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5.1 - North American Landforms and Resources

5.1 - North American Landforms and Resources



Landforms and resources of North America, including plains, mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.

Landforms and resources of North America, including plains, mountains, rivers, lakes, etc.



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    5.1 - North American Landforms and Resources 5.1 - North American Landforms and Resources Presentation Transcript

    • Landforms and Resources: North America
    • North America. It’s here:
      • Right now, we’re just concerned with the United States and Canada
      • These are the Anglo American parts and have a similar culture as opposed to Mexico which is Latin American because it has Spanish colonial influences instead of English.
      • Varied landforms
      • North America has a wide variety of landforms. It has mountains, plains, deserts, tundra, etc. Let’s look at a few.
      • The Eastern Lowlands
      • Flat level land by the eastern and Gulf coastal areas.
      The brown area along the coast is lowlands.
      • Appalachian Highlands
      • Mountain chain that runs along the eastern U.S.
      • The Appalachians (people who live in the Appalachians pronounce it differently than we do) are relatively old.
        • Because they’ve been around for a long while, they’ve worn down and aren’t all that tall: they average 3,000 feet and the tallest peak, Mt. Mitchell in North Carolina is just 6,684 feet tall.
          • That would make Coloradans yawn.
      • The interior lowlands
      • Covers most of North America
      • Relatively level
      • May have been hilly at one point, but glaciers leveled it out during the last ice age
      • Also carved out rolling hills and lakes
      • Includes the Great Plains
      • Also includes the Canadian Shield in Canada
        • Huge area around Hudson Bay
      • Rocky Mountains
        • Large western mountain chain.
        • 78 peaks of 12,000 feet or more above sea level
      This is me at the top of Mt. Crested Butte (12,162 feet).
    • View from the bottom.
      • The Rockies are young scamps that haven’t faced the extra 320 million years of erosion that the Appalachians have suffered and so are much taller.
      • The rain runoff and annual snowmelt from the Rockies also supply nearly ¼ of the U.S. with fresh water.
      Winter Summer
      • Cold reflective mountain reservoirs. Makes you want to go there, doesn’t it?
      • Continental Divide
      • All rivers flow either east or west. The continental divide is the line at which they go one way or the other.
      • Islands
      • Canada has a nice assortment to the north in the Arctic Ocean.
      • There’s also the Aleutian Islands tailing off of Alaska
      • Did you know that during WWII, two small Aleutian islands at the tail end were captured and held by the Japanese?
        • It was the last time a U.S. enemy invaded and held American soil.
      • There are also the Hawaiian islands, but while they are part of the United States, they are not part of North America.
        • All the same, they’re beautiful and I will use this excuse to put up some beautiful pictures of the islands.
    • Jurassic Park falls
    • Sigh… I want to go back.
      • So what were we talking about? Oh yes…
      • Resources
      • North America is blessed with lots of natural resources. Among them:
      • Water
        • It’s got oceans or seas on four sides (Arctic, Atlantic, the Gulf, and Pacific) which is good for fishing and trade
        • It’s got plenty of lakes including the…
        • Great Lakes
          • On a trivia item, note that Lake Michigan is the only great Lake that’s entirely within U.S. boundaries. The rest are shared with Canada.
          • Nearly 20% of the earth’s fresh surface water is in the Great Lakes.
            • It’s about 6 quadrillion gallons. That’s 6,000,000,000,000,000.
            • It’s enough to cover the lower 48 states with 9.5 feet of water.
            • That’s a lot of water.
    • And they look pretty from space.
      • Rivers
        • North America has a very large river system in the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio
          • The Missouri and Ohio rivers flow into the Mississippi, thus making them tributaries of the Mississippi
          • There’s also the MacKenzie River in Canada
      • North America also has lots of forests for timbers, lots of minerals, oil, natural gas, and a ridiculous amount of coal.
      • The oil sands of Alberta are estimated to hold up to 180 billion barrels of oil, second only to Saudi Arabia’s 259 billion barrels.
        • The trick is profitably getting the oil out of the sands.
      • As for coal, the U.S. has so much that it’s estimated that even with increased demand, there’s enough to last us another 300-400 years.