Physical Geography of the
United States and Canada
Section 1: Landforms and Resources
Landscape Influenced Development:
The United States & Canada is known as
Anglo America because both countries
were colonies of Great Britain & most
people speak English. The two countries
are bound together by physical geography
& cultural heritage, but also strong
economic & political ties.
Vast lands: Abundant
Canada is have natural
second in size & resources, fertile soils,
the U.S. is third. water, vast forests,
and large deposits of
Russia is rank as different minerals.
the largest. Resources attracted
immigrants & it has
enabled them to
Many and Varied Landforms
The Eastern Interior Lowlands:
Lowlands: flat this area was flattened
coastal plain. by huge glaciers
One section is called thousands of years
the Atlantic Coastal ago. It includes rolling
Plain & runs to the hills, lakes, rivers, &
Gulf Coastal. most fertile soil.
The Appalachian Divided into 3
Highlands: its extend subregion: interior
1,600 miles from plains, Great Plains, &
Newfoundland in Canadian Shield.
Canada to Alabama.
400 million years old.
Western Mountains: The Islands:
massive rugged Rocky
Mountains. It extend Canada’s are
3,000 miles, from Ellesmere,
Alaska to New Mexico.
80 millions years old. Victoria, &
Continental Divide is Baffin.
the line of highest United States:
points in the Rockies
that marks the Hawaiian
separation between islands.
eastward & westward.
Resources Shape Ways of Life:
Oceans & Waterways: Canada & the U.S. have
ample of water resources. Three oceans: Atlantic,
Pacific, & Arctic.
Great lakes: Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, &
Rivers: Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio & the Rio
Grande. Canada’s is the Mackenzie River.
Land & Forests: both countries are large &
contain some of the most fertile soils in the
world. North America is the world’s leading food
exporter. They also have huge forest, ½ of
Canada is covered by woodland, the U.S. is 1/3.
Both countries are major producers of lumber &
Minerals and Fossil Fuels
The U.S. & Canada have large quantities &
different kinds of minerals & fossils fuels.
This resources gave them the means to
In the Canadian Shield: iron ore, nickel, copper,
gold, & uranium.
Western Mts: gold, silver, copper, & uranium.
Both have substantial deposits of coal, natural
gas, and oil, & well developed network to move
this fossil fuels.
The U.S. is the world’s biggest consumer of
energy resources. It is a major importer of this
fuels. Most of Canada’s energy exports go to the
Climate and Vegetation
Climate & vegetation: Part A
Colder Climates: Moderate Climates:
1. Arctic coastlines of 4. North Central &
Alaska and Canada; Northeastern U.S. &
huge, treeless plain; much of southern
also the Rocky Mts. & Canada; also Pacific
Pacific ranges. Coast.
2. Tundra/long, bitter 5. Humid continental
cold winters, brief climate with short
summers in Arctic summers in the upper
areas; varying part of the north central
temperatures in mts. zone; marine west coast
3. Permafrost, in the Pacific coast.
permanently frozen 6. Prevailing westerlies
ground along Arctic affect the Pacific coast
Part B: U.S. Climate Zones
Milder Climates: Southern states—humid
subtropical climate with hot summers & mild,
cool winters: central & southern coast of
California—Mediterranean climate with dry,
sunny, warm summers & mild winters
Dry Climates: Great Plains and dry northern
parts of the Great Basin—Semiarid climate with
dry weather; southwestern states—desert
Tropical Climates: Hawaii—wet climates that
support rain forests; Florida—wet & dry seasons
Interaction in Canada & The
Chapter 5 Section 3
A Human Perspective
The sun-baked American Southwest was a
harsh environment for its early inhabitants,
the ancestors of today’s Pueblo peoples. But
these early settlers, made good use of
available resources. From the land, they
took clay and stone building materials. They
built multi-room, apartment-like dwellings
in cliffs. This gave protection against
daytime heat, nighttime cold, and human
and animal enemies. From plants and
animals, the early settlers got food and
clothing. They survived because they
adapted to their environment.
Settlement & Agriculture Alter the Land
Settlement: First inhabitants
nomads, probably migrated from
Asia over Beringia
Agriculture: Made settlements
permanent; remains an
important activity in both the
United States and Canada.
Montreal: is Canada’s 2nd largest city & a
major port. It has adapted to the cold by
building underground areas.
Los Angeles: mild climate drew
thousands and urban sprawl began, as
well as problems like air pollution,
inadequate water, and construction on
land where earthquakes are likely to
The Welland Canal is a strategic link between Lake Ontario and Lake
Erie. To accommodate as much traffic as possible the lock system was
divided in two at several places, as on this photo. Photo: St. Lawrence
Trails & waterways: Trials for
transportation/movement included the early
National & Wilderness roads, & Oregon & Santa
Fe trails. Canals included the Erie, as well as the
U.S. and Canada’s most important deepwater
ship route, the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Transcontinental railroads: In both the U.S. &
Canada, rail lines across the country permanently
changed the landscape, promoted economic
development, & helped create national unity.
National highway systems: Extensive highway
systems in both the U.S. & Canada accommodate
& promote heavy reliance on the automobile.
1. Which mountain Range is oldest?
2. How do Canada and the United States rank in size
compared with other countries?
Second & third
3. What large bodies of water surround the United
states and Canada?
Atlantic & Pacific oceans, Gulf of Mexico, Arctic Ocean
4. What are three common resources in the United
Petroleum, natural gas, coal
5. What are three common resources in Canada?
Hydroelectric power, copper, timber
6. Which country produces more minerals?
Neither; they are about equal
7. Why doesn’t the United States export as
many minerals as Canada?
It uses up too many to export
8. Why is Canada colder than the United
Because it lies farther north
9. What kinds of climates do not exist in
Desert or tropical
10. Where which climate would you most
likely find a rain forest?