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Iowa

Map of IowaIowa is located in the Midwest region of the United States. It is made up of rolling hills, crossed by many rivers flowing to meet either the Missouri, which forms most of its western border, or the Mississippi, its eastern border. The only highlands are found in the northeast, part of the Driftless Zone (a highland area not glaciated during the last Ice Age), or the steep bluffs (banks) that line the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. Iowa was once covered by tall prairie grasses, with dense forest in the river valleys. Today, most of the tallgrass prairie and forests have disappeared, replaced by cultivated land



Maize fields in northwest Iowa
The Campanile and the Fountain of the Four Seasons, Iowa State University

Name

Iowa takes its name from the Iowa (Ioway), one of the many Native American peoples who occupied the region at the time of European exploration. It is thought the name orginally comes from the word ayuhwa (meaning “asleep”). This is probably what another tribe, the Dakota, called them. In the pronunciation of the French explorers, the name became aiouez. In their own language, the Iowa are known as the Baxoje (sometimes spelled “Pahucha”), which means “grey snow”. Loess Hills east of Mondamin. Loess soil is formed by the gradual accumulation of wind-blown silt. The Loess Hills of Iowa are...Read More >>Loess Hills east of Mondamin. Loess soil is formed by the gradual accumulation of wind-blown silt. The Loess Hills of Iowa are mostly covered by a layer of fertile humus or topsoil, created during the time between the last Ice Age and before Europeans settled there (around 10,000 years), when the area was covered by natural grassland. Where the topsoil has been eroded, the underlying loess soil is infertile, and needs fertilizers to allow cultivation.

Extreme high temperatures in the summer of 2012 raised water temperatures in some parts of Iowa to 97°F (36°C), killing countless fish, including 40,000 sturgeon. This devastated the production of caviar (a delicacy made from sturgeon’s eggs) that year, valued at around $10 million.

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