Landforms have helped to define certain areas and communities worldwide. They include any natural physical feature on Earth, and often neighboring nations share many of these features. The United States and Canada are two such nations, and they share many large and famous landforms, including mountain ranges, plains and one of the oldest bedrock formations in the world.
One of the largest mountain ranges in North America, the Appalachians stretch for almost 2,000 miles on the eastern half of the United States and Canada. The range begins in the province of Newfoundland in Canada and reaches all the way to Alabama. Many well-known smaller landforms, including the Catskills, the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cumberland Plateau, are all considered a part of the Appalachian Mountains. Additionally, there is a footpath extending for much of the range known as the Appalachian Trail, which attracts hikers and nature lovers.
The Appalachian Mountains' counterpart, the Rocky Mountains, extend on the western side of North America. Though most of the range is located in the United States, parts of the Rockies near Alaska are in Canada. This landform is known for its beautiful scenery, its pine-tree-filled forests and its large game animals.
Canada and the United States also share flat lands in between these two imposing mountain ranges, known as the Great Plains. This flat prairie land lies east of the Rockies and west of the U.S. Midwest. It reaches into parts of Canada. It is marked by wide-open spaces, few trees to break up the scenery and lots of grasses and grazing animals. Because of its flat topography and its propensity for thunderstorms, this area is susceptible to powerful tornadoes.
Known also as the Borderlands, the Interior Plains reside mainly in Canada. Located on the eastern side of North America, this plains region has three main climates across its large expanse. In the south, it's a dry prairie; the middle portion is wet and tree-covered; the northern Interior Plains are covered by an arctic tundra.
The Canadian Shield
The second landform that is located mostly in Canada, the Canadian Shield, is a lesser-known landmass that covers about half of Canada. Characterized by a thick bedrock close to the surface of the ground, the Canadian Shield is largely an unseen mass of rock that consists of some of the oldest granite and gneiss (two types of rock) on the planet. The area features a thin layer of topsoil and thousands of lakes.
- Southern Kings Consolidated School: Landforms: Face of the Earth
- Britannica Online Encyclopedia: Appalachian Mountains
- BluePlanetBiomes.org: Rocky Mountains
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln: Encyclopedia of the Great Plains
- The Atlas of Canada: Borderlands: Interior Plains Physiographic Region
- Canadian Shield Foundation: Understanding the Canadian Shield
- Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images