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What are some of the key physical features of North America?
What are some geographic features found in North America?
What are the geographical features of North America?
What are the physical regions of North America?
- Flora and fauna
Within these regions are all the major types of biomes in the world. A biome is a community of animals and plants spreading over an extensive area with a relatively uniform climate. Some diverse biomes represented in North America include desert, grassland, tundra, and coral reefs.
The Rocky Mountains are part of a system of parallel mountain ranges known as the Cordilleras. A cordillera is a long series of mountain ranges. Although cordilleras exist all over the world, in North America, the Cordilleras indicate the massive mountain ranges in the western part of the continent. The Cordilleras extend from Canada all the way to the Isthmus of Panama.
The Sierra Madre mountain system is part of the Cordilleras. The Sierra Madre stretch from the southwestern United States to Honduras. The Sierra Madre include many high volcanoes (up to 5,636 meters, or 18,500 feet) that stretch across Mexico south of the cities of Guadalajara and Mexico City. Volcanic mountain ranges in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama are also considered part of the Cordilleras. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur frequently in this region. Volcanic activity can destroy towns and cities. It also contributes to the rich, fertile soils of the region. North Americas older mountain ranges, including the Appalachians, rise near the east coast of the United States and Canada. These areas have been mined for rich deposits of coal and other minerals for hundreds of years. North Americas varied landscape features many natural wonders. It has deep canyons, such as Copper Canyon in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Denali, the continents highest peak, stands at 6,194 meters (20,320 feet) within Denali National Park and Preserve in the U.S. state of Alaska. Yellowstone National Park, in the U.S. states of Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, has some of the worlds most active geysers. Canadas Bay of Fundy has the greatest tidal range in the world. The Great Lakes form the planets largest area of freshwater. The Mississippi River, at 3,730 kilometers (2,320 miles) long, is one of the longest river systems in the world and drains all or parts of 31 U.S. states.
The temperate rain forest supports a wide variety of life. The Sitka spruce, western red cedar, and Douglas fir are trees native to North Americas temperate rain forest. Some of these trees grow to more than 90 meters (300 feet) tall and 3 meters (10 feet) in diameter. Black bears, Roosevelt elk, and marmots are indigenous animal species. The grassland or prairie regions of the Great Plains make up the largest biome in North America. Extreme weather prevents the growth of large plants but is perfectly suited to the native grasses that dominate the region. Native grasses vary in size from 2 meters (7 feet) in tallgrass prairies to only 20 or 25 centimeters (8 or 10 inches) in shortgrass prairies. Native animal species include bison, prairie dogs, and grasshoppers.
The three major desert regions of North Americathe Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuanare all in the American southwest and northern Mexico. These large deserts are located in the rain shadows of nearby mountains. The mountains block precipitation and accelerate the movement of hot, dry wind over these regions. The Sonoran is in the rain shadow of the Coast Ranges, the Mojave is in the shadow of the Sierra Nevada, and the Chihuahuan is in the shadow of the Sierra Madre. The Canadian Shield is a raised but relatively flat plateau. It extends over eastern, central, and northwestern Canada. The Canadian Shield is characterized by a rocky landscape pocked by an astounding number of lakes. The Atlantic coastal plain extends from river, marsh, and wetland regions east of the mountains toward the sandy beaches of the Atlantic coast. Wetland areas are a biome of the eastern region and consist of areas of land whose soil is saturated with permanent or seasonal moisture. The Florida Everglades is the largest wetland system in the United States, covering more than 11,137 square kilometers (4,300 square miles) of southern Florida.
The Great Plains lie in the middle of the continent. Deep, rich soil blankets large areas of the plains in Canada and the United States. Grain grown in this region, called the Breadbasket of North America, feeds a large part of the world. The Great Plains are also home to rich deposits of oil and natural gas. Much of the fertile soil was formed from material deposited during the most recent glacial period. This ice age reached its peak about 18,000 years ago. As glaciers retreated, streams of melted ice dropped sediment on the land, building layers of productive soil.
The tundra, stretching along the northern borders of Alaska and Canada to the Hudson Bay area, is a biome common to the Canadian Shield. Tundra is where low temperatures and precipitation levels hinder tree growth. The tundra is characterized by permafrostsoil that is frozen for two or more years. This permafrost keeps moisture near the soils surface, promoting vegetation growth even in the extreme, Arctic conditions of the tundra.
The Everglades is a biologically diverse region and contains several bordering ecosystems. Sawgrass marshes are the most iconic plant community of the Everglades and thrive on the slow-moving water of the wetlands. Alligators nest in the sawgrass, while wading birds such as egrets, herons, spoonbills, and ibises make their breeding grounds in other wetland tree species, such as cypress and mangrove.
The Caribbean Region includes more than 7,000 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. The regions islands and smaller islets are varied in their topography; some have relatively flat and sandy terrain while others are rugged, mountainous, and volcanic.
The results are several physical features: the San Andreas Fault, the Sierra Nevada mountain range, the Cascade mountain range (which includes Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, both in Washington...
This video gives us a detailed understanding of the physical features of North America
- 14 min
Natural features of North America include the northern portion of the American Cordillera, represented by the geologically new Rocky Mountains in the west; and the considerably older Appalachian Mountains to the east. The north hosts an abundance of glacial lakes formed during the last glacial period, including the Great Lakes.
The Great Central Plains are located between the Western Cordilleras and the Eastern Highlands, the Great Central Plains show a variety of physical features. The North American Great Central Plains also contain the hot and dry deserts of Arizona and Mexico towards the south and also the famous Niagara falls.
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To kick things off, North America is made up of Canada, the United States, Mexico, Greenland, the countries of Central America, the Caribbean Islands and many bordering islands. As for land area,...
- 6 min
Feb 12, 2021 · North America, third largest of the world’s continents, lying for the most part between the Arctic Circle and the Tropic of Cancer. It extends for more than 5,000 miles (8,000 km) to within 500 miles (800 km) of both the North Pole and the Equator and has an east-west extent of 5,000 miles.
North America: Physical Features - Map Quiz Game: Two of the largest countries in the world by area are located on the North American continent. In all that space the climates range from subtropical in Florida and nearby areas to polar in Alaska and much of Canada. That also includes the world’s only temperate rainforest in the Pacific Northwest region, where trees like the Giant Sequoia ...
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