Central Valley

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Central Valley,

great trough of central Calif., c.450 mi (720 km) long and c.50 mi (80 km) wide, between the Sierra Nevada and the Coast Ranges. The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers drain much of the valley before converging in a huge delta and flowing into San Francisco Bay; the delta is California's leading truck-farming and horticultural area. The Central Valley is California's agricultural heartland, although its urban and suburban areas have expanded dramatically since the 1970s. With its long growing season and fertile soil, the valley has the largest single concentration of fruit and nut farms and vineyards in the United States; cotton, grain, and vegetables are also grown. Precipitation ranges from 30 in. (76 cm) in the north to 6 in. (15.2 cm) in the south. Two thirds of the valley's agricultural land is in the south, while two thirds of its water is in the north. The Central Valley projectCentral Valley project,
central Calif., long-term general scheme for the utilization of the water of the Sacramento River basin in the north for the benefit of the farmlands of the San Joaquin Valley in the south, undertaken by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in 1935.
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 sought to address this problem by bringing water from the Sacramento basin in the north into the San Joaquin Valley in the south, where Fresno and Tulare counties are the two leading U.S. agricultural counties. The dry, alkaline Tulare Lake basin in the extreme south is almost totally unsuitable for irrigation. Oil extraction and refining and petrochemical production are also important in the region. The Central Valley was seen by Spanish explorers in the 1500s but remained virtually uninhabited until the 1849 California gold rush. Irrigation was introduced in the 1880s.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Central Valley


(the California Trough in Russian cartography), a valley in the southwestern United States, in the state of California. Bounded on the east by the Sierra Nevada and on the west by the Coast Ranges. Elevation, 20–160 m; length, 800 km; width, up to 80 km. It originated as a tectonic trough filled in with a thick stratum of sedimentary rock from the Cretaceous, Paleogene-Neocene, and Quaternary periods. The surface is level with gentle hills formed by ancient ridges along river beds and by detrital cones (in the east and south).

It has a Mediterranean-type subtropical continental climate. Precipitation ranges from 1,000 mm a year in the north to 150 mm in the south. The main rivers are the Sacramento in the north and the San Joaquin in the south. There is a dense network of irrigation canals. The northern part belongs with the zone of subtropical steppes with reddish chestnut soil, and the southern is semidesert. The Central Valley is an important region for farms (with artificial irrigation), orchards, and vineyards. Livestock is raised in the south. There are petroleum deposits (the California petroleum region). The principal cities are Sacramento, Stockton, and Fresno.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

central valley

[′sen·trəl ′val·ē]
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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Its Santa Digna Merlot Reserva 2013 from Chile's Valle Central is a rich concoction of plummy fruit with smoky chocolate, green herbs, a hint of menthol and grainy tannins.