Geography of North America
North America is a very large continent in the Northern Hemisphere and quite completely within the Western Hemisphere as well. It is also widely described as the easternmost sub-continent of a large single continent, America. Like Australia, it is separated into three main islands – Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado. Although the United States is much bigger than Canada it still has only four major islands and one island.
The shape of North America has a lot to do with the differences between Europeans and Americans. Whereas the American continents are long and narrow like the British and Irish continental charts, North America is short and wide with the exception of Alaska. This makes the interior of North America much more similar to that of Europe and therefore the differences between the continental charts become more pronounced. Most importantly the most obvious geographical difference between North America and Europe is the fact that America is not part of either Europe’s continental shelf whereas Europe is an integral part of Europe.
There are many significant geographical features found in North America that have had an extremely long history playing a role in how that continent’s cultures and people have evolved and how they interact with each other. These are names that give at least some idea of what those particular geographic features look like and how they relate to the region they represent. A very important aspect of North America’s geography comes from its massive ice-producing glaciers which border the vast and extensive forests of the central plain. The massive ice-sheets and the conical cliffs that they support are a geological feature unique to this region. They are the highest peak on the continent, which means they provide the fresh water necessary for many of the tribes’ activities including hunting and fishing.
Another notable geographical feature of North America is the presence of the largest continent on Earth. While many people still debate on whether or not North America was meant to be a continent or a landmass, there is no doubt that the shape of the continent does lend itself to a being a landmass. The United States comprises a lot of land that is not considered to be part of the continental shelves of Europe and Asia. This land mass, technically referred to as the American continent, accounts for almost a fifth of the surface of the earth. North America is the only continent that does not have any tectonic plate boundaries, which means it is not connected to or influenced by any of the Earth’s sub-continents.
Geographically speaking, the majority of the continent of North America is mountainous with the exception of the area between the Mississippi and continental divide. The western portion of this landmass bares the Divide while the eastern portion has the most arable land in the continent. Surprisingly though, the most prominent mountains in north america lie in the far south. Whereas most mountains in Europe and Asia act as barriers to the passage of light and moisture, these in north america act as barriers to the passage of winter and summer. These geographical features and others such as climate and topography also mean that the vegetation and climate of north america is far different from its southern counterpart.
In terms of vegetation and climate, there are very few differences between north america and its southern neighbor. The most striking differentiation however comes in terms of soil types. The flat and very mobile gravel like soils found in north america are a stark contrast to the clay rich and rocky mountains of south america. This is probably due to the lack of a continental divide or more land bridges connecting north america to south america. It is estimated that the total amount of mountain range in north america is around twenty five percent lower than the total number of mountain range in south america. Overall the geography of north america is very different from its neighbors and offers very diverse ecosystems and landscapes.