Major Landforms In The Midwestern Region

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is carved into the Black Hills.

The Midwestern region, or the Midwest, is one of four geographic regions in the United States. The 12 states included in the Midwest region are: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio and North and South Dakota. This area is home to many mountains, prairies, rivers and lakes, including the Great Lakes.


A major landform of the Midwest region are the Badlands, located in South Dakota. The Badlands are characterized by mesas, roughly eroded ridges and peaks. This ruggedly beautiful land is home to one of the richest fossil beds in the world as well as many animals including sheep, deer, prairie dogs, black footed ferrets and bison. The climate in this area is unpredictable, with year-round high winds, snowy winters and hot summers with the possibility for thunderstorms. The Badlands National Park offers several ranger-guided programs for visitors during the summer seasons to fully explore a large area the Badlands. Activities include fossil talks, geology walks, and a Night Sky program which is a cultural look various stars, planets and constellations.

Black Hills

The Black Hills are a group of mountains located in the western area of South Dakota and the northeastern area of Wyoming. These mountains offer a rare opportunity to study the geological formations of the area, due to the layers of stratum which compose the mountains. The layers are shale, gypsum, sandstone, schist, limestone and granite. The granite layer is at Harney Peak, which is the highest point of the peak. The Black Hills contain one of the largest bison herds in the nation and produce several minerals including gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, tin, ore, salt, coal, petroleum, mica and gypsum. The most famous area of the Black Hills is Mount Rushmore National Memorial which depicts the heads of four United State presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

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Great Plains

The Great Plains are a large expanse of grasslands covering a large portion of the Midwest region including North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas. Outside of the United States, the Great Plains extends into the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Once mostly covered by inland sea, the Great Plains now contain deposits of sediments which account for several sections of the nearly horizontal underlying rock strata. The terrain in this area is generally level and rolling, consisting of trees growing along shore lines and several shortgrass prairies. Important sources of water in the region are the Cimarron and Canadian rivers which flow into wide river beds.