Presentation on theme: "REGIONS IN NORTH AMERICA. A region is an area in which natural or human features are similar. Landforms, such as mountains or plains, are a natural feature."— Presentation transcript:
REGIONS IN NORTH AMERICA
A region is an area in which natural or human features are similar. Landforms, such as mountains or plains, are a natural feature. Landforms and climate are often related. For example, because mountains rise high above sea level, they have a cool climate. Economic activity is a human feature. For example, an area where many people make their living by farming is an economic region. Other human features are population and culture. For example, the region of Northeastern Ohio is home to many African Americans. Many of their families moved from the South during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. They share a common background and culture.
Plains and Plateaus The Great Plains cover the middle of the United States and Canada. This flat region is called as the Breadbasket. Wheat, corn, and other grain crops are grown there. In the center of Mexico is a similar region known as the Central Plateau where many crops are grown in the rich soil. Coastal Plains The eastern part of Canada has low hills and coastal plains. These coastal plains run along the Atlantic coast in the United States. Coastal plains surround the Gulf of Mexico. They run along the Yucatan Peninsula in eastern Mexico. A thin coastal plain borders the Pacific Ocean in the United States and Mexico.
GREAT PLAINS Atlantic Coastal Plain
Mountains The Great Plains lie to the east of the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains run from the north through Canada and the United States south into Mexico. In Mexico, the Rockies split to form the Sierra Madre ranges. These ranges surround the Central Plateau where most of the population lives. The west coast of Canada is dominated by the Coast Mountains. They rise abruptly from the sea. Nearby is Mount Logan, the second- highest mountain on the North American continent.
Rocky Mountains Sierra Madre Mountains Western Mountains in Canada
Climate The climate of a region is described by two factorsprecipitation and temperature. The Great Plains has extremes of hot and cold and a wide range of rainfall. The Central Plateau of Mexico has a milder climate, but rainfall also varies. Precipitation Why does rainfall vary so much across the Great Plains and Central Plateau? Areas just to the east of a mountain range tend to be very dry. This is because of the effect mountains have on precipitation. When warm air hits the mountains, it rises and cools. A great deal of rain and snow falls in the mountains. Therefore, the plains that lie just to the east of the Rocky Mountains are very dry. The areas that lie just to the east of the Sierra Madres are also very dry.
CLIMATE MAP OF NORTH AMERICA
United States Precipitation Map
Temperature Temperature also varies along the coastal plains. The rays of the sun hit directly on Earths middle section. The suns rays that reach the areas of Earth closer to the North and South Poles hit at an angle. This is why areas near the equator tend to be warmer than areas nearer the poles. Temperature also depends on elevation, or how high above sea level you are. For example, along the coast of the Baja Peninsula of Mexico the weather is usually very warm. The winters can be severe in Mexicos mountainous areas. Temperatures can plunge below freezing. Ocean currents also affect temperature. Does all of Canada have a cold climate? No, some regions are mild. For example, parts of the Pacific region in Canada are warmed by ocean currents. 15
Resources Affect People Natural resources in an area affect how people live and work. A natural resource is something found in nature that is useful to people. There are five main types of natural resourcesminerals, fossil fuels, soil and water, vegetation, and fish and wildlife. Some natural resources are nonrenewable. Once they are used up, they cannot be easily replaced. Iron and copper are two nonrenewable resources found in North America. These two minerals are used in buildings, automobiles, and many other products. Fossil fuels are burned to produce energy. Natural gas and oil heat our homes. Coal is burned to produce electricity. When these run out, they cannot be easily replaced.
Water is a very important natural resource. Clean drinking water is essential to our health. Soil is another important resource. All plants need fertile soil to grow. For example, the Ohio River Valley is a region with rich soil and good water. The Ohio River Valley includes the area around all the streams and smaller rivers that flow into the Ohio River. The vegetation in an area can also define a region. For example, in forest regions, deciduous trees and evergreens grow. In the Canadian tundra, only small plants grow. The tundra is a region that is bitterly cold much of the time. In desert regions, cactus thrive because they are able to store water during long dry periods. Canadian Tundra
Economic Regions A regions economy often depends on the natural resources available in the area. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, many people work in forestry. They harvest trees to produce lumber for homes and to make paper products. Along the ocean coasts of North America, fishing is a major occupation. Farming is a major occupation in the Great Plains. Economic regions can cross the borders of states and countries. Large reserves of oil and natural gas are found in North America. Minerals, such as gold and silver, are found there, too. Rich farmlands in the Great Plains produce large amounts of grain such as wheat. These crops are shipped worldwide. Ranching is also important in the prairies of North America.
In southern North America, Mexico has many natural resources. It is one of the largest producers of oil in the world. This industry employs many people. It has rich soil, which is perfect for farming. Mexico also has large ranches where horses and livestock are raised. The waters surrounding Mexico are teeming with fish. Fishermen catch large quantities of tuna and other fish. Mexicans also make their living in manufacturing. Large factories produce cars, chemicals, clothing, and cement. Another major industry is tourism. People come from many countries to enjoy Mexicos beautiful beaches, fishing, and historic areas.
Cultural Regions Culture is the customs, languages, and beliefs people share. Religion, food, and music are also part of culture. Cultural regions can cross the borders of a state or country. One cultural region in North America is called Anglo-America. Here, English is the most common language. Another cultural region is called Latin America. Most people speak Spanish in Latin America. Spanish English French
The Spanish arrived in Mexico in the 1500s. They brought their culture with them. Today, most Mexicans still speak Spanish. They practice many Spanish customs. Some native culture does remain, however. For example, 120,000 Purepecha-Tarascan Indians live in one of the Sierra Madre mountain ranges. They speak their own language. Also living in these mountains are the Huichol Indians. They are known for colorful paintings and handmade beads. Other native Mexicans blend their own ancient cultures with modern ways. Language # of Speakers Nahuatl 1,376,076 Yucatec Maya 759,000 Mixtec 423,216 Zapotec 410,901 Tzeltal Maya 371,030
Canada has several different cultural groups. Many French speakers live in the province of Quebec. Some wanted to have a separate country. A vote was held, and the people of Quebec chose not to separate. The Inuit people are native to northern Canada. They also wanted to preserve and promote their culture. On April 1, 1999 Nunavut became a separate Canadian territory. Two native languages, French, and English are spoken there.
The landforms, climate, and resources of a region affect the way people live on the land. Why are cities often built near rivers and oceans? If you live near rivers and the ocean, you can easily ship your goods. Why is there so much farming on the Great Plains and Central Plateau of Mexico? It is because the climate, soil, and available water are right for successful farming. Why is the mining industry so important in Minnesota and Canada? It is because the natural resources are located there.
As we use the land, we are provided with benefits. However, we can also create problems. For example, fertilizers and irrigation help the land produce more food. But misuse of chemicals and overuse of water resources can spoil the land. The Saint Lawrence Seaway project is another example. The Saint Lawrence River was changed in the 1950s. Canals were built and a large lake was created so that large vessels could travel from the Atlantic Ocean all the way through the Great Lakes to Lake Superior.
Both Canada and the United States benefitted. For example, natural resources mined in Quebec and Minnesota could be shipped to the Atlantic more easily. However, some people lost their land when the new lake was formed. Ships carried animals that never had lived in the Great Lakes before. Invasive species such as the sea lamprey from the Atlantic Ocean have damaged the native wildlife. The zebra mussel is another invasive species causing problems. It came all the way from the Caspian Sea in Russia. As humans interact they also change their physical environment. People shape the land and the land shapes the people.