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Significant Topographic Changes in the United States

Regional Geography of Topographic Surface Changes

Results Info
Results

Regional Geography of Topographic Surface Changes

Types of Topographic Surface Changes from Human Activity

National Results

Ranking Features Based on Magnitude of Change

Quantification of the Effects of Topographic Changes
The spatial distribution of the topographic change polygons across the conterminous United States reveals some notable regional differences and patterns of change. Overall, there is a decided concentration of change polygons in the eastern United States, which can be partially explained by the greater population density as compared to the west.

Map of the 5,263 polygons that delineate areas of significant topographic change in the conterminous United States
Map of the 5,263 polygons that delineate areas of significant topographic change in the conterminous United States. Cut areas are those polygons that have a decrease in elevation, while fill areas are those with an increase in elevation.

The greater density of population centers in the east, as well as the greater length of settlement, has created significant requirements for road and other infrastructure construction. The aggregate materials needed for such construction came from the numerous quarries represented by the topographic change polygons. Other noteworthy characteristics of the regional geography of topographic change that are recognized from the conterminous United States map include:

Other more subtle features are still recognizable:

Recognition of these differing regional patterns and features of topographic change from a small-scale map of the conterminous United States underscores the value of conducting the inventory across the full expanse of the 48 contiguous states.

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Page Last Modified: December 08, 2015