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SS10 Chapter 3 Review Part II
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SS10 Chapter 3 Review Part II


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  • 1. Chapter 3: The Geography of Western Canada Review: Part Two Western Canada Specified
  • 2. Physical Regions of Western Canada 3 Major Regions: The Canadian Shield The Interior Plains The Western Mountains + other physical regions of western Canada: Western Cordillera, Far North, Maritime, Great Lake Lowlands
  • 3. The Canadian Shield Age: shields are the oldest parts of the Earth Topography: shields are large masses of rock; was a volcanic mountain range (in the past) that wore down into a landscape of exposed rock and lakes over million years by erosion and weathering Rock Type: igneous rock (volcanic sate) --> metamorphic rock (changed by heat and pressure) - this creates minerals such as copper, gold, lead and nickel Location: spreads from Arctic islands around the Hudson Bay to the Adirondack Mountains in the US and east across the Labrador Land/ Area Use: unsuitable for agriculture and large scale settlement
  • 4. The Interior Plains Age: Younger than the shield because the sedimentary rock is made up of eroded materials of the shield Topography: have the most uniform physical characteristics Rock Type: sedimentary rock formed from eroded material from the Canadian Shield and remains from occasional floods (tropical climate million years ago) Location: stretches from the Canadian shield to the Rocky mountains Land/ Area Use: deposits of fossil fuels and evaporites formed in the sedimentary layers
  • 5. The Western Mountains Age: Youngest Topography: have the most complex physical structure - landforms: valleys, plateau, and parallel mountain ranges (cordillera): Coast Mountains and Rocky Mountains - formed by plate collision --> sculpted by erosion from rivers + glaciers Rock Type: Metamorphic (formed or/ and shaped by plate collision) Land/ Area Use: alluvium (sediment carried by river) formed fertile river valleys
  • 6. The Natural Regions (biomes) of Western Canada 1. Boreal forest - Made up of coniferous trees - Very little moisture is lost through the needles, they do not freeze Soil type is known as “podzol”: acidic, not fertile 2. Parkland - Transitional area between the dry prairie grasslands and the coniferous forest regions of the North - Long grass with isolated stands of trees (aspen, willow) - The long grass provides a lot of humus, black soil - An ideal region for growing wheat: the soil is rich and precipitation is sufficient 3. The Prairie - “Grasslands”: a vast area of western Canada located between Winnipeg and Calgary 4. Interior Mountain Range - Consist of a variety of landforms (meadows, plataeu, mountains) - Has many soil types 5. Coastal Forest
  • 7. Climates of Western Canada Continental climate: Most areas in Western Canada; temperature extremes and low precipitation Maritime climate: Coastal areas of BC; mild temperature and high precipitation Factors Affecting Climates (of Western Canada): OLAMPNAS 1. Ocean Currents - mild wet climate in the West Coast is due to warm ocean currents heating or warming the air blowing over the West Coast, and that warm air absorbs more water than cold air 2. Latitude - in northern latitude, there is greater seasonal variation in the length of day and night - in southern Canada, higher angle of the sun results higher intensity of sunlight 3. Altitude 4. Mountain barriers 5. Prevailing winds (pressure belts) / Wind direction - in western Canada, prevailing winds are generally, westerlies and northerlies 6. Nearness to water/ Distance from the sea - a large land mass in Western Canada swings between temperature extremes (high temperature in the summer and low temperature in the winter) - Summer and winter temperatures of the West Coast of Canada are moderated by water 7. Amount of Cloudiness 8. Slope (aspect) north- south facing
  • 8. Precipitation Western Canada experience three types of precipitation 1. Orographic precipitation - prevailing westerly winds push warm, moist Pacific air up against the mountains of Vancouver Island and the Coast Range and create orographic precipitation - as the winds force the air up the mountainside, the air cools and expands, losing its moisture as rain and snow - as the air descends on the eastern slope, it becomes war and dry- this area is called rain-shadow - Also occurs on the Rockies, (less rain falls on the western slopes) - “Chinooks” (winds that descend the eastern slopes of the Rockies): warm so quickly that they can raise the temperature 20 degrees in a matter of hours 2. Convectional precipitation - Falls primarily on the prairies and on the Canadian Shield during hot months - This type of precipitation provides much-needed moisture to arid prairies - Unreliable precipitation - Heavy rain or hail often damages crops 3. Frontal precipitation - Most of Canada lies on the “frontal” zone of polar air from the North and the tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico - more frontal activity during the Canadian winter because the polar air extends further south and the two air masses vary most dramatically in temperature “Cyclonic storms;” are fierce frontal activity results in winter and are pushed from west to east by the prevailing westerlies.
  • 9. Water Resources of Western Canada - most rivers of western Canada begin in the cordillera - source of water: high levels of precipitation and melting snowpacks - flow of rivers: - in west or east direction - from highlands of the Rockies and Coast range - to a major body of water (such as Hudson Bay or the Pacific Ocean) - join other rivers along the way, flow through lakes, and form river system that drain the land A drainage basin: area drained by one river system; formed as the rivers carry away eroded material from the land - Water quality, not water supply, is an issue in Canada but water supply - increase in the population and pollution increased threats to water quality Example of pollution in Canada that threaten water quality: the Lower Fraser Basin as dumping ground for industrial and municipal sewage and agricultural run-off - solution to increase water quality: in early 1990s, communities in the lower mainland + provincial government set aside $50 million to clean up the Fraser
  • 10. The Cultural Landscape/ Environment of Western Canada - Aboriginal Nations did not significantly changed the landscape (respected the natural environment when using land and resources) - European Settlement used much resources they could use and changed landforms and Aboriginal people fought against the European settlement (political resistance) - In early 20th century, western Canada began to experience the effects of large scale settlement and during the 20th century, immigrants and urban development completely changed the way the land looked Farming - division of land Cattle ranching Mining - coal, gold, copper, and other minerals Manufacturing - factories, variety of resources Urban development
  • 11. Boundaries Natural boundaries: lines that divided western Canada according to the physical features (recognized before the European settlement by the Native peoples, Metis, early explorers and fur traders) Political boundaries: "artificial" and "clear" lines diving areas in unnatural way (drawn by Europeans and North American government after the European settlement and dominating the continent) Example: Provincial and territorial boundaries in western Canada - indicate political leaders the extent of their authority - determine the amount of taxes people have o pay - determine what form of education people receive - determine the form of government These political boundaries were drawn by people with power and not the Native peoples and this led to many conflicts. (a boundary between BC and Alaska, 49th parallel of latitude) Before the Confederation and the purchase of Rupert’s Land by Canadian government, the West had been simply been an area that served furs and other resources under the control of Hudson’s Bay Company. However, as more people settled in the West, more specific political boundaries had to be drawn to indicate whether areas were controlled by the federal government of provinces, and later on all provinces needed their right to local control in transportation, resources, and civil law.