The Geography of Canada Portal
Geography by province and territory
The geography of Canada is vast and diverse. Occupying most of the northern portion of North America (41% of the continent), Canada is the world's second largest country in total area after Russia. Canada spans an immense territory between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Arctic Ocean to the north (hence the country's motto "From sea to sea"), with the United States to the south (contiguous United States) and northwest (Alaska), and the Arctic Ocean to the north; Greenland is to the northeast. Off the southern coast of Newfoundland lies Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, an overseas collectivity of France. Since 1925, Canada has claimed the portion of the Arctic between 60°W and 141°W longitude to the North Pole; however, this claim is contested. Canada's abundance of natural resources is reflected in their continued importance in the economy of Canada. Major resource-based industries are fisheries, forestry, agriculture, petroleum products and mining.
The flora of Canada is quite diverse, due to the wide range of ecoregions and environmental conditions present in Canada. From the warm, temperate broadleaf forests of southern Ontario to the frigid Arctic plains of the Northern Canada, from the wet temperate rainforests of the west coast to the arid deserts, badlands and tundra plains, the biodiversity of Canada's plants is extensive. About 4,100 species of vascular plants are native to Canada, and about 1,200 additional non-native species are recorded as established outside cultivation there.
The fauna of Canada is considered to be diverse across Canada, ranging from lush forests of British Columbia, to the prairies of Western Canada, to the tundra of the Northern Canada. With a large land mass, and small population density, the wildlands of Canada provide important habitat for many animals, both endangered and not. Canada is home to approximately 70 000 known species of plants and animals - and perhaps many more that have yet to be discovered.
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Volcanism of Canada
Recently erupted pahoehoe lava flow at the Blue River
has produced lava
flows, lava plateaus
, lava domes
, cinder cones
, shield volcanoes
, submarine volcanoes
, and maars
, along with examples of more less common volcanic forms such as tuyas
and subglacial mounds
. It has a very complex volcanological history spanning from the Precambrian
period at least 6,000years ago when this part of the North American continent began to form.
Although the country's volcanic activity dates back to the Precambrian period, volcanism continues to occur in Western and Northern Canada where it forms part of an encircling chain of volcanoes and frequent earthquakes around the Pacific Ocean called the Pacific Ring of Fire. Volcanic activity has been responsible for many of Canada's geological and geographical features and mineralization, including the nucleus of North America called the Canadian Shield.
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Selected fauna -
The Snowy Owl
) is a large owl
of the typical owl family
Strigidae. The Snowy Owl was first classified in 1758 by Carolus Linnaeus
, the Swedish naturalist who developed binomial nomenclature
to classify and organize plants and animals. The bird is also known in North America as the Arctic Owl
or the Great White Owl
Until recently, it was regarded as the sole member of a distinct genus, as Nyctea scandiaca, but mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data (Olsen et al. 2002) shows that it is very closely related to the horned owls in the genus Bubo. The Snowy Owl is the official bird of Quebec. This species of owl nests on the ground, building a scrape on top of a mound or boulder. A site with good visibility, ready access to hunting areas, and a lack of snow is chosen. Gravel bars and abandoned eagle nests may be used. Breeding occurs in May, and depending on the amount of prey available, clutch sizes range from 5 to 14 eggs, which are laid singly, approximately every other day over the course of several days.
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Did you know? -
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Pingo National Landmark
Pingos in Pingo National Landmark
is a natural area protecting eight pingos
, Northwest Territories
. It is in a coastal region of the Arctic Ocean
which contains approximately 1,350 Arctic ice dome hills—approximately one quarter of the world's pingos.
The Landmark comprises an area roughly 16 km2 (6.2 sq mi), just 5 km (3.1 mi) west of Tuktoyaktuk, and includes Ibyuk pingo, Canada's highest (and the world's second-highest), at 49 m (161 ft). The Landmark is managed by Parks Canada under the National Parks Act. Although a nationwide Landmarks program was envisioned at its creation, Pingo remains the country's only National Landmark.
In a region near the Beaufort Sea which is quite flat, pingos dominate the skyline, rising from 5 to 36 m (16 to 118 ft), in various stages of growth and collapse. Ibyuk pingo, the highest, continues to grow about 2 cm (0.79 in) per year, and is estimated to be at least 1,000 years old. Unique to areas of permafrost, pingos have formed here thanks to numerous lakes in the Tuktoyaktuk Peninsula.
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is a species of flowering plant
of the order Proteales
that is native to North America
. - American Lotus
, Yellow Lotus
, and Water-chinquapin
Like the Asian species Nelumbo nucifera, the Lotus is an emergent aquatic plant. It grows in lakes and swamps, as well as areas subject to flooding. The roots are anchored in the mud, but the leaves and flowers emerge above the water's surface. The petioles of the leaves may extend as much as 2 m (6.6 ft) and end in a round leaf blade 33–43 cm (13–17 in) in diameter. Mature plants range in height from 0.8 to 1.5 m (2.6 to 4.9 ft).
Geography of Canada category
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