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Arizona

Arizona (Navajo: Hoozdo Hahoodzo [xòːztò xɑ̀xòːtsò]; O’odham: Alĭ ṣonak [ˡaɺi ˡʃonak]) is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western United States and the Mountain West states. It is the sixth largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona is one of the Four Corners states. It has borders with New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, California, and Mexico, and one point in common with the southwestern corner of Colorado. Arizona’s border with Mexico is 389 miles (626 km) long, on the northern border of the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California.

Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912. Historically part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848. The southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase.

Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with very hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, and spruce trees; the Colorado Plateau; some mountain ranges (such as the San Francisco Mountains); as well as large, deep canyons, with much more moderate summer temperatures and significant winter snowfalls. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff, Alpine, and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, and national monuments.

About one-quarter of the state is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Although federal law gave all Native Americans the right to vote in 1924, Arizona excluded those living on reservations from voting until its state Supreme Court ruled in 1948 in favor of Native American plaintiffs.
The state’s name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, Arizonac, derived from the O’odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning “small spring,” which initially applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like “Arissona”. The area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O’odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona (“the good oak”), as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area

There is a misconception that the state’s name originated from the Spanish term Árida Zona (“Arid Zone”)
Arizona is in the Southwestern United States as one of the Four Corners states. Arizona is the sixth largest state by area, ranked after New Mexico and before Nevada. Of the state’s 113,998 square miles (295,000 km2), approximately 15% is privately owned. The remaining area is public forest and park land, state trust land and Native American reservations.
Arizona is well known for its desert Basin and Range region in the state’s southern portions, which is rich in a landscape of xerophyte plants such as the cactus. This region’s topography was shaped by prehistoric volcanism, followed by the cooling-off and related subsidence. Its climate has exceptionally hot summers and mild winters. The state is less well known for its pine-covered north-central portion of the high country of the Colorado Plateau (see Arizona Mountains forests).
Like other states of the Southwest United States, Arizona has an abundance of mountains and plateaus. Despite the state’s aridity, 27% of Arizona is forest, a percentage comparable to modern-day France or Germany. The world’s largest stand of ponderosa pine trees is in Arizona.

The Mogollon Rim, a 1,998-foot (609 m) escarpment, cuts across the state’s central section and marks the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau. In 2002, this was an area of the Rodeo–Chediski Fire, the worst fire in state history.
Located in northern Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a colorful, deep, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River. The 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 designating the Grand Canyon area as a National Park, often visiting to hunt mountain lion and enjoy the scenery. The canyon was created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, and 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 two billion years of the Earth’s history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateau uplifted.
Arizona is home to one of the most well-preserved meteorite impact sites in the world. Created around 50,000 years ago, the Barringer Meteorite Crater (better known simply as “Meteor Crater”) is a gigantic hole in the middle of the high plains of the Colorado Plateau, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Winslow. A rim of smashed and jumbled boulders, some of them the size of small houses, rises 150 feet (46 m) above the level of the surrounding plain. The crater itself is nearly 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, and 570 feet (170 m) deep.

Arizona is one of two U.S. states that does not observe Daylight Saving Time (the other being Hawaii). The exception is within the large Navajo Nation (which observes Daylight Saving Time), in the state’s northeastern region.
Generally, Arizona is at low risk of earthquakes, except for the southwestern portion which is at moderate risk due to its proximity to Southern California. On the other hand, Northern Arizona is at moderate risk due to numerous faults in the area. The regions near and west of Phoenix have the lowest risk
The earliest Arizona earthquakes were recorded at Fort Yuma, on the California side of the Colorado River. They were centered near the Imperial Valley, or Mexico, back in the 1800s. Residents in Douglas felt the 1887 Sonora earthquake with its epicenter 40 miles to the south in the Mexican state of Sonora. The first damaging earthquake known to be centered within Arizona occurred on January 25, 1906, also including a series of other earthquakes centered near Socorro, New Mexico. The shock was violent in Flagstaff.

In September 1910, a series of fifty-two earthquakes caused a construction crew near Flagstaff to leave the area. In 1912, the year Arizona achieved statehood, on August 18, an earthquake caused a 50-mile crack in the San Francisco Range. In early January 1935, the state experienced a series of earthquakes, in the Yuma area and near the Grand Canyon. Arizona experienced its largest earthquake in 1959, with a tremor of a magnitude 5.6. It was centered near Fredonia, in the state’s northwest near the border with Utah. The tremor was felt across the border in Nevada and Utah.

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 extremely hot summers. Typically, from late fall to early spring, the weather is mild, averaging a minimum of 60 °F (16 °C). November through February are the coldest months, with temperatures typically ranging from 40 to 75 °F (4 to 24 °C), with occasional frosts.

About midway through February, the temperatures start to rise, with warm days, and cool, breezy nights. The summer months of June through September bring a dry heat from 90–120 °F (32–49 °C), with occasional high temperatures exceeding 125 °F having been observed in the desert area. Arizona’s all-time record high is 128 °F (53 °C) recorded at Lake Havasu City on June 29, 1994, and July 5, 2007; the all-time record low of −40° was recorded at Hawley Lake on January 7, 1971.

Due to the primarily dry climate, large diurnal temperature variations occur in less-developed areas of the desert above 2,500 feet. The swings can be as large as 50 °F (28 °C) in the summer months. In the state’s urban centers, the effects of local warming result in much higher measured night-time lows than in the recent past.

Arizona has an average annual rainfall of 12.7 in (323 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 toward the end of summer. In July or August, the dewpoint rises dramatically for a brief period. During this time, the air contains large amounts of water vapor. Dewpoints as high as 81 °F (27 °C) have been recorded during the Phoenix monsoon season. This hot moisture brings lightning, thunderstorms, wind, and torrential, if usually brief, downpours. These downpours often cause flash floods, which can turn deadly. In an attempt to deter drivers from crossing flooding streams, the Arizona Legislature enacted the Stupid Motorist Law. It is rare for tornadoes or hurricanes to occur in Arizona.

Arizona’s northern third is a plateau at significantly higher altitudes than the lower desert, and has an appreciably cooler climate, with cold winters and mild summers, though the climate remains semiarid to arid. Extremely 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 state’s northern parts.

Indicative of the variation in climate, Arizona is the state which has both the metropolitan area with the most days over 100 °F (Phoenix), and the metropolitan area in the lower 48 states with the most days with a low temperature below freezing (Flagstaff).

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