Chapter 4: The United States and Canada: Physical Geography Section 1: Physical Features The United States and Canada share the North American continent. They also share landforms. In the West are the Rocky Mountains, which extend through the United States and Canada. On the spine, or top, of the Rockies is the Continental Divide. All rivers to the east flow north, south, and east; all rivers to the west, flow west. In the East are the Appalachian Mountains. In between these mountain chains are plains, good areas for farming. The United States and Canada share the Great Lakes—Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, and Superior. These are the world’s largest freshwater lakes, and they were formed by melting glaciers, huge, slowmoving ice sheets. Glaciers Glaciers are giant ice sheets that are slowly moving Glaciers moved across Canada thousands of years ago, and made the landforms that are present today, like mountains and lakes In Canada, the St. Lawrence River connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Lawrence is an important transportation corridor, because it enables ships to travel all the way from the Atlantic to the heart of the United States and Canada. The major American river is the Mississippi. The smaller Ohio and Missouri rivers flow into the Mississippi and are called tributaries. What is a Megalopolis? A continuous line of Settlement – MEGA CITY! Appalachian Mountains Over 1,500 miles long From eastern Canada to Alabama Mountains are about 300million years old. (**Notice their shape.) Interior Plains • 500 miles wide, from Appalachian Mts. To the Rocky Mts. Mountains and Basins Rocky Mountains Longest mountain range in North America Extends from Alaska to Mexico Formed from Tectonic Plates Mountains and Basins Basins West of the Rocky Mts. Three large plateaus 1. Columbia 2. Great Basin 3. Colorado What is a Plateau? Mountains and Basins Plateaus The Great Salt Lake Why is it called the Great Salt Lake? Classroom Discussion Questions: 1. What physical features do Canada and the United States share? 2. What are the major rivers in the United States and Canada? Section 2: Humans and the Physical Environment Climate—the average weather conditions of a place—is affected by latitude, mountains, and oceans. The climate of Canada is colder than that of the United States because Canada is farther from the Equator. The northernmost part of Canada is tundra—cold and dry and frozen for most of the year. Only moss, grass, and some wildflowers grow here. . Central Canada has the world’s largest prairie, or grassland, which is good for farming and raising animals. Almost one-half of Canada is made up of forests. The United States has more extremes of climate. Alaska is far north and very cold. Hawaii and Florida are near the tropics, the area between 23 degrees north, and 23 degrees south latitudes; their climate is hot. The United States contains prairies, and almost one-third of the United States is forest land. The Southwestern part of the United States includes deserts. These are semiarid areas with few plants North American Vegetation Pyramid: Desert: few plants Tundra: moss, grass, wildflowers Prairie: grass; bushes; crops such as corn and wheat Forest: many trees and plants Deserts have the least Forests have the most. vegetation. Deserts have the least vegetation. Forests have the most. Classroom Discussion Questions: 1. What is climate and what affects it? 2. What are the major vegetation zones in North America? Section 3: Geographic Factors and Natural Resources Natural resources and resources that occur in nature: soil, Fresh Water, minerals, and energy resources, and trees. All four of these resources are necessary for people. The Midwestern and Southern parts of the United States have rich soil that is good for farming. It is called alluvial soil, which is the topsoil left by rivers after a flood. Only about 12% of Canada’s land is good for farming. This farmland is in the central prairie and near the St. Lawrence River. The United States and Canada grow grains, fruits, and vegetables. Fresh Water is needed for drinking, growing crops, powering industries, and transportation. Dams along rivers generate hydroelectricity, or power generated by moving water. Energy sources include coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Mineral resources in the United States and Canada include copper, gold, iron ore, lead, silver, zinc, and uranium. The United States and Canada have vast forests. They produce enough lumber for their own needs and for export. Uses of Natural Resources: SOIL WATER ENERGY MINERALS TREES Grow food Irrigation Electricity Jewelry Paper Raise animals Drinking Light Utensils Furniture Washing Heating/Cooling Pipes/Nails/ Machine parts Lumber for Houses Transportation Transportation Energy Hydroelectricity Storage batteries Construction Recreation Classroom Discussion Questions: 1. Name the most important natural resources. 2. What are important uses of water?