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Megalopolis, Natural Features
southern limit, inland navigation, metamorphic rocks, Erie Canal, Ice Age
The most widespread aspect of the regional environment is the sea and its boundary with the land. Waterfront features include irregular coastlines; prominent peninsulas such as Cape Cod in Massachusetts, Cape May in New Jersey, and the Delmarva Peninsula of Chesapeake Bay; numerous offshore islands; and rivers that flow into the ocean in a variety of shapes and patterns.
Geologically, Megalopolis rests on a coastal plain, under which are unconsolidated sediments. Beneath these sediments is a base of ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks. Thousands of years ago, geological uplift produced a series of broad, open valleys. During the last Ice Age, glaciers scoured and flattened the northern parts of the coastal plain. The glaciers rounded the contours of the mountains and shaped a terrain of low rolling hills before they receded about 10,000 years ago. Long Island, New York, which extends east from New York City parallel to the coast of Connecticut, marks the southern limit of the last great ice sheet to move through the area. The land that makes up the island consists of earth and stone pushed southward by the ice and left behind when the glacier receded.
Most of the rivers in the region are fairly short and do not allow for inland navigation over long distances. However, important commercial transportation routes are found on some rivers. The Erie Canal joins the Hudson River in New York to create a passageway to the Great Lakes via Lake Erie, thus providing a valuable water transport route to the central regions of the United States. Canals also link the rivers of Delaware and Chesapeake bays.
Natural vegetation tends to be a mixture of trees and low brush, and soils are typically thin and infertile. However, agriculture abounds because of the urban demand for produce, the favorable climate, and the generous application of fertilizer.
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