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Arizona is a U.S. state located in the Southwestern United States. It is best known for its desert landscape, including cacti. Arizona is also known for its exceptional hot summers and mild winters. Less well known is the pine-covered high country in the north-central portion of the state, which contrasts with the lower deserts of the state. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states, situated south and east of the Colorado River. It borders New-Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, touches Colorado, and has a 389-mile (626 km) international border with Mexico. Aside from the Grand Canyon, many other National Forests, Parks, Monuments, and Indian Reservations are located in the state. Arizona was the 48th state admitted in the U.S. (1912) and the last of the contiguous states to be admitted in the Union.
Nickname(s): The Grand Canyon State, The Copper State
Official Language(s): None Capital: Phoenix Largest City: Phoenix Area: ranked 6th Total: 113,998 square miles (295,254 square km) Width: 310 miles (500 square km) Lenght: 400 miles (645 square km) Percentage water: 0.32 Latitude: 31 degree 20' N to 37 degree N Longitude: 109 degree 3' W to 114 degree 50' W Population: ranked 20th Total (2000): 5,130,632 Density: 45.2 square miles (17.43 square km) ranked 36th Elevation: Highest Point: Humphrey Peaks 12,633 ft (3,851 m) Mean Point: 4,100 ft (1,250 m) Lowest Point: ColoradoRiver 70 ft (21m) Admission to Union: February 14, 1912 Governor: Janet Napolitano: U.S. Senators: John Mc Cain (R) , Jon Kyle (R) Time Zone: Mountain UTC 7 Abbreviations: AZ US- AZ Website: www.az.gov Animal: Ringtail Bird: Cactus Wren Butterfly: Two-Tailed Swallowtail Fish: Apache Trout Flower: saguoro Blossom Furbearer: Ringtail Cat Grass: none Insect: Two-Tailed Swallowtail Reptile: Ridgenose Rattlesnake Tree: Palo Verde Wildflower: None Beverage: None Colors: Blue, Old Gold Dance: Unknown Fossil: Petrified Wood Gemstone: Turquoise Mineral: Fire Agate Motto: DITAT DEUS (Gold Enriches) Musical Instrument: None Neckware: Bola Tie Rock: Petrified Wood Game: Unknown Ship(s): 3 Navy Ships named USS Arizona Song(s): "Arizona March Song", "Arizona" Soil: Arizona Casa Grande Tartan: None Waltz: None
Of the 118,000 square miles, approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is government forest and park land, recreation areas and Native American Reservations. Like other states of the Southwest, Arizona has an abundance of topographical characteristics in addition to its desert climes. More than half of the state features mountains and plateaus and contains the largest stand of Ponderosa pine in the United States. The Mogollan Rim, a 2000-foot (600 m) escarpment, cuts across the central section of the state and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, where the state has experienced its worst forest fire ever in 2002. Arizona belongs firmly within the Basin and Range Province of North America. The region was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by a cooling-off and related subsidence. The entire region is slowly sinking. The Grand Canyon is a colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River, in northern Arizona. The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world and is largely contained in the Grand Canyon National Park - one of the first National Parks in the United States. President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of the Grand Canyon area, visiting on numerous occasions to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery. The Canyon, created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, is about 277 miles (446 km) long, ranges in width from 4 to 18 miles (6 to 29 km) and attains a depth of more than 1 mile (1.6 km). Nearly 2 billion years of the Earth's history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted. Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, except in the Navajo nation located in the northeastern region of the state.
Due to its large area and variations in elevation, the state has a wide variety of localized climate conditions. In the lower elevations, the climate is primarily desert, with mild winters and hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15°C). November through February are the coldest months with temperatures typically ranging from 40–75 °F (4–24 °C), although occasional frosts are not uncommon. About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise again with warm days, and cool breezy nights. The summer months of May through August bring a dry heat ranging from 90–120 °F (32–48 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 125 °F (52 °C) having been observed in the desert area. Due to the primarily dry climate, large temperature swings often occur between day and night, with some as large as 50 °F (28 °C) in the summer months. However, the northern third of Arizona is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers. Extreme cold temperatures are not unknown; cold air systems from the northern states and Canada occasionally push into the state, bringing temperatures below 0 °F (–18 °C) to the higher parts of the state. Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 inches (322 mm), which comes during two rainy seasons, with cold fronts coming from the Pacific Ocean during the winter and a monsoon in the summer.The monsoon season occurs from the middle of July through August and brings lightning, thunderstorms, wind, and torrential, if usually brief, downpours. It is rare for tornadoes and hurricanes to occur in Arizona, but there are records of both occurring. Indicative of the variation in climate, Arizona is the state which has both the metropolitan area with the most days over 100 °F (37.8 °C) (Phoenix), and the metropolitan area in the lower 48 states with nearly the most days with a low temperature below freezing (Flagstaff).
|Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Arizona Cities|
|Source: US National Climatic Data Center|
There is some disagreement over the proper etymology of the name "Arizona." The two most likely explanations are that it derives from a Basque phrase aritz onak, "good oaks" or that it comes from an O'odham phrase ali ?onak, "small spring". The former etymology is the one preferred by Arizona state historian Marshall Trimble, among other specialists. The name Arizonac was initially applied to the silver mining camp, and later (shortened to Arizona) to the entire territory.Meeting its original native inhabitants, Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, explored the area in 1539. The expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–42 during its search for Cíbola. Father Kino developed a chain of missions and taught the Indians Christianity in Pimería Alta (now southern Arizona and northern Sonora) in the 1690s and early 1700s. Spain founded fortified towns (presidios) at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. When Mexico achieved its independence from Spain in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of the Mexican State Nueva California, also known as Alta California. In the Mexican–American War (1847), the U.S. occupied Mexico City and forced the newly founded Mexican Republic to give up its northern territories, including the later Arizona. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) specified that the U.S. pay Mexico the sum of $15 Million US in compensation. In 1853 the land below the Gila River was acquired from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase. Arizona was administered as part of the Territory of New Mexico until southern New Mexico seceded from the Union as the Confederate Territory of Arizona on March 16, 1861. This is the first official use of the name. A new Arizona Territory, consisting of the western half of New Mexico Territory was declared in Washington, D.C. on February 24, 1863. The new boundaries would later form the basis of the state.Other names including "Gadsonia", "Pimeria", "Montezuma", "Arizuma", and "Arizonia" had been considered for the territory, however when President Lincoln signed the final bill, it read "Arizona", and the name became permanent. (Montezuma was not the Mexican Emperor, but the sacred name of a divine hero to the Pueblo people of the Gila valley, and was probably considered — and rejected — for its sentimental value, before the name "Arizona" was settled upon.)Brigham Young sent Mormons to Arizona in the mid-to-late 19th century. They founded Mesa, Snowflake, Heber, Safford and other towns. They also settled in the Phoenix Valley (or "Valley of the Sun"), Tempe, Prescott, among other areas. The Mormons settled what became known as Northern Arizona and northern New Mexico, but these areas were located in a part of the former New Mexico Territory. The largest ancestry of these settlers is German American.Arizona became a U.S. state on February 14, 1912. Arizona was the 48th state admitted into the U.S. and the last of the contiguous states admitted. Cotton farming and copper mining, two of Arizona's most important statewide industries, suffered heavily during the Great Depression, but it was during the 1920s and 1930s that tourism began to be the important Arizona industry it is today. Dude ranches such as the K L Bar and Remuda in Wickenburg, along with the Flying V and Tanque Verde in Tucson, gave tourists the chance to experience the flavor and life of the "old West." Several upscale hotels and resorts opened during this period, some of which are still top tourist draws to this day; they include the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in central Phoenix (opened 1929) and the Wigwam Resort on the west side of the Phoenix area (opened 1936). Arizona was the site of German and Italian POW camps during World War II and Japanese US-resident internment camps (for national security during the time of martial law). The Phoenix area site was purchased after the war by the Maytag family (of major home appliance fame), and is currently utilized as the Phoenix Zoo. A Japanese American internment camp was located on Mount Lemmon, just outside of the state's southeastern city of Tucson. Another POW camp was located near the Gila River in eastern Yuma County. Because of California's proximity to Japan, a line was drawn somewhat parallel to the California border, and all Japanese residents west of that line were required to reside in the war camps. Grand Avenue, (perhaps because of it's similarity to the California border) was chosen as part of that boundary, which resulted in many extended Japanese families being separated; some interned, some free--and some free families, in and odd bid for family values, requested to be interrned to stay with their families at a camp built by the original Dell Webb Co., a modern manufacturer of large housing developments). Arizona's population grew tremendously after World War II, in part because of the development of air conditioning, which made the intense summers more comfortable. According to the Arizona Blue Book (published by the Secretary of State's office each year), the state population in 1910 was 294,353. By 1970, it was 1,752,122. The percentage growth each decade averaged about 20% in the earlier decades and about 60% each decade thereafter.The 1960s saw the establishment of retirement communities, special age-restricted subdivisions catering exclusively to the needs of senior citizens who wanted to escape the harsh winters of the Midwest and the Northeast. Sun City, established by developer Del Webb and opened in 1960 was one of the first such communities. Green Valley, south of Tucson, was another such community designed to be a retirement subdivision for Arizona's teachers. (Many of these senior citizens arrive in Arizona each winter and stay only during the winter months; they are referred to as snowbirds.)Three ships named USS Arizona have been named in honor of the state, although only USS Arizona (BB-39) was so named after statehood was achieved.
Sedona is a city and community that straddles the county line between Coconino and Yavapai counties in the northern Verde Valley region of the U.S. state of Arizona. According to 2005 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 11,220.Sedona's main attraction is its stunning array of red sandstone formations, the Red Rocks of Sedona. The formations appear to glow in brilliant orange and red when illuminated by the rising or setting sun. The Red Rocks form a breathtaking backdrop for everything from spiritual pursuits to the hundreds of hiking and mountain biking trails. Among the rock formations is one that closely resembles the character "Snoopy" (from the popular Peanuts comic strip) lying on top of his doghouse. Another nearby rock is said to resemble "Lucy", also from Peanuts. Other landmark rock formations include Coffeepot Rock, Bell Rock, Cathedral Rock, the Mittens, the Cow Pies, and the Rabbit Ears.There are several events that are hosted annually in the Sedona area, including:
Politically, Uptown Sedona (the part in Coconino County) and West Sedona (the Yavapai County portion) form the City of Sedona. Originally founded in 1902, the town was incorporated into a city in January 1988. The Village of Oak Creek, despite its location seven miles to the south and outside Sedona city limits, is a significant part of the community.Sedona is named after Sedona Miller Schnebly (1877–1950), the wife of the city's first postmaster, who was celebrated for her hospitality and industriousness.Many of Hollywood's classic westerns were filmed in or near Sedona. The red rock buttes and desert landscape provided a striking setting for these films. Most notably is 1950’s Broken Arrow starring James Stewart. A number of its shooting locations can still be visited via off-road trail.
The Grand Canyon is a massive — in places over a mile (1,609 m) deep — 277 miles (446 km) long rift in the Colorado Plateau that exposes uplifted Proterozoic and Paleozoic strata. The Grand Canyon is unmatched throughout the world for the vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. It is not the deepest canyon in the world — both the Barranca del Cobre in Northern Mexico and Hell's Canyon in Idaho are deeper — but Grand Canyon is known for its overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. Geologically it is significant because of the thick sequence of ancient rocks that are beautifully preserved and exposed in the walls of the canyon. These rock layers record much of the early geologic history of the North American continent. Grand Canyon is also one of the most spectacular examples of natural erosion in the world.
Uplift associated with mountain building events later moved these sediments thousands of feet upward and created the Colorado Plateau. The higher elevation has also resulted in greater precipitation in the Colorado River drainage area, but not enough to change the Grand Canyon area from being semi-arid. The uplift of the Colorado Plateau is uneven, and the north-south trending Kaibab Plateau that Grand Canyon bisects is over a thousand feet higher at the North Rim (about 1,000 ft/300 m) than at the South Rim. The fact that the Colorado River flows in a curve around the higher North Rim part of the Kaibab Plateau and closer to the South Rim part of the plateau is also explained by this asymmetry. Ivo Lucchitta of the U.S. Geological Survey first suggested that, as the Colorado River developed before significant erosion of the region, it naturally found its way across or around the Kaibab Uplift by following a "racetrack" path to the south of the highest part of the plateau. Almost all runoff from the North Rim (which also gets more rain and snow) flows toward the Grand Canyon, while much of the runoff on the plateau behind the South Rim flows away from the canyon (following the general tilt). The result is deeper and longer tributary washes and canyons on the north side and shorter and steeper side canyons on the south side.
Temperatures on the North Rim are generally lower than the South Rim because of the greater elevation (averaging 8,000 ft/2,438 m above sea level). Heavy rains are common on both rims during the summer months. Access to the North Rim via the primary route leading to the canyon (Arizona State Route 67) is limited during the winter season due to road closures. Views from the North Rim tend to give a better impression of the expanse of the canyon than those from the South Rim.
Flagstaff is a city located in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. As of July 2006, the estimated population of the city is 58,213, with a Metropolitan Statistical Area population of 124,953. It is the county seat of Coconino County. In 2005, Men's Journal named Flagstaff as No. 2 on its Best Places to Live list, and National Geographic cited the city in its list of "10 Great Towns That Will Make You Feel Young." The city's name commemorates a Ponderosa Pine tree that was made into a tall flagpole by members of a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Flagstaff Tea Party"), on July 4, 1876, to celebrate the United States Centennial. Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau and along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. At an elevation of 6,910 feet (2,106 m), Flagstaff is located adjacent to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. The San Francisco Peaks (known locally as "The Peaks") consist of several summits, including Humphreys, Agassiz, Fremont, and Doyle Peaks. Humphreys Peak, also known as Mount Humphreys, is one corner of this ancient volcano and the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,850 m). It is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff.Flagstaff's early economy consisted primarily of the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important railroad and ground transportation center, and is home to Lowell Observatory and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff also has a strong tourism sector, owing to its proximity to such destinations as Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, and historic Route 66
Tucson is the seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, located 118 miles (188 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 miles (98 km) north of the Mexican border. As of July 1, 2006, a Census Bureau estimate puts the city's population at 518,956, with a metropolitan area population at 946,362. In 2005, Tucson ranked as the 32nd-largest city and 52nd-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. It is the largest city in southern Arizona and the second largest in the state after Phoenix. Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, South Tucson (surrounded by Tucson), and Sahuarita south of the city. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Green Valley, Marana, Tanque Verde, New Pascua, and Vail. The name Tucson originates via Spanish from the O'odham, meaning "Black Base," a reference to the mostly volcanic mountains on the west side of the city. The most notable of these mountains is Sentinel Peak, better known as "A Mountain" because it sports a large letter A in honor of the nearby University of Arizona, situated in west central Tucson. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo."Tucson was probably first visited by Paleo-Indians, known to have been in southern Arizona by about 12,000 years ago. Recent archaeological excavations near the Santa Cruz River have ocated a village site dating from 4,000 years ago. The floodplain of the Santa Cruz River was extensively farmed during the Early Agricultural period, circa 1200 BC to AD 150. These people constructed irrigation canals and grew corn, beans, and other crops while gathering wild plants and hunting animals. The Early Ceramic period occupation of Tucson saw the first extensive use of pottery vessels for cooking and storage. The groups designated by archaeologists as the Hohokam lived in the area from AD 600-1450 and are known for their red-on-brown pottery. Jesuit missionary Eusebio Francisco Kino visited the Santa Cruz River valley in 1692, and founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac about 7 miles (12 km) upstream from the site of the settlement of Tucson in 1700. The Spanish established a presidio (fort) on August 20, 1775 and the town came to be called "Tucson." Tucson became a part of Mexico after Mexico gained independence from Spain in 1821. Following the Gadsden purchase in 1853, Tucson became a part of the United States of America, although the American military did not formally take over control of the community until March 1856. From August 1861, until mid-1862, Tucson was the capital of the Confederate Arizona Territory. Until 1863, Tucson and all of Arizona was part of New Mexico Territory. From 1867 to 1879, Tucson was the capital of Arizona Territory. The University of Arizona, located in Tucson, was founded in 1885. By 1900, 7,531 people lived in the city. At about this time, the US Veterans Administration had begun construction on the present Veterans Hospital. Many veterans who had been gassed in World War I and were in need of respiratory therapy began coming to Tucson at this time, due to the clean dry air. The population increased gradually to 13,913 in 1910, 20,292 in 1920, and 36,818 in 1940. In 2006 the population of Pima County, in which Tucson is located, passed one million while the City of Tucson's population was 535,000. During the territorial and early statehood periods, Tucson was Arizona's largest city and commercial area, whereas Phoenix was the seat of state government and agriculture. The establishment of Tucson Municipal Airport, the first in the world, increased its prominence. By the 1920s-30s, Phoenix outgrew Tucson and has continued to expand. Tucson has still been growing but at a slower pace.
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