Essay on Canada

This essay has a total of 1960 words and 9 pages.



Canada, is the world's second largest country and it is the largest country in
the Western Hemisphere. It comprises all of the North American continent north
of the United States, with the exclusion of Alaska, Greenland, and the tiny
French islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon. Its most easterly point is Cape
Spear, Newfoundland and its western limit is Mount St. Elias in the Yukon
Territory, near the Alaskan border. The southernmost point is Middle Island, in
Lake Erie and the northern tip is Cape Columbia, on Ellesmere Island.

Canada is bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the west by the pacific
Ocean, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean and its associated bodies of water,
including Baffin Bay and the Labrador Sea.

Canada has an abundance of mineral, forest, and water-power resources. The
mining industry has been a major force in Canada's economic development in the
past and is still the main force in the advance and economic activity and
permanent settlement into the northlands. The principal minerals are petroleum,
nickel, copper, zinc, iron ore, natural gas, asbestos, molybdenum, sulfur, gold,
and platinum; in addition extensive beds of coal, potash, uranium, gypsum,
silver, and magnesium are found.

Fresh water covers an estimated 756 276 sq km or 7.6% of Canada. The many
rivers and lakes supply ample fresh water to meet the nation's needs for its
communities and for irrigation, agriculture, industries, transportation, and
hydroelectric power generation. Canada has four principal drainage basins: the
Atlantic Basin which drains to the Atlantic Ocean by way of the Great Lakes and
the St. Lawrence River, the Hudson Bay Basin which drains northward into Hudson
Bay via the Churchill, Nelson and Saskatchewan rivers, the Arctic Basin which is
drained by the Mackenzie River and the Pacific Basin which drains into the
Pacific Ocean via the Fraser, Yukon and Columbia rivers.

Canada has six major physical, or physiographic, regions: the Canadian Shield,
the Arctic Islands, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, the Appalachian
Region, the Interior Plains, and the Cordilleran Region.

In simple terms, Canada can be considered a vast, saucer-shaped basin, bordered
by mountainous lands on the west, east, and northeast. Hudson Bay and the
lowlands along its southern shore form the central depression of this ³saucer².
Surrounding this depression on all sides, including Baffin Island, is the
Canadian Shield (also known as the Laurentian Plateau or Laurentian Upland).
The Canadian Shield is a region of ancient, mostly Precambrian rocks that covers
nearly half of Canada. The Canadian Shield includes all of Labrador and large
areas of Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. As a result
of glacial action during the Pleistocene Ice Age, much of the region is covered
with numerous lakes and marshy areas as well as rolling hills from worn down
mountains. The Canadian Shield was formed in the early Paleozoic era and is
composed of igneous rock. Podzolic soils, which are soils of low natural
fertility cover much of this area, they are also quite wet from the climate.
The climate in this area varies quite a bit due to the different levels of
elevation. Arctic climate conditions are found in the northern areas, these
areas generally have dry and cold conditions. Boreal conditions are found in
the midsection, the conditions are generally cold and wet. South-Eastern
climate conditions are found in the south, these climate conditions are
generally cool and wet. Precipitation is fairly heavy in northern Quebec and
Labrador. The climate and acidic soils in this area do not create proper
conditions for agriculture. Some coniferous and deciduous forests are found in
this area as well as, shrubs, litchen and heath.

The Arctic Islands lie to the northwest of the central depression and constitute
about 8.3% of Canada's land area. They are mostly covered by permanent snow and
ice fields. The northern sections of the region include the United States Range,
which reaches 2926 m in northern Ellesmere Island. The southern sections are
lower in altitude and are sometimes referred to collectively as the Arctic
Lowlands and Plateaus. The Arctic Mountains are primarily composed of igneous
and metamorphic rock. The mountains are very young mountains with jagged peaks.
The Arctic Lowlands are made solely of sedimentary rock. Glaciation has worn
down the land in this area leaving it flat with some rounded hills. Tundra and
subarctic soils cover all of this area and ice and stone deserts are found over
large areas as well. The subsoil in much of this area is permanently frozen,
and the soils are unsuitable for agriculture. The sparsely settled northern
areas have an arctic, or tundra, type of climate on the islands and northern
coastal areas and a subarctic type of climate in the vast transitional area
between the frozen north and the settled south. The arctic type of climate is
characterized by long, very cold winters, with average temperatures far below
freezing and no summer month with an average temperature higher than 10 degrees
C. In the subarctic areas, winters are similarly long and bitterly cold, but
summers are warm enough to support some vegetation growth. Precipitation is
generally light in the western areas of the arctic and subarctic regions.
Despite the low precipitation, snow covers the ground permanently for more than
6 months of every year. Tundra vegetation covers most of this area. The low
temperatures and permanently frozen subsoil inhibits the growth of most plants
except the hardy mosses and lichens. Various grasses and flowers are also found.
Trees are absent, except for dwarf trees and some berry-bearing shrubs.

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands region constitutes only 1.3% of Canada but
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