THE 8 PHYSICAL REGIONS
OF NORTH AMERICA
BY JACOB RABLOU
Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands
Mount Logan is
A region consisting of the
Appalachian Mountains; a
range formed 480 million
years ago. A range that
once stood as tall as the
Rockies and Swiss Alps. But
has now been reduced to
hills thanks to Erosion.
530,947 Sq KM
Mountainous, many mountain ranges, Old Mountain
ranges ≠ 300,000,000 years old.
This makes them low as mountain ranges go, because
erosion has reduced their once sharp, ragged peaks into
rolling mountains and hills.
This region is not entirely mountainous, it also contains
fertile plateaus and river valleys.
Rivers provide great transportation in the Appalachian
These valleys can be great sources of coal, oil and gas as
they are typically sedimentary rock (compacted, aged
sand stones). So these resources are easy to extract as
they require less mining since the rock has been stripped
away because of erosion, also because of the rock itself
The climate is affected by two ocean currents.
The Labrador Current brings down cold arctic water and causes
freezing winters during the Northern part of the region.
Secondly the Gulf Stream brings warm air from the Caribbean.
The meeting of these two currents provides an ideal breeding
ground for fish by encouraging the growth of plankton (that the
Originally the Appalachian region was heavily forested with
mixed coniferous (evergreens-trees and shrubs bearing cones)
and deciduous (trees that shed their leaves annually) trees.
These could survive in the poor and unproductive mountain soil
and flourish on the mountain plateaus and in the river valleys
where the soil was very fertile.
Back in the day it was mining, forestry, agriculture, chemical
industries, and heavy industry.
But as of recent times the economy has diversified.
Poverty has decreases significantly.
In 1965 1/3 people living there was in poverty, now only 16 % are
in poverty compared to the once 33.33 %. The poverty has
decreased by 50 %.
The largest concerns of the Appalachian
region are Mountain-top removal coal
mining, de-forestation, and air pollution.
The goals are to restore the forests deemed
the most “scenic area of America”.
Air pollution has begun to affect plant
growth because of the mountains’
elevation and acid rain.
Lastly the mountain tops are being
destroyed for coal mining and the goal is
to stop the mining almost entirely.
A coastal plain is an area of flat, lowlying land adjacent to a seacoast.
Coastal Plains have an average elevation of less than 200 meters
above sea level.
Surface can be gently rolling but for the most part flat.
More than half of the coastal plains are less than 30 meters above
Coastal Plains contain many Swamps and Marshes.
Sinking land has allowed the lower parts of rivers to be flooded by
the sea making it able to navigate many miles inland.
For example the Hudson river can be navigated as far inland as
Another important feature of the Gulf Coastal Plain is the
Mississippi Delta where the Mississippi River empties in the gulf
creating a wide plain of fertile land.
The climate in the Coastal Plains is that of great variety.
In the North it is cold and snowy winters and hot, humid summers.
The Southern parts have more of a sub-tropical climate, with mild
to warm winters.
The only downside to that is that they are more prone to
Hurricane season is between late summer and early winter.
The soils of Coastal Plains are usually quite sandy.
The natural vegetation adapted to this sandy soil, and in some
places (Mexico) lush jungles have formed.
The original vegetation however was pine forests.
The Gulf Coast is a major center of economic activity.
The marshlands along the Louisiana and Texas coasts
provide breeding grounds and nurseries for ocean life
that drive the fishing and shrimping industries.
The Port of South Louisiana (Metropolitan New Orleans in
Laplace) and the Port of Houston are two of the ten
busiest ports in the world by cargo volume.
The discovery of oil and gas deposits along the coast and
offshore, combined with easy access to shipping have
made the Gulf Coast the heart of the U.S. petrochemical
The coast contains nearly 4,000 oil platforms.
The region features other important industries including
aerospace, biomedical research, agriculture and
The greatest concern or the Coastal Plains is simply
The plains are a place of great population and
The oceans and extremely fragile and bio diverse lands:
coastal prairies, tidal and freshwater marshes, pine
savannas, river corridors, upland longleaf pine forests,
pitcher plant bogs, swamps, and many other habitats,
all interacting and all essential to our environment.
The goals are to educate the public and ignorant
landowners of the preciousness of this land and its
significance. But most importantly to preserve it.
GREAT LAKES-ST. LAWRENCE
The Smallest Geographical Location that is
bordered by some of the largest.
The great lakes section of this region is a rolling landscape,
created mainly by glaciation (the process in which glaciers carve
Flat plains are broken apart by hills and deep valleys eroded out
The St.-Lawrence part consists of flat plains on ether side of the
St.-Lawrence River which gradually rise into the Appalachians
and Canadian Shield.
Humid Continental Climate
It is humid because of the presence of the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes tend to cool the temperature during summer
and they warm the winters by storing heat.
Winters vary from cool to cold and summers from warm to hot.
Originally this extremely fertile land was treed.
The Great Lakes portion had Canada’s largest broad-leafed
forests, because its soil and climate conditions were ideal for
maple, hickory, beech, and black walnut trees.
Elsewhere in this region he vegetation was mixed forest of both
deciduous and Coniferous trees such as maple, birch, oak,
beech, ash as well as spruce, fir, pine and cedar.
Although though the St. Lawrence Lowlands is the
smallest landform region in Canada, it has a very
dense population and contains most of the population
The Lowlands are abundant with agriculture,
commerce, recreation locations, and transportation
The St. Lawrence Lowlands is the most heavily
industrialized landform in Canada.
It contains most of the country's manufacturing
It is 70% farm county/agriculture
It is arguably the most significant landmass in Canada.
This is the smallest region in North America, but
more importantly Canada. It houses over half of
Canada’s population which leads us to the
Pollution. In the air, soil, and water. This is what
place is what is called “The golden horseshoe of
manufacturing”, and for good reason. It holds
the most population, cars and companies than
anywhere in Canada.
The concern is that the Air will become worse
(Which it is), the Great Lakes will be polluted, and
the air will become toxic due to the raw amount
of people and lastly the soil will become infertile
because of waste from pollution and industries.
The Interior Plains is a
region that spreads
across the Laurentian
Craton of central North
In the US the Interior plains are divided into the Central
Lowland and the Great Plains
The Northern boundary is made up of the Great Lakes,
Canadian Shield, and the St.-Lawrence River.
Great Plains: 1200m above sea level
Central Lowland: 600m above sea level
The Plains are gently rolling, gradually sloping down
from West to East.
Northwards of the plains they continue to the Arctic
Continental Climate (affected by its location in the heart of the
Far from the oceans therefore, a climate of extremes. Long, hot
summers and long cold winters.
Farther North the Winters are colder and longer, and the summers
are cooler and shorter.
Northern portion has an arctic climate, with extremely long, cold
winters and short cool summers.
West of the Mississippi in the Great Plains grasses once grew as tall
as a person.
The Natural vegetation of the Canadian Prairies was also
grassland. Trees only grew in the river valleys.
In the Northern parts of the interior plains, boreal forest grows and
begins fading out into Tundra as you travel north towards the
The Interior Plains has a couple of major economic activities such
as , agriculture, mining.
Agriculture is split into 2 parts; livestock and vegetable.
The livestock grown in the Interior Plains are: pigs, cattle, and
Vegetables grown in the Interior Plains are: barley, oats, wheat,
flax, mustard, canola, potatoes, corn and sugar beets
The most significant problem of the Interior plains is run off.
The run off is caused by two main things. Pesticides seeping into
groundwater, rivers etc. Also old farm vehicles being driven and
the wastes they leak.
Also lumber harvesting and the use of landfills.
The largest of all regions, 2 billion
years old, it is the geographic
foundation of Canada itself
covering more than half its surface
During the Ice age glaciers removed most of the soil.
Leaving a barren rock surface in many places.
Debris left by glaciers dammed up rivers or forced them to
change direction creating a chaotic pattern of lakes, rivers and
Average Elevation: 100 meters above sea level in the North and
500 meters above sea level in the South.
Center of shield is much lower than the outer proportion
therefore the areas around Hudson and James bay are Clay
Because of this most rivers flow into these bays.
Due to its vast size, the climate around the Canadian Shield
varies greatly from end to end.
Generally however, the farther North you travel the colder and
longer winters become and the shorter and cooler summers
Boreal forests envelop the Canadian shield for the most part.
Forests containing pine, spruce, fir, and many other evergreens
as they are suited to the sandy soil.
Also some deciduous trees inhabit the shield, such as poplar and
These trees however are smaller and weaker so they are not used
for lumber, but rather pulp and paper.
North, above the tree line however nothing grows, the growing
season is too short, there is too little precipitation and there is
The largest industry in the Canadian Shield is mining as it is the
richest region in terms of minerals.
Some of the minerals mined there are nickel, gold, silver, zinc and
The largest, and most well known mining towns is Sudbury,
Ontario. Sudbury is an exception to the normal process of
forming minerals in the Shield since there is significant evidence
that the Sudbury Basin is an ancient meteorite impact crater.
Very good soil so lots of trees so logging is a large industry.
The largest Environmental Concern of the
Canadian shield is Acid rain.
It is caused significantly here because of the
Acid rain affects granite bedrock the worse
because it spreads out the rain and gives it
more area to ruin.
It also affects marine life, water itself, out
buildings, and the air we breathe!
The only solution to this is to limit the use of
gas fueled vehicles and coal-powered
electrical plants .
Our home, it is essentially range after
range of mountain ranges separated by
Plateaus and Valleys with the Rockies
being the most easterly range and the
Coastal Chain (Volcanic mountains)
being the closest to the sea.
The western cordillera is composed of new mountain ranges not
yet ruined by erosion.
They are more than twice as high as the Appalachian mountains.
The Cordillera is made up of multiple mountain ranges, the
largest being the Rocky Mountain Range which forms the
All rivers east of the Rockies flow east, finding their outlets in the
Gulf of Mexico, Arctic ocean or the Hudson and James bay area.
West of the Rockies they drain into the Pacific.
The wests coast of the cordillera has a maritime climate.
Although it varies from west to North, the west coast has a mild
moist climate. In fact some parts are amongst the wettest regions
Moderated by the Ocean, the winters are usually above freezing
and the summers are cooler than in the interior.
Valleys are warmer than mountain slopes and windward slopes
are wetter than leeward slopes due to the clouds needing to
drop their precipitation before crossing the mountains. (Rain
The vegetation of the western cordillera varies greatly
from one side of a mountain to another.
One the moist, windward slopes, evergreens such as
Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, and Western Red Cedar
thrive and become enormous with some reaching as
high as 30 storey office buildings.
Higher up the trees are smaller and at the very top of
the mountains the trees stop entirely or the vegetation
becomes similar to that of the tundra.
On the other drier side of the mountain, grasses and
cacti grow in the valleys and farther south the
evergreens no longer grow.
A strong economy indicates the
popularity of a certain region, and it
consists of different industries such as
Fisheries, Forestry, Agriculture, Petroleum
products and Mining, and great varieties
of recreational activities.
Nonetheless, nothing would be available
without the Cordillera's irregular and
unique topography formed by plate
collision millions of years ago.
Anyhow, with a land this vast, weather
this mild and richness in natural resources,
what an amazing place this is that we call
Logging and oil exploration have been responsible for
accelerated slope erosion, both from the operations themselves
and from the access roads built to reach them.
Erosion has stripped away the often thin soil cover and caused
serious silting of streams.
Trace quantities of harmful metals have been released into
streams and groundwater from mining operations.
Reservoir operations have disrupted fisheries by altering the
temperature and flow patterns of streams and by disrupting
riparian (streamside) vegetation communities.
Wildlife habitat has been lost through the development of lands
for agriculture and livestock grazing.
The only deserts in North America, the
Intermountain Region lies between
The Rockies, Cascade Mountains,
Coastal Mountains, and Sierra
Nevada. It is a thinly populated area
of high plateaus and isolated
In many places, the streams and rivers never
reach the ocean. Instead the flow into
brackish (Somewhat salty) lakes. Such as the
Great Salt Lake in Utah or they disappear into
the desert sinks.
In some areas however the rivers do reach
the ocean and in some portions there are
some areas that can be productive with
irrigation. In other places cattle-ranching is
Overall very dry (It is a desert) so minimal
precipitation and flat sandy landscape with
mountains in almost all horizons.
The climate here is affected by the elevation and location.
Winters can be cool and wet, or hot and dry.
In the southern parts, winters are short and quite dry
In the northern parts the climate is more moderate with moist
winters and hot dry summers.
So essentially the region is one bug desert consisting of both
kinds of desert, the cold and warm desert. The cold desert will
receive more precipitation in the form of snow and the warm
will receive less in the from of rain.
The vegetation genrally ranges between sparse grassland to
plants that can survive in semi-desert or desert conditions.
The higher areas are covered in thin pine forest.
The valleys however are typically covered by sand with cacti
and some typical desert vegetation, i.e. shrubs, tumbleweeds,
cacti and reeds by river banks.
The Intermountain Region has begun to grow a diverse
It now contains real estate, tourism (Very large one), health
services, and lastly construction.
A significant concern is endangered species, 11 of which are
For example the Condor which is still bordering extinction even
due to extensive help from the government and conservation
Due to the fry air and arid landscape forest fires are becoming a
The Arctic Region, a region of
extremes, a combination of lowlands,
mountains and tundra.
Much of this region near the ocean is flat.
The mountains of the far North were formed by folding and are
presently covered by glaciers.
The Arctic climate is very severe due to it being so far from the
equator, therefore it receives less sunlight.
Summer is very short and not very warm.
Also because it receives very little precipitation, it is actually a
The Arctic has only a very small list of life forms that subside in
Trees cannot grow on the Tundra because the climate is too cold
and dry and only a small amount of thawing occurs during
Small shrubs, mosses, and lichens are the only things that can
grow here. They cling to the ground, soaking up the small
amount warmth and moisture available.
At this point the only economical objective happening in the
Arctic region is the search for resources.
A 2008 United States Geological Survey estimates that areas
north of the Arctic Circle have 90 billion barrels of undiscovered,
technically recoverable oil.
44 billion barrels of natural gas liquids in 25 geologically defined
areas thought to have potential for petroleum.
This represents 13% of the undiscovered oil in the world.
Although the Arctic is remote and lacks
dense populations, it is under threat from
environmental stresses largely originating in
Three main issues regarding the Arctic
environment are climate change, changes
in biological diversity, and the use of toxic
The effects of these changes are becoming
increasingly evident in the North: the Arctic
appears to be a harbinger of environmental
Mount Logan is the highest mountain in
Canada and the second-highest peak in
North America, after Mount McKinley.
The mountain was named after Sir William
Edmond Logan, a Canadian geologist and
founder of the Geological Survey of
Mount Logan is located within Kluane
National Park and Reserve in southwestern
Yukon and is the source of the Hubbard
and Logan Glaciers.
Logan has the largest base circumference
of any non-volcanic mountain on Earth
with the massif containing eleven peaks.
Elevation: 5,959 Meters
Due to active tectonic uplifting, Mount
Logan is still rising in height
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THANKS AND SORRY FOR THE SIZE OF