Our Northwest

Which state most resembles a pancake?

Wednesday, June 25, 2014by  Jon Osterberg

Quick: What’s the flattest state in the U.S.?
   And where do the Northwest states rank?
   I’ll bet the first word that popped into your mind was Kansas. That was my guess.
   Well, guess again.
   Florida is our flattest state, according to the American Geographical Society, based on NASA shuttle radar.
   Makes sense when you think about it. The entire state is barely above sea level, and its highest point is Britton Hill, up in the panhandle, a mere 345 feet high.
   Kansas isn’t as flat as some think. Its high point, Mt. Sunflower, rises 4,041 feet, and rolling hills cover much of the state. But keep in mind, the AGS study measured relative flatness – each state’s overall percentage of flatness.
   Besides Florida, five other states are flatter than Kansas: Illinois, North Dakota, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Delaware.
   So where do Washington, Oregon, and Idaho rank? Thanks to the Cascades, Olympics, Coast Range, Sawtooths, Selkirks, and a host of other mountain ranges, they rank 41st, 44th, and 40th respectively. Northwest peaks more than offset some pretty darn flat regions, like the Columbia Basin, High Desert, and Boise Basin.
   Now let’s test your Northwest knowledge: Name the highest point in each state. For bonus points, give the elevation too. Ready for the answers?
Washington: Mt. Rainier, 14,411’
Oregon: Mt. Hood, 11,239’
Idaho: Borah Peak, 12,662’

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