19 Facts About Great Plains


Great Plains, sometimes simply "the Plains", is a broad expanse of flatland in North America.

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Term "Great Plains" usually refers specifically to the United States portion of the ecozone while the Canadian portion is known as the Canadian Prairies.

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Term "Great Plains" is used in the United States to describe a sub-section of the even more vast Interior Plains physiographic division, which covers much of the interior of North America.

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The Great Plains ecoregion includes five sub-regions: Temperate Prairies, West-Central Semi-Arid Prairies, South-Central Semi-Arid Prairies, Texas Louisiana Coastal Plains, and Tamaulipas-Texas Semi-Arid Plain, which overlap or expand upon other Great Plains designations.

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Current thinking regarding the geographic boundaries of the Great Plains is shown by this map at the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

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Great Plains are the westernmost portion of the vast North American Interior Plains, which extend east to the Appalachian Plateau.

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Great Plains consist of a broad stretch of country underlain by nearly horizontal strata extending westward from the 97th meridian west to the base of the Rocky Mountains, a distance of 300 to 500 miles .

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In general, the Great Plains have a wide range of weather, with very cold and harsh winters and very hot and humid summers.

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The southeastern portion of the Great Plains is the most tornado active area in the world and is sometimes referred to as Tornado Alley.

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Great Plains are part of the floristic North American Prairies Province, which extends from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachians.

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The black-tailed prairie dog is another iconic species among several rodents that are linked to the region including the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, spotted ground squirrel, Franklin's ground squirrel, plains pocket gopher, hispid pocket mouse, olive-backed pocket mouse, plains pocket mouse, and plains harvest mouse, Two carnivores associated with the Great Plains include the swift fox and the endangered black-footed ferret .

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Fish: Some species predominately associated with various river basins in the Great Plains include sturgeon chub, peppered chub, prairie chub, western silvery minnow, plains minnow, smalleye shiner, Arkansas River shiner, Red River shiner, Topeka shiner, plains topminnow, plains killifish, Red River pupfish, and Arkansas darter .

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Public and protected lands in the Great Plains include National Parks and National Monuments, administers by the National Park Service with the responsibility of preserving ecological and historical places and making them available to the public.

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Eastern portions of the Great Plains were inhabited by tribes who lived at Etzanoa and in semi-permanent villages of earth lodges, such as the Arikara, Mandan, Pawnee, and Wichita.

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The Spanish thought that the Great Plains were the location of the mythological Quivira and Cibola, a place said to be rich in gold.

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Between a half and two-thirds of the Great Plains Indians are thought to have died of smallpox by the time of the Louisiana Purchase.

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Much of the Great Plains became open range where cattle roamed free, hosting ranching operations where anyone was free to run cattle.

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Center pivot irrigation is used extensively in drier sections of the Great Plains, resulting in aquifer depletion at a rate that is greater than the ground's ability to recharge.

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Great Plains contributes substantially to wind power in the United States.

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