Clinch River, Duck River
Major Lakes Kentucky Lake, Norris Lake, Chickamauga Lake, Cherokee Lake, Tims Ford Reservoir

The Land

Stretching 440 miles from east to west, Tennessee characterized by 6 main land regions; The Blue Ridge, the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, the Appalachian Plateau, the Highland Rim, the Nashville Basin, and the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Blue Ridge: The Blue Ridge area lies on the eastern edge of Tennessee, on the border of North Carolina. This region of Tennessee is characterized by high mountains, including the Great Smoky Mountains, the Chilhowee Mountains, and the Snowbird Mountains. The average elevation of the Blue Ridge area is 5,000 feet above sea level. Tennessee's highest point, Clingman's Dome, at 6,643 feet above see level, is found in the Great Smoky Mountains.

Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region: Stretching west from the Blue Ridge for approximately 55 miles is the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region. This area of Tennessee is covered by fertile valleys separated by wooded ridges. The western section of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region, where the valleys become broader and the ridges become lower, is called The Great Valley.

Appalachian Plateau: To the west of the Appalachian Ridge and Valley Region lies the Appalachian Platieau. Also called the Cumberland Plateau, this area is covered with flat-topped mountains separated by sharp valleys. The elevation of the Appalachian Plateau rises to 1,500 to 1,800 feet above sea level. Lookout Mountain, southwest of Chattanooga and in the southern section or the Appalachian Plateau, provides views of seven states.

Highland Rim: To the west of the Appalachian Plateau lies the Highland Rim, an elevated plain that surrounds the Nashville Basin. The northern section of the Highland Rim is sometimes called the Pennyroyal Region.

Nashville Basin: Surrounded by the steep slopes of the Highland Rim is the Nashville Basin. The Nashville Basin is characterized by rich, fertile farm country.

Gulf Coastal Plain: West of the Highland Rim and Nashville Basin lies the Gulf Coastal Plain. The Gulf Coastal Plain is, in terms of area, the predominant land region in Tennessee. It is part of the large geographic land area that begins at the Gulf of Mexico and extends north into southern Illinois. In Tennessee, the Gulf Coastal Plain is divided into three sections that extend from the Tennessee River, in the east, to the Mississippi River in the west.

The easternmost section consists of hilly land that runs along the western bank of the Tennessee River. This section of the Gulf Coastal Plain is about 10 miles wide. To the west of this narrow strip of land is a wide area of rolling hills and streams that stretches all the way to Memphis in western Tennessee. This area is called the Tennessee bottoms or bottom land. In Memphis, the Tennessee Bottoms end in steep bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River. To the west of the Tennessee Bottoms, is the Mississippi Alluvial Plain, less than 300 feet above sea level. This area of lowlands, flood plains, and swamp land is sometimes referred to as The Delta region.

( Tennessee Close-up )

Climate (All temperatures Fahrenheit)
Highest Temperature The highest temperature recorded in Tennessee is 113°, Fahrenheit. This record high was recorded on July 29 and August 9, 1930 at Perryville.
Lowest Temperature The lowest temperature in Tennessee, -32°, was recorded on December 30, 1917 at Mountain City.
Average Temperature Monthly average temperatures range from a high of 91.5 degrees to a low of 27.8 degrees.
Climate Average yearly precipitation for Tennessee, from 1971 to 2000, is shown on this chart from Oregon State University.
Sources:
The World Almanac of the U.S.A. by Allan Carpenter and Carl Provorse, Copyright © 1998
C. Edward Skeen and Charles S. Aiken, "Tennessee," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/550900, August 15, 2001.
The United States Geological Survey Website
Maps.com http://www.maps.com
To South Dakota geography. To Texas geography.

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