What Are Major Landforms of Illinois?

Landforms in Illinois include prominent lakes, including Lake Michigan, the Mississippi River, Shawnee Hills region and the American Corn Belt. Illinois contains primarily flat lands, making it ideal for large-scale agricultural production. With a relatively flat land surface, Illinois lacks undulating terrain and mountains found in other states, but contains numerous lakes, rivers and forests.

Geographers divide Illinois into several distinct regions based on significant landforms. The Mississippi River shapes the western portion of Illinois, while the Shawnee Hills region and Corn Belt dominate the south. The slightly elevated terrain and hills found in Illinois exist primarily in its northwest region. The state's highest point, called Charles Mound, rises approximately 1,265 feet above sea level. The rolling hills of the northwest give way to flat lands in the south. The southern region supports agricultural production and forms a large portion of the Corn Belt, which also includes parts of Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Kansas. The Corn Belt produces staple crops for Americans, including soybeans and corn. In contrast to the dry lands of the south, Illinois' northern lands contain primarily water. Lake Michigan, the third largest of the Great Lakes, extends into Illinois. Smaller streams, rivers and tributaries join Lake Michigan, which provides fresh water to Illinois' citizens and draws many tourists each year.