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North America Geography - Research Paper Example

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North America Author Institution Introduction North America stands as the third biggest continent and forms the northern subcontinent of the Americas linked to South America by an isthmus. North America borders the Pacific Ocean to the West, Atlantic Ocean to the east, Arctic Ocean to the north, and South America to the south…
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North America Geography
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Download file to see previous pages The Northern half of North America remains sparingly populated and covered largely by Canada, except by North East part occupied by Alaska. The central and southern sections of the North America continent are represented by Mexico, United States, as well as several states situated in Caribbean and Central America. Canada, Mexico, and the United States constitute most of North America’s land mass and share the continent with 34 other island countries in the Caribbean south of Mexico. The paper explores the physical, economic, cultural, and historical geography of North America. The physical geography of North America Physical features frequently impact on the manner in which people select to settle areas and utilize the land. Physical geography can be categorized into three core areas of emphasis, namely: climatology (weather patterns and climates); geomorphology (physiography and landforms); and, biogeography (fauna and flora). The surface physiography of any region draws huge influences by the underlying rock structure. Geologic evidence demonstrates that, from 200 million years, the continent of North America altered its course and started drifting away from Pangaea. The earliest recorded history of any civilization dates back 5,000 years ago (Meinig, 1989). The physical features of North America entail Northern section of the American Cordillera comprising of the geologically new Rocky Mountains (located in the west) and older Appalachian Mountains to the east. The North features several glacial lakes formed within the last glacial period such as the Great Lakes. North America’s prominent continental divide (the Great Divide) runs north and south via Rocky Mountains. The prominent watershed largely drains to the east including the Mississippi/Missouri, St. Lawrence that drains into the Atlantic, and Rio Grande, which drain into the Gulf of Mexico (Meinig, 1989). North America can be categorized into five major physiographic regions, namely: Canadian Shield; Appalachian Mountains; Atlantic Coastal Plain; North American Cordillera; and, Interior Lowlands. The Coastal Plain and the principal North American Cordillera belts largely extend to the south in Mexico to join the Transverse Volcanic Range (a region comprising of active volcanic peaks south of Mexico City. The biggest portion of North America rests on the North American Plate anchored on the Laurentia craton. Some sections of California and Western Mexico form the partial edge of the Pacific Plate, which meet along the San Andreas Fault while sections in the southern portion of the Caribbean and sections of the Central America constitute relatively small Caribbean Plate (Brescia & Super, 2009). Mexico equally manifests highly varied topography that comprises of rugged mountains with high elevations, high plateaus, low coastal plains, and deserts. Mexico’s climate can also be regarded as variable mainly dominated by tropical or desert climate (Colby, 2011). North America Climate The core factors that impact on climate include continentality, latitude, surface physiography, and air masse possess huge impacts on the climate of North America, which in turn, possess direct influences the bio-geographic distribution of the natural vegetation across the region. The core factors that influence vegetation patterns entail temperature and humidity (precipitation). The climate that manifest in North America is ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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