Utah has three regions based on landforms, meaning Utah’s terrain. Put differently, Utah has portions of three of the 10 – 20 “physiographic regions” of North America:
- The Basin and Range physiographic region,
- The Rocky Mountain physiographic region, and
- The Colorado Plateau physiographic region.
These three regions differ because they have had different geologic histories. The consequence of their cumulative geologic histories means that Utah has three sets of scenery, three sets of resources, and three sets of geologic hazards.
It also means that Utahns can witness contrasts as we travel our great state. Earth Science Education explores contrasts among regions because contrasts provide context for appreciating patterns of (a) terrain, (b) Earth materials, and (c) the effects of erosion/deposition.
This website needs great images of Utah’s contrasting regions. Please consider contributing non-copyrighted images. Of course we will acknowledge their source.
Clipped from USGS I-map 2206
The concept of regions is a core concept for geographers. A region is a geographic area defined based on a single characteristic. The map on the left has defined three regions for Utah based on landforms. The map would differ had the regions been based on watersheds, or on biodiversity. The image on the right from USGS Map I-2206 is a computer-generated presentation of landforms. Would you draw the boundaries where C.B. Hunt drew them, and why? For example, would you include the Uinta Basin in the Rocky Mountain physiographic province or the Colorado Plateau physiographic province? People draw maps. Boundaries require judgement. D.R. Mabey, a geophysicist and good friend of C.B. Hunt would argue to include the Uinta Basin with the Uinta Mountains in the Rocky Mountain Physiographic Province because those geologic features depend on each other. C.B. Hunt argued based on scenery. Good logic justifies both interpretations