The third largest state in the US behind Alaska and Texas, California’s geography is as vast as it is diverse. It has an extensive coastline, numerous mountain ranges, large desert regions and a fertile central valley. It is also home to both the highest (Mt Whitney) and lowest (Death Valley) points in the 48 contiguous states.
With an area of 414,000km2, California is one of the most biologically diverse spots in the world, and is home to more unique plants and animals than any other state in the US.
California’s most infamous natural hazard is earthquakes due to the many faults, particularly the San Andreas Fault, that run through the state. It is also vulnerable to wild fires, mudslides, droughts and floods.
Other environmental problems facing the state include overgrazing, logging, water and air pollution. Los Angeles, for example, is notorious for its smog.