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The Detroit landscape, also known as Detroit Regional Geography, is the topography, natural environment, geography, geology, and history of the Detroit region in the United States. As such, the Detroit landscape has been a major concern of both local and national governments.
It is a landscape of multiple urban cultures, natural environments, and histories, influenced by geography, climate, vegetation, and soil, as well as the location and ownership of urban land. The key natural feature of the region is the Great Lakes, as this has been the boundary between North America and Eurasia for thousands of years.
The landscape includes the northern shores of Lake Erie and the northern half of Lake Michigan, the straits connecting them, and the cities of Detroit, Windsor, and Sandwich, Ontario. Detroit and its neighborhoods are a part of the larger greater Detroit region, which includes all of Wayne County and the city of Dearborn, in Oakland County, Michigan, and some of Saginaw County, Michigan. The region is surrounded by the counties of Chippewa, Clare, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Shiawassee, and Washtenaw. The Detroit region's development was helped by the availability of abundant coal and limestone. Most of Detroit's streets were once lined with trees, and remnants of the grid pattern of its street network can still be seen in most of the city. The city's American Indian settlement period is still visible in the city's landforms. The Detroit area was settled by several Native American tribes: The Algonquians (Anishinaabeg), Lenape (or Delaware), Wyandots, Ottawa and the Potawatomi.
The city of Detroit is the largest city in the Detroit region, and the state of Michigan is the largest state in the Great Lakes region. Most of the Detroit region's residents are of either European American, Canadian, or Latin American descent. The city of Detroit has a population of 604,947.
Detroit is bordered by the Detroit River and the Straits of Mackinac on the Detroit River, which flows north to Lake Huron and eventually to the North Atlantic Ocean. The Detroit River is the western boundary of Detroit and Windsor, and the eastern boundary of the city of Sarnia, Ontario. The Detroit River is navigable by large ocean-going cargo vessels, recreational boaters and pleasure craft for.
The Detroit River separates Detroit from its twin city, Windsor. The river has some hydroelectric power generation stations and a long, narrow sandy beach for summer recreational activities. A popular destination for people who like to fish is Mud Creek, about west of Detroit's downtown. Within Detroit, almost of the Detroit River is between the city and Windsor.
The Detroit River flows out of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge and into Lake Erie at Put-in-Bay, Ohio. The Detroit River is approximately long and is considered a Great Lake.
The Detroit River and the Michigan Straits run through the Detroit metropolitan area.
The climate of the Detroit metropolitan area is temperate, with long, cold, snowy winters and short, pleasant summers. The city of Detroit has more days of freezing rain than any other large city in the contiguous 48 states. It has more snow in a typical winter than any other major city. Summertime average temperatures range from highs of around to lows of around.
Despite its large size and low elevation, Detroit's climate is significantly different from that of other large cities. Many cities near the Great Lakes have more extreme weather than Detroit, but it has more precipitation than other urban areas at similar altitudes. For example, when comparing to Chicago, Detroit is also at a lower elevation, but has higher annual precipitation. This is due to both its large population and high annual precipitation.
The city of Detroit is above sea level, and thus has much colder weather than most cities near the Great Lakes. The lake-effect snow that frequently falls over the area also tends to be heavier and more frequent than that of coastal cities.
The climate of the Detroit metropolitan area is humid continental, which is a transitional climate. This means that winters are cold and snowy, but summers are typically pleasant. Winters have extended periods of extreme cold, but typically temperatures remain above freezing for longer during the winter than during the summer. Winter temperatures in Detroit can range from lows of or below to highs of. During the summer, Detroit can experience temperatures that range from highs of to lows of. During the winter months, Detroit is commonly cloudy with a mix of sunshine and precipitation. There is usually a temperature inversion near the ground, where the air temperature is significantly lower than the surface temperature.
Rainfall is moderate, with an average of per year. Detroit is in the rain shadow of the Appalachian Mountains, and receives considerably less rainfall than areas of the country just east of the Appalachians. Springtime brings frequent thunderstorms that can produce large hail and flooding. Thunderstorms also produce tornadoes in the city, which are very rare.
Several tornadoes have occurred in the Detroit metropolitan area, including the catastrophic tornado of 2011, the deadliest tornado to ever strike the U.S. city of Detroit.
The landscape of the Detroit area is diverse, with natural environments ranging from glacial till plains, forested hills, and rivers, to the lake shore of Lakes Erie and Michigan.
As a result of glaciation, the bedrock of much of the region is composed of a schistous metamorphic rock formation known as the "Detroit Uplands" (also called the "Pleistocene Black Rock Trough"), a series of mounds separated by deep, often-flooded gorges. Due to local geological factors, the southeastern portions of the metamorphic rock are exposed at the surface of the ground, while the interior sections of the metamorphic rock are covered with igneous sills, forming the Michigan Basin. These igneous sills in the southeast provide the basis of the city of Detroit