Canada Geography

Canada Geography

As a country located in North America according to Countryaah, Canada borders the USA in the northwest (Alaska) and south, the Pacific Ocean in the west, the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and the Canadian-Arctic Archipelago is located in the Arctic Ocean. With 9,984,670 km 2 (of which 755 180 km 2 inland waterways) Canada is the second largest country in the world after Russia; the largest north-south extension is 4 600 km, the largest east-west extension 5 500 km.

About half of the country is covered by the Canadian Shield, which stretches in a semicircle around Hudson Bay. Its surface is flat, between 200 and 600 m above sea level, the edges are raised and on Baffin Island they reach heights of more than 2,000 m above sea level. The rocks, especially gneisses and granites, belong to the Precambrian. Extensive ore deposits are switched on, including of iron, nickel, copper, zinc, gold, silver and uranium.

Around the Canadian Shield there is a wreath of lowlands and plateaus: in the west the Interior Plains with surfaces of different heights, which are separated by layers. On the Precambrian underground there are sediments from the Paleozoic Era up to Cretaceous and Tertiary layers. Oil and gas are found particularly in the Devonian and Chalk deposits., furthermore lignite and potash salt deposits. In the southeast lie the lowlands of the St. Lawrence River and southern Ontario, the subsurface of which consists primarily of paleozoic limestone with the prominent Niagara stage. To the north of the Canadian shield, the lowlands join in the area of ​​the southern Canadian Arctic archipelago, which rise to around 700 m above sea level.

The lowlands of Canada are bordered on the outside by mountains, the formation and shape of which is different. The Appalachians in the east arose at the end of the Paleozoic Era; Removal, uplift and formation of clods as well as intrusions have resulted in a complicated storage of the rocks. The Rump Mountains in Canada have mountainous lands (on the Gaspé peninsula in Mount Jacques Cartier up to 1,268 m above sea level) and flat undulating plateaus (in some cases only 300 m above sea level). Natural resources are various non-ferrous metals, coal and asbestos. The northern Canadian Arctic archipelago forms the geological-geomorphological region of Innuitians (Innuitian Region), which is on Ellesmere Island rises to 2 604 m above sea level. In western Canada, the Cordilleras rise, divided into the Rocky Mountains (Mount Robson 3,954 m above sea level), the intermontane plateaus (Fraser, Yukon Plateau) and the partly heavily glaciated Pacific coastal mountains.

The latter include the Coast Mountains on the mainland and, as an outer chain, the offshore islands (Vancouver Island, Queen Charlotte Islands) and on the mainland the Saint Elias Mountains reaching into Alaska with Canada’s highest mountain, Mt. Logan (5,959 m above sea level)). The Cordilleras of Canada contain ores (especially of non-ferrous metals), coal and provide hydro energy.

Almost the entire area of ​​Canada was covered by ice during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. Starting areas were west and east of Hudson Bay, on Baffin Island and in the Cordilleras. Especially during the retreat of the last glaciation (Wisconsin), terminal moraines, drumlins and others formed. glacial forms, as well as large ice reservoirs, of which numerous residual lakes have been preserved. Current ice sheets and glaciers are mainly found in the eastern parts of the Arctic and parts of the Cordilleras.

The inland lakes take up 7.6% of the total area. Canada’s share of the Great Lakes is 36%; they are drained to the Atlantic by the St. Lawrence River, which has been developed as a waterway of outstanding transport importance. The longest river is the Mackenzie (4,241 km), which flows into the Arctic Ocean. Almost half of the country is in the Hudson Bay catchment area, primarily through the Nelson River and Churchill River. The Fraser is most important on the Pacific side. Many rivers are rich in rapids and waterfalls and can be used to generate energy.


The natural vegetation is divided into a species-rich mixed forest in the south-east, depending on the climate. with maple, elm, spruce and fir, in the grass steppe (prairies) in the interior, today occupied by grain fields, and in the dense mountain forests with cedars, spruces and firs in the west, which are of great importance for forestry.

Over 80% of the forests are located in the boreal belt of coniferous forest, which stretches over 6,000 km north of the aforementioned zones through the continent, mainly spruce, also larches, birches and firs. To the north of it, a forest tundra leads over to the open tundra (North America).


In southern Canada, the wildlife does not yet differ significantly from that of the neighboring United States. It becomes more independent, especially towards the north, in the extensive boreal coniferous forests and in the subarctic and arctic zones. Many of the species occurring here live, partly in other subspecies, also in the same climatic zones in northern Europe and Asia. The mammals, of which hoofed animals and carnivores are best known, deserve special attention. The latter mainly include bears: the grizzly, which weighs up to 800 kg, a large subspecies of the brown bear, the black bear, which is endemic in North America and is still quite common, and the arctic polar bear.

Canada Geography