September 6, 2017

How flat is Florida?

It's the #1 flattest state. The top 10 are:
  1. Florida
  2. Illinois
  3. North Dakota
  4. Louisiana
  5. Minnesota
  6. Delaware
  7. Kansas

  8. Texas

  9. Nevada
  10. Indiana
Florida also has the second longest coastline (after Alaska).

61 comments:

MikeR said...

You can see from the link how hard it is to measure coastlines. Everything depends on your yardstick; i.e., how big are the smallest bumps that are counted.

3rdGradePB_GoodPerson said...

Wrong, actually WI is way ahead of FL in that comparison:

http://www.eatthis.com/most-and-least-obese-states-in-america-ranked

DKWalser said...

How did Nevada get included on a list of "flattest states"? There are large swaths of Nevada that are fairly flat, but the state includes a lot of mountains. If we're going to base the list on just the number of acres that are flat, wouldn't Alaska be the flattest state? (It would also be the most mountainous state.)

gspencer said...

Florida, a sunny place with shady people.

Nonapod said...

I imagine that flat topology is a real issue when it comes to hurricanes as they move over land. Without all sorts of hills and mountains to slow 'em down, they can maintain high windspeeds for longer periods.

traditionalguy said...

Building in much of Florida has to deal with a water table that is 3 or 4 feet under the surface. But at least they can access an abundance of well water from the underground flow.

The namesake of Jacksonville just took Florida without orders. He had to stop the tribal raiders that were being armed by Britain's and Spain's agents. One more reason he deserves his portrait on the $20.

tcrosse said...

Parts of Minnesota are so flat that on a clear day you can see the back of your own head.

surfed said...

My elevation along the St Johns river in North Florida is 4'. And I'm on a small rise. Our 400 sq yd "rise" is out of the flood plain and requires no flood insurance. Go figure. Anyways I have my sailboat pulled and on dry and my jon boat is ready to join the North Florida Minorcan Navy. And if the waves are good and the wind is offshore at a managable wind speed I might even try to sneak in a hurricane surf session. Probably not.

Mike Sylwester said...

I grew up in Nebraska. I don't remember ever seeing any high places anywhere there.

But, Nebraska is not on the list.

Rick Turley said...

Illinois should change their (unofficial) state motto from "Will the Defendant Please Rise" to "Flat and Broke" or just "Flat Broke."

A client from the Canadian prairie used to say it was so flat you could watch your dog run away for three days.

CJinPA said...

Wasn't Nebraska known primarily for being flat? Sorry, Nebraska, this was your time to shine.

RJ said...

The list above was not just measuring flattest; the map at the top of the linked page shows this rank:

1 Florida
2 Louisiana
3 Illinois
4 South Carolina
5 Minnesota
6 Delaware
7 North Dakota
8 Texas
9 Kansas
10 Arkansas

Makes more sense to me

Rick Turley said...

traditionalguy said...

"Building in much of Florida has to deal with a water table that is 3 or 4 feet under the surface."

Interesting that one of the challenges of building in Dubai while I was there was the high water table. One of the oddest experiences I've ever had was a meeting there listening to a couple of Brits talking about water conservation in England while watching the hotel employees rinse the sand off the landscaping after a sandstorm.

Bill said...

Minnesota actually has more shoreline than California, if you include lakes.

Wisconsin (15,074) has more lakes than Minnesota (11,842). I wonder how Wisconsin compares in the shoreline comparison.

Rick Turley said...

CJinPA said...

"Wasn't Nebraska known primarily for being flat? Sorry, Nebraska, this was your time to shine."

Nebraska shares borders with Colorado and Wyoming and starts rising to the west.

http://geology.com/topographic-physical-map/nebraska.shtml

Ann Althouse said...

"I wonder how Wisconsin compares in the shoreline comparison."

There's a link in the post where your question is answered.

traditionalguy said...

How Texas lost is a mystery. There is some " hill country around Austin, but the rest of the place is a pancake and it has 10 times more flat area than all the rest combined.

Ann Althouse said...

"How did Nevada get included on a list of "flattest states"? There are large swaths of Nevada that are fairly flat, but the state includes a lot of mountains. If we're going to base the list on just the number of acres that are flat, wouldn't Alaska be the flattest state? (It would also be the most mountainous state.)"

If you click on the first link in the post, you will see what standard was applied. It's not what you are guessing.

"Their focus was human perception of flatness—since the point of the study, Dobson told me, was largely to combat public perceptions about Kansas’s flatness. (Those translate, he says, to public perceptions about Kansas’s boringness.) To estimate geographical flatness as perceived by the human eye, Dobson and Campbell put math behind the experience of looking toward the horizon and seeing a rise of land (in their case, to the height of a tall tree at a distance of three miles). From there, Dobson says, “we put together a simulation”—one that approximates “what you would see if were standing on one spot, and turning around 360 degrees, and recording what you see every 16 times as you turn around.”"

RJ said...

I guess you've never been to far West Texas?

JPS said...

Mike Sylwester,

"I grew up in Nebraska. I don't remember ever seeing any high places anywhere there."

I was interested to learn that Nebraska's highest point is around 5,400 feet above sea level - well above the humble highest mountain of my home state. More or less dead flat ground, just quite high-lying.

Titus said...

I would hate to live in a flat state with no coastline. It would be devastating.

tits.

edwhy said...

The listing of Nevada, a state with 269 discrete mountain ranges, calls into question the entire list. I call bullpucky.

Original Mike said...

"Parts of Minnesota are so flat that on a clear day you can see the back of your own head."

That was before they filled it with windmills.

Original Mike said...

"Wasn't Nebraska known primarily for being flat? Sorry, Nebraska, this was your time to shine."

What Nebraska has to crow about is DARK night skies.

rehajm said...

I recall on one area of the interstate in North Dakota the horizon was so vast it gave the appearance that one could see the curvature of the Earth. Later in front of us we observed a car pulled over to photograph a moose beside the road. At full highway speed it was 5 minutes later before we passed them.

boycat said...

According to Nevada's wikipedia page:
"Nevada has 172 mountain summits with 2,000 feet (610 m) of prominence. Nevada ranks second in the United States by number of mountains, behind Alaska, and ahead of California, Montana, and Washington. Nevada is the most mountainous state in the contiguous United States."

David Begley said...

Interstate 80 through Nebraska is flat. Not so the rest of the state, especially the Sandhills.

rhhardin said...

States that are just tilted ought to count as flat too.

In fact any state that can be represented by bending a sheet of paper should be included as flat. Gaussian curvature of zero.

rhhardin said...

I've long proposed as a physics problem, to no takers, finding the path of random wrinkles in a piece of paper crumpled up and then flattened out again.

It's not obvious how to generate an image of such a re-flattened piece of paper in a computer program that looks realistic. You'd have to know what governs the paths of random non-zero gaussian curvature wrinkles in real life.

Speed of flow of an hour glass is another open problem, for me, too.

Original Mike said...

"Interstate 80 through Nebraska is flat. Not so the rest of the state, especially the Sandhills."

I just spent several days camping in the Sandhills and traversing Nebraska on US Highway 20. It was beautiful.

Bruce Hayden said...

Well, to be fair, most of the NV mountains aren't that big, as compared to the ones I grew up with in CO. And too arid to really have a treeline. My partner (who grew up in NV) and I have debates as to which is, on average, uglier: NV or WY. Both have scenic locations, but, are predominantly ugly and arid. I was lucky - my almost 5 years in NV were spent in sight of one of the Tahoe ski areas, close to the bottom of the Sierras. But, no, the state isn't flat. Just mostly beige.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Interstate 80 through Nebraska is flat. Not so the rest of the state, especially the Sandhills."

Personally, I find it less so than I-70 through KS and eastern CO (which we consider W KS for that reason).

Unknown said...

The highest waterfall in Florida

Original Mike said...

"My partner (who grew up in NV) and I have debates as to which is, on average, uglier: NV or WY. "

Wyoming is not ugly. The, in many cases thousands of feet, of exposed rock strata is a visual and intellectual treat.

Rabel said...

How high are you?

Bruce Hayden said...

"Speed of flow of an hour glass is another open problem, for me, too."

That one shouldn't be that bad. Need to talk to all the MEs in my life. Solving it empirically might be a bit tough, because the friction of the sand as it goes through the waist might be hard to model. It should probably be a fairly smooth curve or curves, slowing a bit maybe as the pressure of the weight of the sand reduces as it flows into the lower chamber. That would seem to imply then that it should be fairly straight forward to fit the curve(s) to observed data, if a method could be determined how to separate the weight of the sand above and below the neck/waist. Shouldn't take that many data points. Maybe the answer there is to separate an hour glass below the waist (where the sand is, essentially, in free fall) so that either the top and/or the bottom can be seaparely weighed, either at specific times, or continuously. Continuously monitoring and recording weight is a fairly mature technology (ok - in reality, we aren't actually talking "continuous", but rather very short repeated measurements). So, I think that I would try first to solve it experimentally, then go back and try to do it empirically.

Bruce Hayden said...

"Wyoming is not ugly. The, in many cases thousands of feet, of exposed rock strata is a visual and intellectual treat"

My best friend, a geologist, would agree. Each to his/her own. My partner, a self-described "desert rat", loves the drive from Moab down through Monument Valley. For me, it is so-so. She has a thing for red - I was appreciating the buttes and mesas in W CO along I-70, and she thought that they were boring - not enough color. But, she also was bored with the drive up the San Louis Valley alongside the Sangre de Cristo mountains, which I find beautiful. But, having grown up around the CO mtns, that is what I find most beautiful - sharp peaks whose tops are above timber line, and, preferably, snow covered.

rhhardin said...

because the friction of the sand as it goes through the waist might be hard to model

It's not friction (no transfer of x momentum in y direction etc). I think it's lockup by unstable structures. The bottom unstable structure goes unstable and falls, starting the one above it to go unstable.

So it's a linear instability growth rate and a density of structures thing.

Curious George said...

My uncle used to say that West Virginia was the largest state, if you flattened it.

Josephbleau said...

My well respected fifth grade teacher told us Maine had the longest coast line because of all the tiny coves. I don't trust coastline boasts unless you give me an operational definition. Measuring linears of a limiting size in a satellite photo at mean tide is the way I would do it, deducting river mouths. Measuring flatness as the assumed human perception of flatness is so modern. I would divide the states into 50 foot square blocks and calculate the sum of 2500 times the delta elevation in feet in each block. The volume sum over all blocks in a state could be considered flatness, (you could eliminate blocks with an elevation difference more than 5 feet), less is of course flatter. An easy computer problem with USGS data bases.

bagoh20 said...

Even by their standard, Nevada can't possibly be called flat. It's virtually impossible to be in Nevada and not see mountains in multiple directions, except maybe inside a casino. Flat states should have no mountain peaks visible in large swaths of the territory, and there are plenty of those states.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

How flat is Florida? Channeling Johnny Carson....

Flatter than a fritter.
Flatter than a pancake
Flatter than a mashed cat.
Flatter than a witches tit.
Flatter than piss on a plate.

I can't think of any more. But Florida is really flat. As flat as an ironing board.

Oh Yea said...

Mike Sylwester said...

I grew up in Nebraska. I don't remember ever seeing any high places anywhere there.

See Scotts Bluff

Yancey Ward said...

Only Nevada surprises me a bit, but then most of the Sierra Nevada range is on the California side, so maybe I shouldn't be surprised.

Yancey Ward said...

I just looked up Nebraska- it ranges from a high elevation of 5424 ft to a low of 840 ft- a much larger range than I would have guessed.

Original Mike said...

"I just looked up Nebraska- it ranges from a high elevation of 5424 ft to a low of 840 ft- a much larger range than I would have guessed."

Having just traversed it (twice), I can tell you it is relentlessly up (or down) the whole way.

mockturtle said...

Tradguy asserts: How Texas lost is a mystery. There is some " hill country around Austin, but the rest of the place is a pancake and it has 10 times more flat area than all the rest combined.

The Big Bend NP area in SW Texas is very mountainous.

Nevada isn't very flat. Lots of mountains in the northern half.

Mountain Maven said...

What is the def of flattest? That's how dumb this piece is. I've skied high and scary stuff in NV, flown all over the state. Not flat like the MW

boycat said...

Yah I can't get over how ugly Lake Tahoe is.

Steven said...

How Texas lost is a mystery. There is some " hill country around Austin, but the rest of the place is a pancake and it has 10 times more flat area than all the rest combined.

Well, sure, if you've never even heard of El Paso (so named after a pass in the Rocky Mountains), you might manage to be ignorant enough to find this a mystery.

rcocean said...

The problem with Kansas is its not only flat, there are very few lakes and trees. Nevada near the California border is not flat at all. Duh.

Mountains are overrated - once you've seen one, you've seen them all. Same with Ocean beaches. Every beach looks like every other beach. Sand. Water. that's it.

furious_a said...

I recall on one area of the interstate in North Dakota the horizon was so vast it gave the appearance that one could see the curvature of the Earth

I remember getting that impression from the observation deck of the Sears Tower.

Texas: Guadalupe Mtns NP and Big Bend NP

Seeing Red said...

Those people never drove thru Nebraska.

Guildofcannonballs said...

I am going to use Flatbillies and Coastbillies like others use Hillbillies.

And I will write of Turd Wrinkles too, but doubtful for you...

tim in vermont said...

Forest Hill in Florida, is little higher than a coffee table. They highest spots in the state are the Mt Trashmores.

The Godfather said...

Outside of Fort Lauderdale, there's a trash dump that we used to call "Mount Trashmore". The locals believed that when the dump was completed, Mt. Trashmore would be the highest point in Florida. Irma may delay the completion of that project.

The Godfather said...

Speaking of the flatness of west Texas: I did Army Basic at Ft. Bliss, and I can attest that with full field pack every slope is UP.

RJ said...

Most of Texas is pretty flat, but far west Texas isn't.

Texas peaks over a mile high:
Guadalupe Peak 8,749
Bush Mountain 8,631
Shumard Peak 8,615
Bartlett Peak 8,508
Mount Livermore 8,378
Hunter Peak 8,368
El Capitan 8,085
Blue Mountain 7,835
Emory Peak 7,825
Lost Mine Peak 7,550
Sawtooth Mountain 7,748
Mount Locke 6,781
Chinati Peak 7,730
San Antonio Mountain 7,031
Sierra Blanca 6,894
Cathedral Mountain 6,860
Mount Ord 6,814
Goat Mountain 6,725
Cerro Alto Mountain 6,717
Newman Peak 6,650
Cienega Mountain 6,580
Santiago Peak 6,521
Victoria Peak 6,432
Gomez Peak 6,398
Star Mountain 6,350
Old Blue Mountain 6,286
Elephant Mountain 6,230
Capote Peak 6,185
Casket Mountain 6,180
Cathedral Mountain 6,122
Mitre 6,100
Major Peak 5,882
Leonard Mountain 5,860
Sue Peaks 5,857
Borachio Peak 5,661
Ranger Peak 5,653
Dome Peak 5,360

Dennis P. said...

I've been told that if Space Mountain at Disney World were, in fact, an actual mountain, It would be the fifth highest in Florida.

Sugarloaf Mountain at 320 feet is the tallest.

John Holland said...

Kansas is flatter than a pancake.

Anthony said...

The Nebraska State quarter has some hill on the reverse. When my wife (who grew up in Iowa) saw that, she said it was false advertising.