The third largest country in the world, the United States spans the North American continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific, covering a huge range of ecosystems and some of the world's most extreme geographic features.
The lowest point of elevation in North America is Badwater Basin, in Death Valley, California, at 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. Death Valley also holds the record for the highest recorded air temperature on Earth, 134 °F (57°C), recorded on July 10, 1913.
The highest point in the United States and the North American continent is Mount McKinley (Denali) at 20, 320 ft (6,190 m) in Alaska.
The geographic center of all 50 states is 20 miles (32 km) north of Belle Fourche, South Dakota, while the geographic center of the of the 48 contiguous states is 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Lebanon, Kansas.
The most remote part in the United States is the Ipnavik River in Alaska, located 120 miles (190 km) from the nearest settlement. The point further from the ocean (the continental pole of inaccessibility) is located in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 1,025 (1,650 km) from the nearest coastline.
The longest river is the Mississippi, flowing 2,530 miles (4,070 km) from the northern Minnesota to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River is the fourth longest river on Earth and the tenth largest river by water flow.
The largest lake is Lake Superior, bordering Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada. It is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area.
The northernmost point in the 50 states is Point Barrow, Alaska; the southernmost, Ka Lae, Hawaii; the westernmost, Cape Wrangell, Alaska; and the easternmost, West Quoddy Head, Maine (although some of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands cross the 180th median and are technically further east, although they are west of the International Dateline).
Mauna Kea in Hawaii reaches only 13, 796 ft (4,205 m) above sea level but when measures from the seafloor it is over 32,000 ft (10,000 m), making it taller than Mount Everest and the tallest mountain in the world.
Yellowstone National Park sits on top of a vast volcanic caldera that last erupted 640,000 years ago. Geologists closely monitor the rise and fall of the Yellowstone Plateau to track changes in the magna chamber pressure and don’t expect an explosion within the foreseeable future.