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Physical Geography of the United States and Canada

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Presentation on theme: "Physical Geography of the United States and Canada"— Presentation transcript:

1 Physical Geography of the United States and Canada
Chapter 4 Geographers organize the Earth into regions that share common characteristics.

2 United States and Canada
contiguous Great Lakes Mississippi River Continental Divide

3 Physical Features Section 1

4 Major Landforms United States and Canada
Form a region that covers most of North America Canada Second-largest country in the world Russia is first The region rises in elevation from east to west. The United States and Canada, covering most of North America, are bordered by the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Gulf of Mexico in the southeast, and the Pacific Ocean in the west. Canada occupies most of the northern part of North America and is the second-largest country in the world after Russia. The United States is the third-largest country.

5 Major Landforms United States
The 48 states in this part of the country are contiguous, or joined together inside a common boundary. Most of the United States stretches across the middle part of North America. Alaska lies in the northwestern part of North America, adjacent to Canada, and Hawaii is an island group in the Pacific Ocean.

6 Major Landforms Eastern Lowlands and Highlands
A fertile, hilly area called the Piedmont stretches inland from the coastal plain. Coastal Plain Cities include Houston and New Orleans A broad lowland runs along the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico coasts. In northeastern areas, the thin and rocky soil constrains, or limits, farming. Harbors along the Atlantic coast have led to the growth of shipping ports. The cities of Halifax, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., all lie along or near the Atlantic coast, forming a connected area of urban communities called a megalopolis. The coastal plain along the Gulf of Mexico is wider than the Atlantic plain, and soils in this region are better than those along the Atlantic coast. Large cities here include Houston and New Orleans. West and north of the eastern coastal plain are highland areas that include the Appalachian Mountains

7 Major Landforms Eastern Lowlands and Highlands Appalachians
The oldest mountains in North America

8 Major Landforms Interior Lowlands Canadian Shield
a horseshoe-shaped area of rocky hills, lakes, and evergreen forests wraps around the Hudson Bay West of the eastern highlands are vast interior lowlands. With poor soil and a cold climate, the Canadian Shield is not farmable, but it does contain many mineral deposits such as iron ore, copper, and nickel. South of the Canadian Shield and west of the Appalachians lie the Central Lowlands with grassy hills, rolling flatlands, thick forests, and fertile farmland.

9 Major Landforms Interior Lowlands
Chicago, Detroit, and Toronto are located here Great Plains Once provided food for millions of buffalo and the Native Americans who lived there The Great Plains stretch west of the Mississippi River, gradually rising in elevation from east to west. Much of this region is a prairie, or rolling inland grassland with fertile soil. Grains, cattle, and reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas are important products here.

10 Major Landforms Western Mountains and Plateaus
At the eastern edge of the cordillera, the Rocky Mountains begin in Alaska and run south to New Mexico. West of the Great Plains is a cordillera, or a group of mountain ranges that run side by side. Near the Pacific coast, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascade Range, the Coast Range, and the Alaska Range mountain chains make up the western part of the cordillera.

11 Major Landforms Western Mountains and Plateaus Mount McKinley
Alaska Range rises to 20,320 feet (6,194 m), the highest point in North America

12 Major Landforms Western Mountains and Plateaus Canyons
Deep valleys with steep sides Between the Pacific ranges and the Rocky Mountains is a stretch of dry basins and high plateaus. In the southern part of this area, rivers have worn through rock to create canyons, or deep valleys with steep sides, including the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River.

13 Bodies of Water The Great Lakes
Formed thousands of years ago by glaciers (large sheets of ice) The waters of these connected lakes flow into the St. Lawrence River, which empties into the Atlantic Ocean. One of Canada’s most important rivers The United States and Canada have numerous freshwater lakes and rivers. Many of the region’s rivers are navigable, or wide and deep enough to allow the passage of ships. The Great Lakes—the world’s largest group of freshwater lakes—lie in the central part of the region. Thousands of years ago, glaciers formed Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario. Quebec, Montreal, and Ottawa developed in this area. For many years, various obstructions kept ships from navigating the entire route, or journey, from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Then, in the mid-1900s, the United States and Canada built the St. Lawrence Seaway, which links these bodies of water.

14 Bodies of Water Mississippi River North America’s longest river
Begins as a stream in Minnesota The Mississippi river is North America’s longest river. It flows 2,350 miles (3,782 km), beginning as a stream in Minnesota and enlarging to a width of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) before emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi River system is the major waterway for the central region. It drains about 1.2 million square miles (3.1 million sq. km) of land, including all or part of 31 American states and much of central Canada.

15 Bodies of Water The Continental Divide
The high ridge of the Rocky Mountains is called the Continental Divide. divide a high point that determines the direction that rivers flow West of the divide Rivers flow toward the Pacific Ocean Northeast of the Rockies, the Mackenzie River flows from the Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean, draining much of northern Canada’s interior.

16 Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Soil, Timber, and Fish

17 Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Texas
Ranks first in oil and natural gas reserves in the U.S. The region has many energy, mineral, and other natural resources. Although the United States has oil and natural gas reserves, the country uses nearly three times the amount of oil that it produces and must import more in order to meet the nation’s needs. Canada exports both oil and natural gas, much of it to the United States. Canada’s area in or near the province of Alberta has the world’s largest reserves of oil in the form of oil mixed with sand.

18 Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Coal
Mined in the Appalachian Mountains, Wyoming, and British Columbia The region has enough coal to supply energy for about 400 years

19 Natural Resources Energy and Mineral Resources Niagara River
Flows north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario The rivers and lakes in some areas of the United States and Canada provide hydroelectric energy. Niagara Falls is a major source of hydroelectric power for both countries.

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