GEOG 2OC3 Chapter 8: WEEK 7 TERMS: Western Canada

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WEEK 7 TERMS
Unit Trains: A set of approx. 150 specialized coal or potash rail cars pulled by one or two diesel engines.
Western Sedimentary Basin: Within the geological structure of the Interior Plains, normally flat
sedimentary strata that are bent into a basin-like shape. These basins often contain petroleum deposits.
Athabasca tar sands: The largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of 3 major oil
sands deposits in Alberta; aka the oil sands.
Bitumen: A tar-like mixture of sand and oil.
Orographic uplift: Air forced to rise and cool over mountains. If the cooling is sufficient, water vapour
condenses into clouds and rain or snow occurs.
Chinooks: A dry, warm, downslope wind the lee of a mountain range. Also called a rain shadow wind bc
it has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes.
Alberta clippers: A low pressure system that begins when warm, moist winds from the Pacific Ocean
come into contact with the Rocky Mountains and then the winds from a chinook in southern Alberta;
winter storms occur over the Canadian Prairies when it becomes entangled with the cold Arctic air
masses. Eventually, the storm reaches Ontario and Quebec.
It is also the name of a natural gas pipeline that runs from Alberta to the US Midwest.
Palliser’s Triangle: Area of short-grass natural vegetation in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan
determined by Captain John Palliser, who led an expedition organized by the British Colonial Office and
the Royal Geographical Society to survey the Canadian West in 1857-60, to be a northern extension of
the Great American Desert and therefore unsustainable for agricultural settlement.
Evapotranspiration: The sum of evaporation of water from the soil to the air and the transpiration of
water from plants and its subsequent loss as vapour.
Great American Desert: The treeless Great Plains as described by American explorers in the 19th
century; this region has a semi-arid climate and a grasslands vegetation cover.
Dominion Land Survey: This survey method divided Western Canada into 1-square-mile sections to
allow ownership of specific land unites by homesteaders and others.
Homesteader: A settler who obtained land. In Western Canada, quarter sections were available as
homesteads under the federal government’s plan known as the Dominion Lands Act where a settler paid
a $10 fee for a ¼ section.
Crow Benefit: Signed in 1897, the Crow’s nest Pass Agreements bw the Canadian Pacific Railway and the
federal government ensured that the rail rates from grain were low, and in this way helped to overcome
the disadvantage of a long rail distance to ports. The rail subsidy ended in 1995, placing the full burden
on farmers.
Fracking: A technique involving the injection of water and unidentified chemicals underground at very
high pressure to create fractures in the underlying shale rock formations, thus releasing the oil or gas for
extraction; hydraulic fracturing.
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Document Summary

150 specialized coal or potash rail cars pulled by one or two diesel engines. Western sedimentary basin: within the geological structure of the interior plains, normally flat sedimentary strata that are bent into a basin-like shape. Athabasca tar sands: the largest reservoir of crude bitumen in the world and the largest of 3 major oil sands deposits in alberta; aka the oil sands. Bitumen: a tar-like mixture of sand and oil. Orographic uplift: air forced to rise and cool over mountains. If the cooling is sufficient, water vapour condenses into clouds and rain or snow occurs. Chinooks: a dry, warm, downslope wind the lee of a mountain range. Also called a rain shadow wind bc it has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes. It is also the name of a natural gas pipeline that runs from alberta to the us midwest.

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