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Geography 2010A/B
Suzanne Greaves

CH2: Canada’s Physical Base Physical variations within Canada - Physiography: study of landforms, underlying geology and the processes that shape these landforms - Regional geographers: o how physical geo varies and influence human settlement o effect of human activities on the natural environment - Emphasis on: o Distinct and unique regional patterns o One aspect of physical diversity o Climate, soils & natural vegetation  biodiversity o Human impact o Certain areas = more attractive for settlement The nature of landforms - Denudation: gradually wears down mountains by erosion and weathering o Appalachian Uplands  Weathering: broke down solid rock into smaller particles  Erosion: transported smaller particles by air, ice and water to lower levels  Deposition: - Earth’s crust has 3 types of rock o Igneous: molten rock formed from magma o Sedimentary: formed from particles derived from previously existing rock  Formed in layers = strata o Metamorphic: igneous & sedimentary  metamorphic by pressures & high temp  Usually from earth’s crust folding and faulting  Faulting: process that fractures the earth’s crust  Folding: bends and deforms the earth’s crust  Fault line: refers to a crack in earth’s crust - Earth’s crust broken into 14 plates o Moves with currents of molten aka continental drift or plate tectonics Physiographic Region - Physiographic region: large area of the earth’s crust that has 3 characteristics o Extends over large area with similar features o Shaped by common process o Common geological structure & history - Major elements of North America o Canadian Shield: igneous and metamorphic (physical core/ hard resistant rock) o Platform rocks: sedimentary (interior plains/fossil fuel) o Folded belts –igneous and metamorphic (mountains)  3 sets of mountains 1. B.C (youngest), Coastal, Insular mountains in ocean 2. Appalachian (oldest) 3. Innuitian mountains (mid-aged) - 7 physiographic regions: o Cordillera  Mountains, plateaus, valleys  Collision of plates which compressed sedimentary rocks into mountains o Interior Plains  Inland sea use to occupy area  Stable b/c no tectonic forces  Basins: oil and gas deposits  Glacial spillways: valleys formed by flow of water from melting ice sheet o Canadian Shield:  Largest: nearly 50% of land  From Molten rock  Glacial erosion  Till: deposited soil and rocks from glaciers  Drumlins: long low hills composed of till  Eskers: long narrow mounds of sand and gravel deposited by meltwater streams  Glacial striations: scratches in rock caused by large rocks embedded in the slowly moving ice sheet  Inverted saucer o Hudson bay Lowland:  Muskeg: wet peatland most  Level surface + permafrost = poorly drained  Least favourable living conditions  Ice sheet retreated & Pacific flooded, but land rose b/c glacier gone  Isostatic rebound: uplift of land o Restrained rebound, postglacial rebound, residual rebound o Appalachian Uplands : eroded down not built up  Few mountains in Canada  Rounded uplands and narrow river valleys  Mountain landscape with peneplain features: level top o Great Lakes – St. Law Lowlands:  Smallest region  Shaped by Champlain Sea  Sedimentary strata and thin glacial deposits o Arctic Archipelago:  Arctic platform:  Plateaus of sedimentary rock  Arctic coastal plain  Innuitian Mountain complex  East end w/ mountains from volcanos  Permanently frozen land, only surface thaws = permafrost  Patterned ground: rocks arranged in polygonal forms by repeated thawing and freezing  Pingos: ice-cored mounds/hills - Pleistocene epoch: ice advance from two ice sheets (glaciations) o Cordillera & Laurentide Impact of physiography on human activity - Attracted to St.Law lowlands b/c of agricultural benefits & closeness to France - Can also be barriers to settlement o However, technological advances have reduced friction of distance Geographic Location - Shipping = crucial o Cannot ship over Arctic because o ice  Summer: slow moving permanent ice pack  Winter: fast ice  Polynyas: small areas of open water Climate - Climate: average weather conditions for a specific place o Expected, weather = what we get - Climate controls o Latitude o Land & water o Global winds & pressure belts o Ocean currents o Topography (i.e mountains) o Altitude o Air masses - Global Circulation System o Global Circulation system: redistributes energy through air and oceans  West to east direction  Marine air masses: brings mild and moist weather  Continental air masses: dry and varying temperature depending on season - Air masses
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