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North American Geography

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by

Shirley Lal

on 25 September 2015

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Transcript of North American Geography

North American Geography
The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Lowlands
The Interior Plains
Not completely flat as most places have rolling hills and deep valleys
In between the Appalachian Mountains and Rockies in the U.S.
In between the Canadian Shield and Rockies in Canada
Very diverse because of its large size

Topography
Divided into the Central Lowlands and Great Plains in the U.S.
Great Plains are 600-1500 m above sea level
Has 3 different elevations in Canada's Prairies that are separated by escarpments

The Canadian Shield
The Coastal Plains
Lowlands stretching from Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico (3200 km on Atlantic Coast

Topography
Average elevation of 200m above sea level
Mostly flat or gently rolling
Abut half of the region is only 30m above sea level
Many swamps and marshes that act as agricultural land and provide transportation routes - also an important source for shellfish and other water based animals

Climate and Vegetation
Cold and snowy winters in the north and hot and humid summers in the south
The south has a sub tropical climate and is prone to hurricanes
Soil is sandy, originally covered by pine forests

Environmental Issues
Increased flooding because of climate change
Loss of habitats due to industrial development

The Appalachian Region
Mountainous area on the east coast of North America
Extends from Newfoundland to the southern U.S. (2400km)
Appalachians are fold mountains created by the collision of two plates

Topography
Appalachian Mountains formed 300 millions years ago
Relatively low mountain range - erosion reduced their sharp peaks
Region also has fertile plateaus and river valleys
Coal and oil can be found in the sedimentary layers
Rivers provide transportation
The Arctic
Combination of lowlands (islands north of Hudson Bay) and mountains (far north)

Topography
Flat near the ocean
Mountains formed by folding and are covered by glaciers

Climate and Vegetation
Severe climate
Winter lasts for 10 months in the far north
Summer is short and cool
Is a desert because of its lack of precipitation
Few things grow in the mountain region except lichen
Climate too cold for trees only has small shrubs and moss

Environmental Issues
Climate change is making the Arctic warmer and making the permafrost less reliable, which impacts wildlife and hunting for native populations
Sea levels rising because of melting glaciers
Loss of biodiversity in the region
The Intermountain Region
Area between the Coast Mountains and Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Nevada and the Cascades
thinly populated
Consists of mountains and deserts in the U.S.
Consists of interior plateau valleys of BC and Yukon in Canada

Topography
Many streams and rivers flow into brackish lakes (salty lakes) or into desert sinks (area where liquid collects) rather than the sea
Some places can be turned into agricultural areas, while others are used for cattle ranching

Climate and Vegetation
Winters can be hot and dry or cool and wet depending on the location
In southern areas, winters have little precipitation and are short and warm
The northern part is moderate and had moist winters and hot summers.
The Western Cordillera
West coast of North America
Consists of mountain ranges, valleys, and plateaus
The coastal mountain ranges are volcanic mountains
The Rockies are fold mountains

Topography
New mountains that haven't been worn down by erosion yet
Twice as high as the Appalachians

Climate and Vegetation
Maritime Climate (climate influenced by a close and large body of water. High precipitation and and small range in temperatures).
Vegetation varies - large evergreens in lower northern portions and little vegetation on mountain tops
2 billion years old
consists of volcanic mountains leveled by millions of years of erosion
covers more than 1/2 of Canada's surface
Consists rocky platform stretching from Labrador to Hudson Bay to the Great Lakes and to the Interior Plains

Topography
Glaciers removed soil during the Ice Age, leaving barren rock in many places
Debris from glaciers forced rivers to flow in different patterns or be damned up
Average elevation is 100 metres above sea level in the north and 500 metres in the south
Hudson Bay and James Bay are covered in clay

Climate and Vegetation
The climate varies
In the north, winters become cold and long and summers become cooler and shorter
Most of the Shield is covered by boreal forests (evergreens suited to the sandy soil)
Thin, sandy soil
Trees are small and weak
growing season is short, little rain, permafrost

Environmental Issues
Beneath the thin, rocky surface is a very valuable source of minerals (gold, silver, copper, zinc, lead, nickel, uranium
The land around mines can be damaged and ruined
Sulfur dioxide can be put into the air during the mining process, producing acid rain that is harmful to animals and vegetation
Smallest geographical region in Canada
Contains many escarpments (steep cliff formed by erosion or faulting), including the Niagara Escarpment
Has the Canadian Shield to the north and the Appalachian Mountains to the south

Topography
The Great Lakes section has rolling landscapes created by glaciation
Flat plains are broken by hills and deep river valleys
The St. Lawrence section has flat plains on the sides of the river that turn into the Canadian Shield or the Appalachians
Climate and Vegetation
Humid continental climate (climate that develops away from oceans. Precipitation is low and there is a great deal of temperature ranges)
The Great Lakes cool temperatures in the summer and warm surrounding areas in the winter
Very fertile soil
The Great Lakes section used to have largest broad leafed forests in Canada because of ideal soil and climate for maple, beech, black walnut and hickory trees
Other regions have a mix of coniferous and deciduous trees

Environmental Issues
Ships navigate the St. Lawrence river to get to the Great Lakes - causes pollution, oil spills accidents
There are native species that are disappearing because of habitat damage and threats from invasive species
Climate and Vegetation
Extremes! - long, hot summers and cold winters
Little precipitation
Continental Climate
Northern section has Arctic climates with very long, harsh winters and short, cool summers
Central Lowlands had mixed deciduous and evergreen trees
The Great Plains had prairie grass that grew almost as tall a person
The northern portion has boreal forests and tundra

Environmental Issues
Water in the area can be polluted by chemicals used in farming, which is harmful to animals and vegetation
Climate and Vegetation
Climate influenced by the Labrador Ocean Current and Gulf Stream - the Labrador Current brings cold water from the Arctic and the Gulf stream bring warm water from the Caribbean
This creates an ideal place for fish to breed because of availability of food (plankton and other microscopic organisms)
Forested with coniferous and deciduous trees
Poor soil in mountainous regions and more fertile soil in river valleys

Environmental Issues
The area is rich with coal, which has led to a lot of coal mining, including mountain top mining where mountain tops are removed with dynamite to harvest the coal
The excess rock from this procedure ends up in valleys impacting streams.
Environmental Issues
Dryness can cause forest fires
Climate change has led to an increase in forest fires
Drought in the region is an increasing concern
Environmental Issues

For the environmental issues in the Western Cordillera region, you will do some research and write 1 paragraph explaining the issues.

Focus as much as possible on local concerns.

Include a bibliography

Due: Tuesday, April 15th
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