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Birmingham, AL: A City Shaped by Elevation

Posted at July 5th, 2024 | Categorised in Geography
Birmingham, AL: A City Shaped by Elevation

Elevation of birmingham al – The elevation of Birmingham, AL, is a defining characteristic that has shaped its geography, history, and urban development. From its highest point to its lowest, the city’s elevation has played a pivotal role in its unique identity.

Birmingham’s elevation has influenced its landforms, drainage patterns, and climate, creating a diverse and dynamic landscape. The city’s historical significance is also tied to its elevation, as it has influenced the city’s economy, transportation, and social structure.

Elevation Profile of Birmingham, AL

Birmingham, Alabama, is a city with a diverse landscape, ranging from rolling hills to flat plains. The city’s elevation varies significantly, with the highest point being Red Mountain at 1,154 feet above sea level, and the lowest point being the banks of the Black Warrior River at 515 feet above sea level.

The following table provides a detailed elevation profile of Birmingham, AL, showcasing the city’s highest and lowest points:

Location Elevation (ft)
Red Mountain 1,154
Vulcan Park and Museum 950
Five Points South 650
University of Alabama at Birmingham 550
Banks of the Black Warrior River 515

Impact of Elevation on Birmingham’s Geography

Elevation of birmingham al

Birmingham’s elevation has a significant impact on its geography, influencing its landforms, drainage patterns, and climate.

Landforms

Birmingham’s elevation influences the formation of its landforms. The city is situated on the Cumberland Plateau, a dissected plateau characterized by rolling hills and valleys. The highest point in Birmingham is Red Mountain, with an elevation of 606 feet, while the lowest point is in the valley of the Black Warrior River, with an elevation of about 250 feet.

The elevation difference creates a varied topography that includes hills, ridges, and valleys.

Drainage Patterns

The elevation of Birmingham also affects its drainage patterns. The city is drained by the Black Warrior River and its tributaries. The river flows from the northeast to the southwest, and its course is influenced by the elevation of the land.

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The river flows more slowly through the higher elevations of the Cumberland Plateau, and more quickly through the lower elevations of the valley.

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Climate

The elevation of Birmingham also affects its climate. The city experiences a humid subtropical climate, with hot, humid summers and mild, wet winters. However, the elevation of the city moderates the temperature somewhat, resulting in cooler summers and warmer winters than in other parts of the state.

The higher elevations of the Cumberland Plateau receive more precipitation than the lower elevations of the valley.

Historical Significance of Birmingham’s Elevation

Elevation of birmingham al

The elevation of Birmingham, Alabama, has played a pivotal role in shaping the city’s history, economy, and social structure. Located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Birmingham’s elevation of 600 feet above sea level has provided both advantages and challenges for the city’s development.

Economic Development

Birmingham’s elevation has significantly influenced its economic growth. The city’s location at the crossroads of several major transportation routes made it a natural hub for trade and commerce. The elevation provided a strategic advantage, allowing for easy access to both the Appalachian coalfields and the Gulf of Mexico.

This accessibility fueled the development of Birmingham’s iron and steel industry, which became the backbone of the city’s economy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Transportation Infrastructure

The elevation of Birmingham also played a crucial role in the development of its transportation infrastructure. The city’s location on the edge of the Appalachian Mountains required the construction of numerous bridges, tunnels, and railroads to connect it to other regions.

The elevation provided challenges for engineers, but it also presented opportunities for innovation. The construction of the Red Mountain Expressway, a major highway that connects Birmingham to the surrounding areas, is a testament to the city’s ability to overcome its geographical constraints.

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Social Structure

The elevation of Birmingham has had a significant impact on the city’s social structure. The city’s early development was shaped by the influx of immigrants and laborers who came to work in the iron and steel industry. Many of these workers settled in neighborhoods that were located on the slopes of the surrounding hills, while the wealthier residents of the city tended to live in the more elevated areas.

This pattern of settlement created a distinct social divide that persisted for many years.

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Elevation Data and Resources for Birmingham, AL

Elevation of birmingham al

Birmingham, Alabama’s elevation data and resources are essential for understanding the city’s geography, planning, and decision-making. These resources provide valuable information about the city’s topography, elevation changes, and their impact on various aspects of urban life.

Various organizations and government agencies offer a range of elevation data and resources for Birmingham, AL. These include topographic maps, GIS data, and online tools that can be utilized for research, planning, and decision-making.

Topographic Maps, Elevation of birmingham al

Topographic maps provide a detailed representation of the terrain, including elevation contours, rivers, roads, and other geographic features. These maps are valuable for understanding the city’s topography and elevation changes.

  • USGS Topographic Maps: The United States Geological Survey (USGS) provides free topographic maps for Birmingham, AL, and the surrounding areas. These maps are available in various scales, providing different levels of detail.
  • Birmingham Topographic Map: The City of Birmingham provides an interactive topographic map that allows users to explore the city’s elevation and terrain.
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GIS Data

GIS (Geographic Information System) data provides digital representations of geographic information, including elevation data. This data can be used for analysis, mapping, and visualization.

  • Jefferson County GIS Data: Jefferson County, where Birmingham is located, provides GIS data, including elevation data, for the county. This data is available for download and can be used for various GIS applications.
  • Alabama GIS Data: The Alabama Geospatial Infrastructure Portal provides GIS data for the entire state of Alabama, including elevation data. This data is available for download and can be used for statewide GIS analysis.

Online Tools

Several online tools allow users to visualize and analyze elevation data for Birmingham, AL.

  • Google Earth: Google Earth is a free online tool that provides 3D visualization of the Earth’s surface, including elevation data. Users can explore Birmingham, AL, and view its elevation changes.
  • Elevation Finder: Elevation Finder is an online tool that allows users to find the elevation of any location, including Birmingham, AL. Users can enter an address or coordinates to obtain the elevation data.

These elevation data and resources are valuable for researchers, planners, and decision-makers in Birmingham, AL. They provide essential information about the city’s topography, elevation changes, and their impact on various aspects of urban life.

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Final Summary: Elevation Of Birmingham Al

Elevation of birmingham al

Today, elevation continues to be a factor in Birmingham’s urban planning, impacting zoning, infrastructure development, and land use. Understanding the city’s elevation profile is essential for informed decision-making and sustainable development.

FAQ Overview

What is the highest point in Birmingham, AL?

Red Mountain, at 605 feet above sea level

How does elevation impact Birmingham’s climate?

Birmingham’s elevation contributes to its humid subtropical climate, with hot summers and mild winters.

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