The Pacific Cordillera
My Region that I choose was The Pacific Cordillera, also known as the western Cordillera. This region extends from the Coast Mountains in Alaska, south through majority of the Yukon and British Columbia, bordered by the Rocky Mountains and beyond the Canada-US border. The Pacific Cordillera consists of mostly mountains whereas the US mostly has plateaus. Plateaus are areas of fairly high level ground usually formed by glaciers.
The Western Cordillera has 3 sections:
Some of the geological processes that helped form this region are collisions of tectonic plates and stay islands. The Eastern and Rocky mountains were folded; the interior plateaus were made by volcanic activity. The Coast Mountains were created from the Pacific plate going underneath the North American plate causing magma by pressure rising the earths crust. When the magma cooled it formed the Coast Mountains!
Glaciation had a huge role in forming the Pacific Cordillera. The Ice age glaciers covered some the plateaus within the Pacific Cordillera leaving wind spread deposits of glacial debris.Erosion also plays a part in forming the Columbia mountains.
A cirque is a half-opened steep sided hollow at the head of a valley or on a mountain side. Cirques are formed by glacial erosion.
A tarn is a small mountain lake formed by glaciers.
An alpine meadow is a high mountain meadow with low grasses and a lot of snowfall. These are formed by sediments from the weathering of rocks which produce soil well developed enough to support grasses and sedges.
A stratovolcano is a volcano built up of alternate layers of lava and ash. These are formed by lava that flows from stratovolcanoes magma. The magma cools and hardens before spreading far. This is due to high viscosity.
Western Cordillera Natural Resources
The major economic activitaies of the western cordillera are forestry, agriculture, mining (iron, lead, zinc, silver, copper, nickel) and marine resources. (Ms. E. Phillips – International Student Web Page Project, University of Windsor)
How Some Important Minerals Were Formed In The Cordillera and What They Are Used For
Some of the most important mining resources in the cordillera are iron, gold, copper and coal.
Iron is a well used resource of the cordillera as it is used to make steel. Iron is formed in a process where silica and iron oxide combine over and over again over a number of years and the result makes iron.
As most people know gold is one of the most valuable minerals and it can also be found in the cordilla. Gold comes from hot fluid inside the earths crust that cools as it gets near the surface. Gold is a very useful mineral making it very valuable. It is conductible allowing energy to easily pass through it, easy to use and looks awesome and is used in a lot of jewelry.
Copper is another important resource found in the Cordillera. When the Cordillera was formed and the pacific plate went underneath the north american plate the pressure caused magma to rise to the earths crust. The magma (molten rock) left behind formed copper. Copper is mostly used for wires and cables as it is very conductible. Also copper is used in a lot of architecture because it is durable and weatherproof.
One of the major non-metal minerals found in the cordillera is coal. Coal is a fossil fuel because it forms on the remains of vegetation. Coal has a lot of carbon from the dead plants which gives it its energy. Coal was once a soggy material named peat. Over time the earth squeezed all water out making it coal.
(Minerals Downunder, About.com, Wikipedia, Geology.com)
Other Important Resources in the Cordillera
Forestry is a huge resource and forests make up most of the cordillera. The forest produces trees which are used for making paper, fire wood and buildings. Medicine and lots of food sources such as animals and plants are also found it forests. The forest is home to many animals. Marine resources are also very important. Bodies of water give us water, fish, a source of transportation, oil, mining and it is a home to lots of creatures.