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System A set of connected things or parts forming a complex whole, in particular.

. Spheres Atmosphere A layer of gases that surround a material body of sufficient mass, and that is held in place by the gravity of the body Lithosphere The rigid outmost shell of rocky planet Hydrosphere The combined mass of water found on, under, and over the surface of a planet Biosphere Any closed, self-regulating systems containing an ecosystem Earths Ecosystems Definition: A biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as a well as all the nonliving, physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water, and sunlight. Can be as large as a forest or a small as a tree Largest ecosystem is Earth Human intervention can affect ecosystems greatly Physical forces affect ecosystems El Nino A quasiperiodic climate pattern that occurs across the tropical Pacific Ocean roughly every five years. It is characterized by varies in the temperature of the surface of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean (warming or cooling known as El Nino and La Nina respectively) and air surface pressure in the tropical western Pacific (the Southern Oscillation). Earths Physical Systems Equilibrium The condition of a system in which competing influences are balanced Nothing on Earth is permanent The Sun is the Earths main source of energy Greenhouse gases and global warming could cause more natural disasters especially when some natural disasters feed off heat Dynamic Systems Greatest benefits on Earth come from the Earth itself Natural disasters are natures way of going back to normal/healing itself

Earths layers: Soil Iron inner core Liquid Iron outer core Lower mantle Rigid upper mantle Continental crust/lithosphere Plate Tectonics Continental Drift About 200-300 million years ago, the plates were in a certain way so that all continents came to together. This land mass is called Pangaea. Alfred Wegener developed the theory of how Pangaea broke up and the continents drifted in different directions. He called this theory Continental Drift. Wegener developed four supportive points to prove his theory: He saw a jig saw fit between South America and Africa He found fossil of the same plants and animals on different continents. He felt that they could only exist in both places if continents were once joined. There are mountains similar in age and structure on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Ice sheets covered South Africa, India, Australia, and South America (warmer plates today). His reasoning was that these plates were closer to the South Pole. Scientists disagreed with Wegener because they could not believe that a mechanism powerful enough to move hug continents existed. The Plate Tectonics Theory was developed approx. 50 years later. This theory stated that the Earths outer shell is made up of about 20 plates consisting of continent and ocean. Plate Tectonics It is thought that the uneven distribution of heat in the Earth causes convection currents to move the plates. The Movement of Plates: Plates may collide, pull apart, or scrape past each other. There are three methods to plate tectonic movement: Divergent These are zones where two plates move away from each other, allowing magma from the mantle to rise up and solidify as a new crust. Convergent One plate is pulled beneath another (subduction zone) forming a deep trench. The long narrow zone where two plates meet is called a subduction zone. A plate will melt as it collides. Ocean Plates go under the continent plate and the plate melts.

Ocean Plates going underneath the continent plate causes continents plates to rise and cause mountains, also it can push magma out of from other the surface causing eruptions. Transform (Strike/Slip) At transform plate boundaries plates grind past each other side by side. These are responsible for many of Californias earth quakes. Geologic Time Earth is 4.55 billion years old Earths history has been divided into four time periods called ERAS: Precambrian (Time: 4600 mya) Earliest Life Proterozoic Archean Hedean 1st living mulit-cellular organisms about 3.5 billion years ago (bacteria) Mountains of Canadians Shield were eroded The sediments produced were carried to rivers/seas to form sedimentary rock Palaeozoic (Time: 570-245 mya) Ancient Life The Appalachian Mountains formed Parts of North America covered by seas Complex organisms such as fish, insects, and amphibians evolved Amphibians were the first animals to live on land Mesozoic (Time: 245-66 mya) Middle Life Marks the beginning of the breakup of Pangaea Tremendous tectonic forces caused the Rocky Mountains to form Dinosaurs and other reptiles walked about First known flowering plants, birds, and mammals evolved By the end of the era, more than half the life became extinct Cenozoic (Time: 66 mya present) Recent Life Ice Age due to glaciers developed as a result of a slight cooling of the Earths climate Completion of the Rocky Mountains Shaping of continents Humans and mammals develop

First Rocks Igneous Rocks Latin for Fire Rocks or born from fire Born from magma (inside the earths crust) or lava (outside earths crust) Formation of Igneous Rock Sometimes they form beneath the ground in magma chambers Igneous rocks can be intrusive (forms underground) or extrusive (forms above ground) Canadian Shield created by extrusive igneous rock Sometime they form above ground from volcanic eruptions Can be formed on the ocean floor, under water and are called pillow lava. Types of Igneous Rocks Basalt Cools by air, extrusive Obsidian Cools by water, extrusive Granite Pumice Floats on water, density less than water Rock Examples Some have air pockets Pumice Some cool very quickly without air pockets Obsidian Some cool slowly Basalt Some form slowly underground Granite Sedimentary Rocks Glimpse of the biological past Only rock that can hold fossils Any rock (igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic) exposed at the Earths surface can become a sedimentary rock The forces of wind, rain, snow, and ice combine to break down or dissolve (weather), and carry away (transport) rocks exposed at the surface. These particles eventually come to rest (deposited) and become hard rock (lithified). Guelph has a lot of limestone Formation of Sedimentary Rocks Sedimentary Rock They form in visible layers Example: Sandstone the most common sedimentary rock Other sedimentary rocks Conglomerate Limestone Shale Bones covered up by sedimentary rock eventually are compressed and become fossilised

Metamorphic Rocks Q: What does it mean to metamorphose? A: To change properties or to become something else, to transform Limestone can metamorphose into marble Formation of Metamorphic Rocks Heat and pressure increase with depth below Earths crust Eventually the rock undergoes metamorphosis Rock Cycle

Three highland areas Western Cordillera Location is Canada Yukon, British (describe Columbia, Northwest provinces/territories Territories, Alberta and N,E,S,W) Topography (surface Stands along western appearance) edge of Canada like a great wall. Range after range of mountains separated by plateaus and valleys.

Rock Types(s)


Volcanic rock, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary Collision of North America and Pacific plates. The heavier Pacific plate forced its way under the lighter North American plate causing volcanic activity.

Resources Population Description Lightly populated

Appalachians Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec Rolling hills though once was high peaks (higher than the Rockies) Long bays provide harbours for ocean freighters. Fertile river valleys along seacoast. Non-metallic minerals such as coal, iron, and zinc, sedimentary rock Erosion reduced Appalachians size from peaks to rolling hills. Glaciation played a big part, grinding down peaks and separating hills and mountains with wide valleys. Ice Age weight of ice pressed down Appalachians. Fishing, iron, zinc, and coal

Innuitians Nunavut

Stand like big watch towers in Canadas far North. Some measure over 2900 metres high.

Igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rock Shaped in the middle of the Mesozoic era when the North American plate moved northward.

Canadian Shield and three Lowland Areas Canadian Shield Great Lakes St. Lawrence Location in Canada Ontario, Quebec, Ontario, Quebec (describe Labrador, provinces/territories Manitoba, and N,E,S,W) Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, Nunavut Topography (surface Relatively flat with Separated into appearance) rounded hills of two parts by the rock which are Canadian Shield. actually the roots Flat plains, glacial

Hudson Bay Arctic Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut

Interior Plains Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories, British Columbia The landscape is composed of rolling hills, deep, wide river valleys.

Hudson Bay: Very flat, low area covered by swamp forest.

of ancient mountains

hills and deep river valleys. Great Lakes located around here.

Rock Type(s)


Some of the worlds oldest rocks. Igneous and metamorphic. Lead, gold, nickel, copper, zinc, and diamonds Magma forced its way through the cracks in the Earths crust. This process took thousands of years. When it reached the surface it cooled making/forming the Shield.

Bedrock formed of sedimentary roc

Layer of sedimentary rock which rests on top of the ancient soil. Arctic: Gentle rolling landscapes, no farming Hudson Bay: Sedimentary rock Arctic: Lignite

Land slopes downward from west to east, though it does have some flat area.

Sedimentary rock, the rock contains most of the oil and gas found in Alberta and Saskatchewan Interior plains were once covered by seas, sediments from the Shield and Rockies were deposited into the sea and after millions of years they were compressed to create the plains.


Lead, gold, nickel, copper, zinc, diamonds. Called the storehouse of Canadas metallic minerals.

St Lawrence: A rift valley formed by faulting. Rift valley was flooded in the last Ice Age by the Champlain sea, forming the lowlands. Great Lakes: Glaciers carried huge amounts of material from the Shield and dumped it throughout the region. Great Lakes dug out by glaciers. Good agriculture due to excellent soils and warm climate

The last Ice Age, nutrients layered and compressed creating the sedimentary rocks, melting of ice caused the swampy marshes and forests

Coal, oil, and natural gas deposits

Oil, gas, agriculture. Called Canadas bread basket.

Population Description

50% of Canadas population lives here. Called Canadas industrial and urban heartland.

Definitions Glacier: A large mass of ice flow. There are two types of glaciers that exist. Alpine Glacier: Smaller glaciers that are found in mountainous regions Continental Glacier: A large glacier that covers a large area of land mass or an entire continent. Wisconsin Glacier: was the last lacier that covered North America. The Wisconsin Glacier carved out the Great Lakes Icebergs: Floating sea-based ice. Melting of icebergs does not affect sea level rise. Moraine: Ridges of till (glacial soil) that are deposited by a retreating glacier. Esker: A long ridge of material deposited by a melt water stream flowing beneath a glacier. Drumlin: An egg-shaped hill with a steep side at the wide end and a gentle slope at the other. Continental Glaciers Continental glaciers are also called Icecaps and Ice Sheets These are massive glaciers that extend for hundreds or even thousands of kilometres The most famous Ice sheets/caps include: Antarctica Ice Sheet The Greenland Icecap Wisconsin Ice Sheet (11,000 years ago)

Weather The daily condition of the atmosphere Descriptions include detail about: Temperature Precipitation Hail Snow Rain Slate Humidity Wind Speed Direction Cloud Cover Air Pressure Climate Long term pattern of weather Evolved from averaging records of weather from different places over time There are 6 different things that affect our climate they are: Latitude Ocean Currents Winds and Air Masses Elevation (Altitude) Relief (Mountain barriers) Nearness to water Latitude 1. Further from the Equator = Cooler 2. Concentration of suns rays a. At equator = smaller area b. Farther North, rays are spread over larger areas 3. Amount of atmosphere traversed: a. At equator smallest amount b. Farther North or South, greater thickness of atmosphere c. Therefore greater amount of energy reflected back by atmosphere Ocean Currents 3 currents that affect Canada Alaska a warm current keeping the west coast region warmer during the winter. Labrador a cold current keeping Newfoundland and Labrador cooler in the winter. Gulf Stream (North Atlantic Drift) a warm current keeping Southern Nova Scotia and East coast areas warmer in the winter. Canadas Fog Machine

Where ocean currents meet south of Labrador they create lots of fog.

Warm Gulf Stream Current

Cold Labrador Current

Air Masses Air has weight. Its weight is caused by the force of gravity and is called Air Pressure. Air pressure is greatest at sea level and lowers as altitude increases because there is less air above you. Air masses = a large volume of air that has the same temperature and moisture throughout. When it moves it carries these characteristics Wind and Air Movement Winds are created by difference in air pressure. Differences are caused by altitude and temperature. Movement of air has created a pattern of winds around the world Prevailing winds over most of Canada Westerly blow from West to East. Pressure Systems L = Low pressure system H = High pressure system Elevation Temperature decreases with increasing altitude Air rises, expands, looses heat, and becomes cooler Rate of cooling vary according to moisture content Condensation begins when relative humidity of 100% is reached Relief Relief is the difference in elevation of the Earths surface Mountains ranges affect climate because they act as barriers to the movement of air masses Mountain ranges tend to cause precipitation to occur Nearness to Water Moderating effect of water As an air mass moves over a large body of water (ocean or lake) it absorbs moisture When passing over land moisture may be released as precipitation Areas closer to water usually receive more precipitation than those farther away Precipitation Caused when moist air is forced to rise Air rises, air pressure decreases, air cools Water vapour condenses into water droplets, forming clouds

Droplets are knocked together and become heavy, then the fall as precipitation Evapotranspiration: Evaporation that only come from trees, water/dew from leaves Sublimation: Solid to gas transformation without going through liquid stage (example: frost) Below Freezing If the water droplets form at temperatures below freezing they become ice crystals and they fall as snow Hail is formed when water droplets are forced upward and are frozen, forming small pieces of ice Sleet is a mixture of ice and water (freezing rain) 3 types of precipitation Relief/Orographic Frontal/Cyclonic Convectional Relief/Orographic Winds carry air up over mountain barrier As air rises it cools, condensation occurs, clouds from, precipitation occurs Ex. West Coast of British Columbia

Ascending air cools adiabatically to dew point water vapour condenses

Descending air warming adiabatically


Caused by moving masses of warm and cold air The leading edge of moving air mass is called a FRONT Warm air is forced over cold air A cyclonic storm is a large low pressure cell that forms when air mass collides with a cold air mass This is the most common form of precipitation in Canada Convectional Sun heats Earths surface to a high temperature Earths hot surface heats air above it, forcing it to rise The warm air cools as it raises causing precipitation Very common in the tropics and in Canadas prairies Summer rain in many parts of Canada

True soil consists of four main parts. If one of these parts is missing the material is not considered true soil. Minerals Come from rock known as parent material Rock is broken down by weathering into smaller particles and becomes part of the soil Many of these nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, and potassium are needed for plants to grow Bacteria and Organic Materials Plants and animals that have died break down/decompose by bacteria in the soil The bacteria releases nutrients from the organic matter, these decaying organic materials from humus which provides nutrients and moisture for plants Humus gives the soil the darker colour Air Plants need air around their roots. High humus levels help produce air in the soil because loose decaying materials allows for a lot of air pockets. Air pockets/spaces can also be created by worms, insects, or small animals that tunnel through the ground. Moisture Water dissolves the nutrients in the soil and the plants take the dissolved nutrients up through their roots Water is necessary in the weathering process (chemical and physical) and decaying material New mineral materials are added at the bottom of the soil by the weathering of parent material. At the same time new material is added to the top, the op layer containing humus is called topsoil Topsoil is a slow process, over the last 6,000 10,000 years only 15 25cm of topsoil has been formed under the Canadian forests. Though grasslands and prairies around 40 100cm has been developed. A well balanced mixture of sand, silt, clay, and humus is called loam. Loam is the best soil for growing plants; it encourages growth, holds moisture, and allows water to pass through at a moderate rate so the plants can take up enough nutrients. Leaching is another process which contributes to soil formation. In areas where there is a lot of rain or water there is a continuous downward movement of the water through the soil. As water moves down it dissolves chemical nutrients and carries it away. Though this takes away nutrients that the plants need, sometimes so far down in the soil that the plant roots are unable to reach it. Though it can also make great farmland if fertilizer is added.

Another process which contributes to soil formation is calcification. It occurs in areas witch dryer climates. When water from the top soil evaporates, water from below is drawn up to replace it; this process is called capillary action. When water evaporates it leaves the dissolved nutrients behind resulting in thick and nutrient rich topsoil. However too many nutrients in the topsoil can be poisonous to the plants. Regions vegetation is determined by its climate and soils. Different types of vegetation require different types of climate and soils. The vegetation affects the characteristics of the soil. Plants must have moisture and heat to survive; these are the two things that influence plants to grow. Natural vegetation is usually quite different from plants that people grow or cultivate for food or use in industries Different types of natural vegetation grow in response to different climatic soils conditions. There are seven natural vegetation regions across Canada they are composed of three types of natural vegetation they are: Tundra Forest Grassland The forest region covers most of Canada Info Facts The size of rock particles is an important part of soil structure. The larger particles of sand allow rainwater to drain quickly through the soil while the smaller particles of clay prevent rapid damage.

Below is a table of Canadas ecozones (Mixedwood Plains, Boreal Shield, Atlantic Maritime, Prairie, Montane Cordillera, Boreal Cordillera, and Boreal Plains)
Name: Landfor ms: Mixedwood Plains Plains and rolling hills; Great Lakes are an important feature. Cool, short winters (-7C); relatively long, mild summers (20C) ; precipitation 700 1000mm; growing season 180- 260 days Boreal Shield Plains and low hills of the Canadian Shield. Long winters (-15C); short summers (17C); precipitation 400 1000mm; growing season 130 260 days Atlantic Maritime Hills and coastal plains. Prairie Flat to rolling plains. Montane Cordillera Mountains, plains and plateaus. Boreal Cordillera Mountainous, some hills. Boreal Plains Level to gently rolling plains.


Long, mild winters (-4C); moderately warm summers (17C); precipitation 1000 1400mm; growing season 180 210 days

Moderately long, cold winters (15C); moderately warm summers (18C); precipitation 250 700mm; growing season 170 190 days

Vegetati on:

Coniferous, mixed with deciduous; little natural vegetation remains Leached, wetclimate soils

Coniferous, mixed with deciduous

Coniferous mixed with deciduous


Heavily leached soils; bare rock; swampy areas St. Johns, Chicoutimi, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay, Thompson

Leached, wetclimate soils

Short-grass prairie in drier areas; long-grass prairie in wetter areas; some trees; little natural vegetation remains Rich, grassland soils

Temperatures vary with latitude and elevation; moderate winters (-12C); moderate summers (15C); precipitation varies widely with elevation and physical aspects, 500 1000mm; growing season 140 240 days Enormous variations depending on elevation; dominated by coniferous Wide variety of mountain soils

Long, cold winters (-20C); short, cool summers (12C); very dry, precipitation 300 500mm; growing season 125 150 days

Long, cold winters (-20C); short, warm summers (17C); precipitation 450mm; growing season 130 165 days

Mainly coniferous

Coniferous forests mixed with deciduous; extensive marsh areas Rich soils formed under forests; marsh soils in some areas Hinton, La Ronge, The Pas, Flin Flon, Peace River, Fort Smith

Variety of mountain soils

Major Cities:

Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, Hamilton, Windsor, London

Halifax, St. Johns, Fredericton, Saint John, Charlottetown

Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon

Kamloops, Prince George, Penticton

Whitehorse, Dawson

Below is a table of the rest of Canadas ecozones (Pacific Maritime, Taiga Cordillera, Taiga Plains, Hudson Plains, Northern Arctic, Taiga Shield, Southern Arctic, and Arctic Cordillera)
Name: Landforms: Pacific Maritime Mountains with small areas of coastal plains Mild winters (3C); cool summers (15C); precipitation 600 2000mm; growing season 200 260 days Taiga Cordillera Mountainous Taiga Plains Interior Plains and some foothills Long, cold winters (23C); short, cool summers (12C); dry, precipitation 200 400mm; growing season 80 150 days Hudson Plains Low-lying, swampy plains Moderately long, cold winters (17C); moderately short, cool summers (14C); precipitation 400 700mm; growing season 90 150 days Groundhugging tundra; increasingly dense forest in South Scattered permafrost occurs; poorly developed organic and permafrost soils Northern Arctic Plains and upland areas Taiga Shield Plains and hills of Canadian Shield Moderately long, cold winters (25C); moderately short, cool summers (12C); precipitation 300 900mm; growing season 100 140 days Black spruce, jack pine, paper birch, trembling aspen Thin, highlyleached soils; bare rock Southern Arctic Plains and hills of Canadian Shield Long winters (-25C); short summers (10C), dry, precipitation 200 300mm; growing season 80 days Arctic Cordillera Innuitian Mountains


Long, cold winters (24C); short, cool summers (13C); very dry, precipitation 250 400mm; growing season 90 130 days Tundra of all types; areas of scattered forests

Long winters (-30C); short summers (5C); precipitation 200mm; growing season 50 days

Long winters (-40C); short summers (0C); precipitation less than 200mm; virtually no growing season


Varies with elevation; coniferous trees

Open forests to dense forest

Tundra; groundhugging plants

Tundra, including shrubs

Mostly no vegetation; tundra


Wide variety of mountain soils

Variety of poor quality soils; bare rock

Major Cities:

Vancouver, Victoria, Prince Rupert

Old Crow

Continuous permafrost in North; scattered permafrost further South; wide variety of poor quality soils Hay River, Inuvik, Fort Simpson

Permafrost; tundra soils

Permafrost everywhere; tundra soils, bare rock

Permafrost, tundra soils; bare rock

Moosonee, Churchill, Attawapiskat

Iqaluit, Cambridge Bay, Resolute

Yellowknife, Uranium City, Happy ValleyGoose Bay

Rankin Inlet, Tuktoyaktuk, Povungnituk

Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Broughton Island