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Document related concepts
US and Canada:
Physical Geography
Physical Features
• The two countries
share many physical
• Much of the area is
dominated by
grassy plains and
mountain chains.
Mountain Ranges
• Eastern North America the
Appalachian Mountains
• Western North America
dominated by the Rocky
– Also the Pacific Ranges: Sierra
Nevada, Coast Range, and
• Coastal Plains near Atlantic Ocean and Gulf
• Great Plains between Appalachian Mts. and
Rocky Mts.
– From the South by the Gulf of Mexico all the way
up to the icy tundra in Canada
• Mississippi River is the largest on the
– Ohio and Missouri Rivers are tributaries of the
Miss. River.
• Other major rivers include the Colorado,
Columbia, Saint Lawrence, Yukon, and the Rio
Major Bodies of Water
• Bering Sea and Bering
Strait separate North
America and Asia
• Gulf of Mexico made up
of Caribbean Sea and
Atlantic Ocean
• North America has 8 of
the world’s 12 largest
freshwater lakes
– Including the 5 Great
• Also has one major
saltwater lake
Canadian Shield
• Also known as the Laurentian Plateau
• Huge expanse of igneous rock (comes from
volcanoes) covered by a thin layer of soil
• Gives us an idea of how the northern portion
of the United States was formed
Climate and Vegetation
Polar Zones
• Polar Climate
– Northern Canada and Alaska
– Winters are long and cold, summers short and
• Tundra has very little vegetation
• Pine forests toward the southern portion of Canada
Climate and Vegetation
Temperate Zones
• Temperate Climate
– Most of Canada and the United States
– Humid climates with year-round precipitation
• Trees vary from broadleaf trees to pine forests
dependent on region
– Some of the world’s largest trees found in the
Pacific Northwest
• Prairies used mostly for ranching and farming
Climate and Vegetation
Tropical Zones
• Tropical Climate
– Southern states
– Humid and dry in the southeast
– Arid and dry in the southwest
• Palm trees grow in the coastal areas of
California, Florida, and Hawaii
• Southwest portion of United States
filled with desert vegetation
• Experiences most types of natural disasters
– Volcanoes along the Pacific Coast
– Droughts in the Southwest
– Tornados in the central plains
– Hurricanes/Tropical Storms along the Gulf and
East Coast
– Floods in areas with lots of rainfall/rivers
– Heavy snow/avalanches in mountainous areas
• Water
– Allow for shipping and fishing industries to be
• Land
– North America is the leading food exporter in the
– Lots of woodlands and lumber resources
• Mineral and Fossil Fuels
– Valuable deposits of iron ore, nickel, copper, and gold
– Natural gas/oil and coal deposits allow for energy
producing resources to come from within