Geography 2010A/B Chapter 2: Chapter 2

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Chapter 2: Canada’s Physical Base
7 Physiographic Regions
A physiographic region is a large area of the worlds crust that has 3 characteristics:
o Extends over a large, contiguous area with similar relief features
o Its landform has been shaped by a common set of geomorphic processes
o It possesses a common geological structure and history
1. The Canadian Shield
The Canadian Shield is the largest physiographic region in Canada (extends over half of
the outry’s lad ass)
Canadian Shield also forms the ancient geological core of North America
o 4.5 billion years ago, molten rock solidified into the Canadian Shield
Surface of the Shield is rock-like and consists mainly of rugged, rolling upland
o Lowest elevations are along the Hudson Bay highest elevations occur in
Labrador and on Baffin Island
Mountains in northern Labrador reach elevations of 1,600m making them the highest
land east of the Rocky Mountains
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o Water divide of the Torngat Mountains represent the political boundary
between Labrador and Quebec
During the last ice advance, surfaces of the Canadian Shield were subjected to glacial
erosion and deposition (caused by giant ice sheets grinding over the earth)
o As the ice sheet advanced, minerals were trapped inside the ice and when the
sheet reached its maximum point, the sheet melted and minerals were
deposited (debris from sheet = till)
Due to the impact of these processes the surface of the Shield is widespread
o Drumlins (low elliptical hills composed of till) and eskers (long, narrow mounds
of sand and gravel deposited by streams found under a glacier) are common to
this region
o Glacial striations scratches in the rock surface caused by large rocks embedded
in the ice sheet, are also found
Wealth in the Shield is due to the vast amount of minerals
o Along the southern fringe there were large deposits of minerals that were easily
exploited such as the nickel deposit in Sudbury
Access to transportation is key to being able to have large-scale
production, which leads to exploitation
2. The Cordillera
Cordillera is a complex region of mountains, plateaus, and valleys occupies 16% of
Caada’s territory
o Extends from British Columbia to Yukon
Plate tectonics played a large role in forming the Cordillera
o Beginning 175million years, ending 85m years ago, it was created out of the
horizontal sedimentary rocks of the NA plate with final tectonic push crumbling
these rocks into the Alberta foothills
o The slow movements of the two plates caused sever folding/faulting and its flat-
lying sedimentary rocks were twisted and broken into the series of mountains
found in the cordillera
Along the fault line separating the Pacific and NA plates, tectonic movement still
continues making the coast of BC vulnerable to earthquakes/volcanoes
The Cordillera Ice Sheet altered the landforms of the region
o Over the last 20,000 years alpine glaciation has sharpened the features of the
mountain ranges and broadened its many river valleys
Rocky Mountains are best known of these mountain ranges
Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada (6000m)
3. The Interior Plains
Interior Plains region is a vast and geologically stable sedimentary plain that covers
nearly 20% of Caada’s lad ass
Region is wedged between the Canadian Shield and the Cordillera, extending from the
Canada-US boarder to the Arctic Ocean
o Most of the population in the Plains lives in the southern area better
farming/cattle ranching
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Document Summary

A physiographic region is a large area of the worlds crust that has 3 characteristics: extends over a large, contiguous area with similar relief features. Its landform has been shaped by a common set of geomorphic processes. It possesses a common geological structure and history: the canadian shield. The canadian shield is the largest physiographic region in canada (extends over half of the (cid:272)ou(cid:374)try"s la(cid:374)d (cid:373)ass) Canadian shield also forms the ancient geological core of north america: 4. 5 billion years ago, molten rock solidified into the canadian shield. Surface of the shield is rock-like and consists mainly of rugged, rolling upland: lowest elevations are along the hudson bay highest elevations occur in. Mountains in northern labrador reach elevations of 1,600m making them the highest land east of the rocky mountains: water divide of the torngat mountains represent the political boundary between labrador and quebec.

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