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Snow

The size of a snowflake is related to how far the snowflake has fallen from the sky and to how well colliding snow crystals stick to each other. The largest snowflakes are usually observed near 0° C because of the increased forces of adhesion at these temperatures.

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Plate Tectonics

Plate tectonics is the theory proposing that Earth’s outer rocky shell is divided into seven major and several smaller rigid plates. Forces generated by heat losses from the planet’s interior constantly move the plates about. Plate movements, ongoing over millions of years (see Geological History), open and close ocean basins, generate volcanoes, raise mountains, facilitate accumulation of mineral and petroleum deposits, and influence evolution and climate change. Friction between plates prevents steady motion and stores energy that is released in sudden movements, causing earthquakes.

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Historic Gardens

 Gardens can be viewed, studied and understood as cultural landscapes. Their aesthetic, horticultural, historic and environmental richness as well as their evocative power excite wonder and delight.

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Geological Survey of Canada

The Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) is Canada's national agency for geoscientific information and research. It studies and reports on Canada’s geology, natural geological hazards, and the development of natural resources. Established in 1842 primarily to promote the mining industry, it is one of the country’s oldest scientific organizations. Throughout its history, the Survey has produced some of the most comprehensive and detailed maps of the Canadian landscape, and published several important reports on its ecology and natural history.

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Geological Regions

Based on geological history, Canada can be divided into six regions, each characterized by a distinctive landscape: the Canadian Shield, Interior Platform, Appalachian Orogen, Innuitian Orogen, Cordillera and Western Canada Sedimentary Basin, and the Eastern Continental Margin.

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Bee

Bees are members of the insect order Hymenoptera (including sawflies, wasps, bees and ants) whose habits of feeding on plant pollen and nectar have made them important pollinators of flowering plants and crops. There are more than 20,000 species worldwide, and nearly 800 can be found in Canada. Bees’ nesting habits range from solitary to highly eusocial. Most bees are solitary, wild species, but some are kept or managed for pollination of crops or to produce honey, including the non-native western honey bee (Apis mellifera). Other familiar bees include bumble bees (genus Bombus), mason bees (genus Osmia) and leafcutter bees (genus Megachile). More than a third of all bee species found in Canada are either mining bees in the genus Andrena, or sweat bees in the genus Lasioglossum.

Macleans

Inside the Kyoto Deal

Alberta’s energy minister, Steve West, spent much of last week wearing a tight smile, his clenched jaw and square shoulders set as firmly as his conviction that people who blame the oilpatch for the next century’s foul weather have lost their heads.

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Zoology

Zoology is the study of ANIMALS. Zoologists have many interests: some study form (morphology) or function (physiology), from gross to molecular levels; behaviour (ethology); association (ecology); or distribution (zoogeography); and some specialize in one kind of animal.

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Climate Change

Climate change occurs when long-term weather patterns begin to shift. These periods of change have occurred throughout the Earth’s history over extended periods of time. However, since the Industrial Revolution the world has been warming at an unprecedented rate. Because of this, the current period of climate change is often referred to as “global warming.” Human activities that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as the burning of fossil fuels, are largely responsible for this increased rate of change. The implications of this global increase in temperature are potentially disastrous and include extreme weather events, rising sea levels and loss of habitat for plants, animals and humans. In Canada, efforts to mitigate climate change include phasing-out coal-fired power plants in Ontario and instituting a carbon tax in British Columbia.

(This is the full-length entry about climate change. For a plain-language summary, please see Climate Change (Plain-Language Summary).)

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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.”