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Coastlines of the United States, Pacific Coastline

processing locations, Pacific states, Coast Ranges, busiest port, peninsulas

Unlike other coastal regions in the coterminous United States, the 2,081-km (1,293-mi) Pacific Coast has very little flat land associated with it, except in southern California, which has a relatively smooth coastline. In other areas, the Coast Ranges plunge directly into the ocean in many places. In northern California, Oregon, and Washington, the coastline becomes increasingly irregular, consisting of a variety of bays, fjords, peninsulas, and islands.

The population along the Pacific coastline is concentrated in large urban centers. Los Angeles is the busiest port and largest city on the West Coast. Although the entire Pacific coastline is threatened by the dangers of earthquakes and violent Pacific storms, the population continues to grow. People from across the United States have flocked to the Pacific states, and immigrants from around the world, especially from Asia, have established homes in this area.

Many of the regionís coastal cities began as ports for shipping lumber or as processing locations for the fishing activities that are still important along the entire length of the coast. During the last half of the 20th century, as the focus of U.S. trade began shifting away from Europe toward Latin America and Asia, the importance of international business, shipping, and transportation functions grew in cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco in California, and Seattle in Washington.

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