ericgrau wrote:I noticed the least populated areas were in the midwest (around Wyoming-Utah-Colorado and surrounding areas) and wondered why this was. Then I looked at another map and noticed this area was brown while everywhere else was green. On a satellite it was also mountainous. I checked a weather map and this area is cold in the morning while everywhere else is warm. Which makes sense being so dry.
That part of the rain-shadow of the Rocky Mountains is mostly "semi-arid", not full-on desert (parts of Utah are desert). The Caribbean island of Aruba, for instance, gets less annual rainfall than Colorado. It's warm all year, though.
Satellite pix from the right time of the year will certainly be brown. Image search for Estes Park
, for instance, to see that Colorado is green at least part of the year, or Glacier National Park
to see the same in Montana.
So I thought if people don't want to live there, what about something else like farmland? A map of farmland also shows this to be the least farmed area.
Mountains are hard to farm on
, even when they're wet. You can cut terraces into them, but why bother trying to farm dry moutains with terrible soil when you have zillions of acres of flat land just a bit further east? The eastern sides of Colorado/Wyoming/Montana/etc are mostly cattle ranches... they're still dry and have lousy soil, but they're flat, so they're good enough to grow cow food on. The "Great Plains" east of that gets more rain and has better soil, so ND/SD/NE/KS/MN/WI/IA/etc is the farmland where the USA grows people food.
And, on top of that, the federal government owns about half of the land in the western half of the country
. It's easier to farm and ranch when Washington D.C. isn't telling you exactly how to do it... or when to stop doing it.
The midwest seems to be barren in every way. If we want to colonize space some day, perhaps we should start with Colorado.
Colorado is kind of ordinary. Now Yellowstone National Park
in Wyoming looks like an alien landscape...