The diversity of our nation's landscape can be seen on a shaded relief map of the United States. There is a noticeably stark contrast from the 'rough' texture of the western US to the 'smooth' central and eastern regions. Differences in topographic relief result from a variety of processes acting on the underlying rock.
Explore Regional Geology
Over Earth's 4.5 billion-year history, tectonic upheavals and colliding plates have formed mountain ranges and carved out basins. Forces of erosion and weathering have been at work to breakdown these landforms. Records of these processes remain imprinted as textural variations and surface patterns that define distinctive landscapes or provinces.