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Canadian Shield

The Canadian Shield refers to the exposed portion of the continental crust underlying the majority of North America. The crust, also known as the North American Craton, extends from northern Mexico to Greenland and consists of hard rocks at least 1 billion years old. With the exception of the Canadian Shield, the rocks of the North American Craton are buried deep within the continent and covered by soil and other material. At 5 million km2, the Shield makes up roughly 50 per cent of Canada’s land mass. Shaped like a horseshoe — or the shields carried during hand-to-hand combat — the Canadian Shield extends from Labrador in the east to include nearly all of Québec, much of Ontario and Manitoba, the northern portion of Saskatchewan, the northeast corner of Alberta, much of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and into the Arctic Archipelago. (It also reaches into parts of the United States, in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota.) While at times a barrier to settlement, the Shield has also yielded great resources, including minerals, coniferous forests and the capacity for hydroelectric developments.

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Metamorphic Rock

Metamorphic rock is one of the 3 major classes of rock comprising the Earth's crust, the others being SEDIMENTARY and IGNEOUS ROCKS. Metamorphic rock has been transformed, while in the solid state, by pressure, temperature and deformation.

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National Parks of Canada

Canada’s national parks are protected areas established under federal legislation to preserve Canada’s natural heritage. They are administered by Parks Canada, a government agency that evolved from the world’s first national parks service, the Dominion Parks Branch, established in 1911. The National Parks System Plan, developed in 1970, divided Canada into 39 natural regions and set the goal of representing each region with at least one national park. Canada now has 48 national parks and national park reserves in 30 of these regions. In total, the parks cover more than 340,000 km2, which is over 3 per cent of Canada’s landmass. They protect important land and marine habitats, geographical features and sites of cultural significance. National parks also benefit local economies and the tourism industry in Canada.

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Land

Earth's surface experiences change driven by relief, sea level, hydroclimate and human activity. Extreme hydroclimatic events combined with human activity on steep slopes and/or adjacent to low-lying coasts generate natural hazards.

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Fjord

In oceanographic terminology, fjords are estuaries, ie, semienclosed bodies of water in which seawater is measurably diluted by fresh water from land drainage.

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Wetlands

Wetlands cover about 14 per cent of the land area of Canada, and are the natural habitat of over 600 species of plants, animals and insects. In addition to providing a home for these plants and animals, wetlands are an essential part of the environment because they prevent flooding, filter toxins, store groundwater and limit erosion. The most common wetland habitats are swamps, marshes, and bogs.

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Québec's Postglacial Seas

Between about 100 000 and 12 000 years ago, the whole area of Québec as well as a major part of the northern hemisphere was covered with a thick layer of ice. In the late PLEISTOCENE era, just over 12 000 years ago, Québec underwent a gradual warming of the atmosphere.

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Landslide

A landslide is a downward and outward movement of a soil mass that formed part of a slope.

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Rocky Mountain Trench

The Rocky Mountain Trench is a long and deep valley extending approximately 1,500 km from the Bitterroot Valley in northwest Montana through British Columbia to the Liard Plain just south of the Yukon Territory. Its predominantly flat floor is 3–20 km wide and ranges in elevation between 600 m and 1,000 m above sea level. With walls made of sedimentary, volcanic and igneous rock, the Trench is sometimes referred to as the “Valley of a Thousand Peaks” because of the towering mountain ranges on either side: the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Columbia, Omineca and Cassiar mountains to the west. Humans have relied on the rich resources provided by this distinctive landscape from pre-colonial times to the present.

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Natural Regions

Natural regions are intended to describe areas of the Earth's surface which possess similar qualities or attributes. They may refer to either land or water, and can vary in size. The term “natural region” is often used interchangeably with the word “ecozone.”

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