Physical Geography of North America

Physical Geography of North America

Physical Geography of North America SSWG1 Explain why physical characteristics of place such as landforms, bodies of water, climate, and natural resources act as contributing factors to world settlement patterns. a. Identify and describe climates and locations of major physical features of

North America. Explain how these physical characteristics impact settlement patterns including, but not limited to, the Mississippi River System, the Appalachian and Rocky Mountains, and the Canadian Shield h. Describe the spatial distribution of natural resources, including, but not limited to, fuel and energy, agricultural, and mineral sources. Predict how distribution of natural resources continues to impact global settlement patterns..

Landforms & Resources Vast Lands Atlantic Ocean (East) & Pacific Ocean (West) Arctic Ocean (North) & Gulf of Mexico (South)

1/8 land surface of world Country Size (land area sq. km) Russia

16 million Canada 14 million United States

9 million Abundant Resources Fertile soils Lots of water Large deposits of minerals

The Eastern Lowlands Flat, coastal plain along Atlantic Ocean & Gulf of Mexico 3 subregions Atlantic Coastal Plain Gulf Coastal Plain Piedmont

The Appalachian Highlands Appalachian Mountains: extend 1,600 miles from Newfoundland to Alabama Oldest, soft peaks The Interior Lowlands

Lowlands, rolling hills, lakes, rivers, fertile soil 3 subregions Interior Plains Canadian Shield: flat, rock region covering nearly 2 million square miles & encircling Hudson Bay Great Plains: vast, treeless grassland

The Western Mountains, Plateaus & Basins Rocky Mountains: extends 3,000 miles from Alaska south to New Mexico Young, jagged peaks Continental Divide: line of highest points in the Rockies marking the separation between rivers flowing eastward & westward

North Americas Highest Peak = Mt. McKinley Pacific Mountain Ranges, Steep Cliffs, Deep Canyons, Lowland Desert Areas (Basins) The Islands Canadas northernmost lands = icy islands near Arctic Circle Greenland = Largest North American Island

Aleutian Islands coastal Alaska Hawaii geographically not part of North America, but central Pacific Politically, part of North America Natural Resources Resources Shape Ways of Life

Landforms of U.S./Canada = variety & abundance of natural resources Leading agricultural & industrial nations Why? Oceans & Waterways 3 oceans = Atlantic, Pacific, Arctic Gulf of Mexico (U.S.)

Shipping & fishing Industries Inland rivers, lakes Transportation, hydroelectric power, irrigation, fresh water, fisheries Great Lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior

Along with St. Lawrence Seaway worlds major shipping routes Oceans & Waterways Continent's longest & busiest river system is the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio Mackenzie River = Canadas longest river Flows across Northwest Territories to the Arctic Ocean

Land & Forests Fertile soils Worlds leading food exporter Agricultural land found in plains & river valleys Canada, 1/3 U.S. = forests & woodlands Minerals & Fossil Fuels

Iron ore, nickel, copper, gold, uranium = Canadian Shield Gold, silver, copper, uranium = Western Mountains Coal, natural gas, oil, well-developed networks for transport of goods U.S. is major importer of energy resources Climate & Vegetation

Shared Climate Zones Northwestern Canada & Alaska = frigid winter temperatures Canada/U.S. Border U.S. has more climate zones = extends over larger north to south area U.S. more mild = closer to mid-latitudes Canada much colder = closer to high latitudes

Colder Climates Arctic coast of Alaska/Canada = tundra Long/bitterly cold winters & short/chilly summers Huge, treeless plain Rest of Canada subarctic climate Cold winters, short & mild summers

Vast forest of needle-leafed evergreens Permafrost = permanently frozen ground Colder Climates Rocky Mountains & Pacific Ranges = highland climate & vegetation Colder, little vegetation at higher altitudes Mountains = rainy west side, dry east side

Moderate Climates Humid Continental = north central, northeastern U.S. & southern Canada Cold winters, warm summers Good Climate & soil = agriculturally productive (dairy, grain, livestock) Deciduous & needle-leaf evergreen trees Forests east of Mississippi, template grasslands to the west

Marine West Coast = northern California to Southern Alaska Moderately warm summers Long, mild, rainy, foggy winters Deciduous trees, evergreens, giant California redwoods Milder Climates

Humid subtropical = southern U.S. Hot, muggy summers Mild & cool winters Moist air from the Gulf of Mexico = rain during winter Mild climate & adequate rainfall = agriculturally productive Mediterranean Climate = central & southern coasts California

Dry, sunny & warm summers Mild & somewhat rainy winters Long growing season & irrigation = rich farming area for fruits & vegetables Dry Climates Semiarid Climate = Great Plains & dry northern parts of the Great Basin Little rain = short grasses & Shrubs

Desert = southwest U.S. Hot & Dry Cacti, barren rock or sand Ex: Mojave Desert Tropical Climates

Tropical climates = Hawaii & southern Florida Lush rain forests (Hawaii) Wet & Dry seasons (Florida) Always warm (no less than 70 degrees) Tall grasses & scattered trees Everglades: huge swampland

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