Geography of North America
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How the United States Got Almost Half the Land of Mexico

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After signing a treaty with Spain, Mexico allowed immigrants from the United States to settle in their northern territories.  Eventually that land was claimed by those immigrants was taken by the U.S. after the Mexican American War.

 

This article is a bit angry for my tastes.  But many people feel that it's a totally accurate depiction of what took place betwee our two countries.http://thetruthisfreedom.wordpress.com/2010/06/30/the-us-southwest-was-stolen-from-mexicans/

Both of these sites should add some good information, and an progressive map, about how the southern border took shape. http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/history/interactive-timeline.html

http://www.pbs.org/kpbs/theborder/history/morphingmap.html

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Chris Costa's curator insight, September 16, 2015 6:57 AM

I always found that the significance of the Mexican-American War is downplayed in classrooms because the US was the aggressor nation in the conflict. It is a topic that makes Americas uncomfortable because it is almost impossible to view the conflict in a light that hides its true nature- a glorified land-grab where the US bullied a weaker nation into surrendering over 1 million square miles of territory. Although the war was ultimately unjust- President Polk virtually assured its occurrence by placing American troops in disputed territory hoping to incite conflict- its impact on the course of American history has been huge. It drastically increased the size of the nation in a way only topped by the Louisiana Purchase, providing the US with access to Pacific ports and huge expanses of cheap land, which would draw settlers from all across the nation. The race to the West would see the construction of numerous railways, which in turn not only changed the geography of the local landscapes, but changed the national economy and the racial make-up of the country via the thousands of immigrants- many of them Chinese- who worked on the construction of the railroads.

The acquisition of all this territory would also heighten tensions between the North and South in the following 15 years before the Civil War. As this new territory was divided and settlers in these areas applied for statehood, furious clashes over whether these states would be admitted into the union as slave or free states would occur both in Congress and in the territories themselves. This furious debate would lead to all-out war in Kansas, as bloody fighting emerged between pro-slavery and anti-slavery groups erupted all over the territory, earning the territory the nickname "Bleeding Kansas." This escalation of tensions between the North and South made war almost unavoidable, as Southern states viewed their way of life threatened by the admittance of too many free states who could potentially out-vote the South in Congress. Talks of secession had first originated all the way back in 1830 under Jackson's presidency, but began to gain considerable backing in the South. Lincoln's election as President in 1860 would drive South Carolina to secede, followed by the rest of the South; as a result of the Mexican-American War, the US again found itself at war, but this time with itself. The Civil War would go on to claim 600,000 lives, making it the bloodiest conflict in American history.



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The Great Basin--A Cold Desert?

The Great Basin--A Cold Desert? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
The Great Basin Desert, the largest U. S.
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Because of its elevation and latitude, this large desert is considered cold.  Scientists believe it has been home to Native Americans since 10,000 B.C. Spanish explorers came to the region in the 1700s, and an American first crossed it in 1827 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Basin). 

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Arzu Ahmadova's curator insight, April 30, 2014 3:51 AM

Böyük Hövzə

Crystal C's curator insight, November 14, 1:46 PM
C: Published on July 7th, 2013
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Mojave Desert: Hottest Place on Earth

Mojave Desert: Hottest Place on Earth | Geography of North America | Scoop.it

Mojave Desert, Death Valley, extremes of nature and geography

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In this most extreme climate, where air temperatures have stayed over 120 degrees for forty days at a time, and ground temperatures have been recorded at over 200 degrees (http://www.weather.com/news/science/nature/extreme-places-death-valley-20130505), plants, animals, and most recently humans, try to exist.

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Shayna and Kayla's curator insight, November 26, 2013 11:39 PM

This is part of North America's geography because it has the most extreme climate. This is the Mojave Desert and it covers a big part of North America, in parts of California, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona.

Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:07 PM

This desert area occupies a significant portion of the American Southwest. It is home to one of the most extreme climates in North America. Ground temperatures in the Mojave Desert can be in excess of 200 degrees Fahrenheit and it average a sparse 13 inches of rainfall annually. Clearly, in such extreme conditions the wildlife that populates this desert has to be extremely specialized. Personally I marvel at the amount of species throughout time that would have had to be snuffed out from this region over time as it developed into the scorching landscape that it is today. Coyotes, snakes, bats, rabbits, tortoises and lizards are the fauna which dominate the landscape today. All of which have highly specialized traits that allow them to sustain and proliferate in such a hazardous terrain. As someone who is interested in the process of natural selection and the development of particular species over time in particular areas, the Mojave desert presents an area of great interest because of its diverse animal population.

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The Adirondack Mountains: Biggest National Park in the United States

The Adirondack Mountains: Biggest National Park in the United States | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Mountains in northeastern New York state, U.S. They extend southward from the St. Lawrence River valley and Lake Champlain to the Mohawk River valley. The mountains are only sparsely settled, and much...
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The 6.1 million square miles of this unmarked park represent the largest protected area in the 48 United States (http://visitadirondacks.com/about/adirondack-park/fast-facts).  They are often mistaken for old, worn down mountains becuase of their rounded shape.  However, scientists believe that they are relatively young, being pushed up at a rate of about 1-3 centimeters a year.  

The lakes, rivers, streams, and valleys that make up this wilderness are the leftovers from glaciers that retreated after the Pleistocene Ice Age.

Tour the park, view breathtaking photos, and quiz yourself for fun.

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Mississippi River Delta to "Drown" by 2100?

Mississippi River Delta to "Drown" by 2100? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
A combo of dams and sea-level rise could wipe out vast acres of the U.S. river's delta plain, according to new research that predicts the surrounding coastline will be significantly reshaped.
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The title to this article by Rebecca Carroll should worry any American.  Looking at the two pictures, you can see what the delta looks like now compared to what it may look like at the turn of the next century.  Water from 41 states drains into the Gulf of Mexico at the delta, but the amount of sediment that makes it that far has, and will, continue to drop unless changes are made.  You can learn more about the plant and animal life of the region at the website below.  Pictures and videos can also be found at the link.

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/385622/Mississippi-River/39995/Plant-and-animal-life

http://virtualglobetrotting.com/map/mississippi-river-delta/view/?service=0

 
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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 15, 2013 12:59 PM

This is an alarming prediction. WIth the water level rising and moving faster and the delta weakening, a new coastline would be created. This could have devastating effects on the surrounding areas.

 

Tracy Galvin's curator insight, February 4, 2014 5:54 PM

Unfortunately, many years of land alteration has caused the natural environment of the area to become uninhabitable. The river deposits that have been diverted are no longer being deposited and the current silt levels are being compacted, which is why some areas of New Orleans are actually below sea level. That was why there was so much destruction when the levees broke in Katrina, water runs downhill. The sad part is that the people that live there are low income and cannot afford to relocate. There are areas like this around the world. I do not think there is a solution that will work for the people that currently live there, the only solution I see is relocate and let the planet take its part of the planet back.

Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:18 PM

This seems like an incredibly important area for present day geographer. The ability to predict changes in the earth's landscape and be able to predict how they will affect human life in that area in the future is a science which is important for all mankind. In this instance we see a heavily populated area of a disadvantage demographic that will inevitably be rendered as uninhabitable thanks to the impending expansion of the river delta. this information will enable the government and the residents of the area to have a contingency plan that will allow them to transition in a more prepared manner as the area transitions into a period of time in which the area will no longer be habitable.

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Tundras in Canada: The Coldest Climate on the Continent

Tundras in Canada: The Coldest Climate on the Continent | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Tundra is one of the six natural biomes found on Earth, according to the University of California's Museum of Paleontology. Canada's tundra falls into the Arctic tundra classification and ...
Ken Patson's insight:

With summers that may only last 50 days, and average yearly temperatures of 22 degrees Fahrenheit, the Canadian tundra is as cold as any place in North America.  Learn about the vegetation and wildlife that are able to survive in such a harsh environment.  You can also check out the links below to read more about the Canadian tundra, or to compare it to the famous Siberian tundra of Russia.

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/tundra

http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/siberian_tundra.htm

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North America's Rainforests. You Thought They Were Just in Brazil?

North America's Rainforests.  You Thought They Were Just in Brazil? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
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The islands of the Caribbean (a sea off the southeast coast of North America) are home to forests that have been protected since the Spanish set that land aside from development since 1876.  Just a few facts that are revealed in the article; the types of trees (there are over 250), birds (over 65 species), and more than 30 types of animals that can be found nowhere else in the world.  You'll also read about what efforts are being made to protect the natural resources of this area.

Also read about temperate rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state:

http://www.nps.gov/olym/naturescience/temperate-rain-forests.htm.

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Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:24 PM

This is an incredibly interesting region of the world. The article describes most notably the diverse range of wildlife that are unique to the region.There are over 250 types of tree species which can only be found in this rainforest. In addition to this there are over 60 types of bird species, as well as over 30 types of animal species exclusive to the rainforest. Naturally with such a unique population of animal life, there are many efforts in place to attempt to protect these species from jeopardizing human interactions. Considering the precious uniqueness of the area it is vital to the entire planet that these efforts are successful and the rainforest is preserved.

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The World's Largest Archipelago...What's an Archipelago?

The World's Largest Archipelago...What's an Archipelago? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Chain of small islands that separate the Bering Sea (north) from the main portion of the Pacific Ocean (south) and extend in an arc southwest, then northwest, for about 1,100 miles (1,800 km) from the...
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A chain of islands is called an archipelago, and the world's biggest is in North America.  Home to many species of animals, coral that could be up to 500 years old, possibly 30 millioin birds, and countless types of sea life; it's worth taking a look at.  Natives of the area can trace their history back some 8000 years.  Read more about this great physical feature of North America at http://www2.cec.org/nampan/ecoregion/aleutian-archipelago.

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Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:32 PM

Archipelago is a term which i have seen more and more of since taking up the study of geography. Naturally this article struck me as important. Archipelagos are a chain or cluster of islands. the word is derived from the Greek words archi, meaning chief, and pelagos, meaning sea. The Aleutian islands, which this article is about is located in North America and has the distinction of being the world's largest archipelago. This archipelago occupies a total area of 6,821 square miles in the volcanic range often referred to as the ring of fire.

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Cenotes: Mexican Dessert Pastry or Water-filled Underground Caves?

Cenotes: Mexican Dessert Pastry or Water-filled Underground Caves? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Characteristic of the Yucatan Peninsula, cenotes are natural sinkholes that form when the roof of a cavern collapses. The Mayans believed the mysterious formations were entrances to the underworld.
Ken Patson's insight:

First, it would be good of you to read the article here (http://www.yucatan-holidays.com/featured-articles/the-3-best-cenotes-to-visit-in-the-mexican-caribbean/; by Kristin Busse) to really understand what a cenote (pronounced suh-note-ay) is and how they are created.  Then you can cruise through the photos in this slideshow to see some breathtaking photos.

After all that you can go to youtube.com and search cenote diving videos to see how some brave souls enjoy this hidden landforms.

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How Many People will Yellowstone National Park Kill When it Blows?

How Many People will Yellowstone National Park Kill When it Blows? | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Beneath Yellowstone Park a monstrous plume of hot rock is causing the earth to heave and tremble. Past volcanoes have erupted with a thousand times the power of Mount St. Helens. The future is anybody’s guess.
Ken Patson's insight:

The world'lst three vocano super-eruptioins have been at Yellowstone.  "An eruption 2.1 million years ago was more than twice as strong, leaving a hole in the ground the size of Rhode Island."  Scientists believe that it could blow again in our lifetimes, or not for hundreds of years.  While it looks like the park sits inside a large basin, it's really the opening of an active volcano.  This article is a bit longer than average, but is interesting the whole way through.  


Author: Joel Achenbach

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Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:36 PM

This is a scary aspect of the study of geography. Being able to know a cataclysmic event lurks somewhere on the horizon, yet being unable to pinpoint a time in which this event is likely to occur. The Yellowstone National park is in fact itself one of the largest volcaneos on earth. The scariest part is that it is not extinct and will someday explode. The power of that inevitable explosion promises to be incredible, and the damage it causes will be devastating.

Arzu Ahmadova's curator insight, April 30, 2014 3:56 AM

Yellowstone milli parkı partlayarsa nə qədər insan öləcək?

Gene Gagne's curator insight, October 13, 2015 9:32 AM

I must be living under a rock. This is the first time I hear of this.

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If You Aren't Even Sure What a Landform is, This is the Place for You.

Learners read the definitions of geological terms and identify the landforms in various images. Tagged as cape, coastline, isthmus, island, mountains, peninsula, plains, plateaus, valley,
Ken Patson's insight:

Some students, no matter what the grade level, have never seen many of the landforms that a geography teacher wants them to know about.  This presentation goes over many of the basics, with photos or pictures, of many of the landform basics.  Could you tell the difference between a cape and peninsula?  Would you know where in North America you could find one of each? Build your knowledge and confidence using this presentation. 

 

Author: Barbara Laedtke

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Landforms of the United States from Alaska to Florida

Landforms of the United States from Alaska to Florida | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
From the summit of its highest peak, Denali, to the vast shimmering marshes of the Everglades, draining into the Gulf of Mexico, the landforms of North America impress with their variety. Because so ...
Ken Patson's insight:

While this article says that it is about North America, it really only mentions landforms from the United States of America.  Reading this can be used as to raise students' level of interest in specific landforms and used as a jumping off point for further research.  How many of you know that Wisconsin, known for its dairy products, has rock plateaus that look very similar to those found in Colorado? Take a peek here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glacial_Lake_Wisconsin) for more information on Glacial Lake Wisconsin. 

 

Written by Ethan Schowalter-Hay, Demand Medi

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How the Canadian Provinces and Territories Got Their Names

How the Canadian Provinces and Territories Got Their Names | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Here's a little more Canadian history on this Canada Day.
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As Americans, I'd like my students to know about their continent, not just the United States of America.  This article has interesting and fun information about the naming of Canada's provinces.

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Canada & The United States: How a Simple Looking Border is Anything But

Website: http://www.CGPGrey.com/ CGPGrey T-Shirts: http://dftba.com/product/10m/CGP-Grey... Reddit Thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/CGPGrey/ Twitter: https://...
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This is a great video about how the border between the U.S. and Canada is not nearly as straightforward looking as it seems on the maps.  

Also look at http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/us-canadian-border-established for more information about the laws and battles involved with creating the border with our friends to the north.

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Tracy Galvin's curator insight, April 26, 2014 4:17 PM

Just shows how important labels are. Canadians would never want to be called Americans and vice versa. It does get a little crazy with the small islands with no access unless you cross international borders.

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North Dakota town misses mark as North America's center

North Dakota town misses mark as North America's center | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Should an asterisk be added to the maps, postcards, T-shirts and a towering stone obelisk that tout this town's claim?...
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Rugby, North Dakota has claimed to be the center of North America since 1932.  But is it true? Does anyone care?  A mathematician over 80 years ago came up with the 'fact' by balancing a map on his finger.  Modern technology has allowed for better calculations, and other towns are claiming the distinction.  Read the article to decide what you think is the truth.  

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How the Grand Canyon was Created

How the Grand Canyon was Created | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
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How could water have created such an amazing collection of buttes, mesas, cliffs, and valleys in an area that looks like a desert?  Author Bob Ribokas gives an in depth look at how a once large sea covered the continent and created what we see today (that explains why fossils of creatures found only at coastlines are found in the area).  If you've ever wondered why the dirt and rocks that make up the canyon walls are so colorfully striped, this will answer your questions.  

Ribokas explains how the area went from a mountain range, to a flat plain, to the canyon we see now that is up to a mile deep in some places.

See awesome photos: http://www.flickr.com/groups/thegrandcanyon/ 

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Marissa Roy's curator insight, October 15, 2013 12:49 PM

I've always wanted a better understanding of how the Grand Canyon is formed. It is so interesting that this article also includes pictures to help show what was made where. This would be a great resource for a Geography classroom.

Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:13 PM

To me the grand canyon is a great example of how the earth's physical composition has been drastically changed over the course of time. A pivotal phenomenon that causes the earth's gradual change in physical landscape is of course erosion. Both wind and waterfall cause erosion as they gradually move soil and earth and in the process change the composition of the areas which they effect. It is amazing to think of how this process occurs so gradually, yet on such a large scale and over such a long period of time that it can cause such massive changes to particular areas such as the grand canyon. To think of how this area was once a fertile and level tract of land, yet over time wind and water altered it into the cavernous barren landscape that we see today is both amazing and humbling.

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Marshes, Swampland, and Alligators--Everything You'd Want in a National Park

Marshes, Swampland, and Alligators--Everything You'd Want in a National Park | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Everglades National Park
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It's one of the great wilderness destinations on the continent.  The park is over 1.5 million acres and home to countless species of plants, birds, reptiles, and animals.  Native tribes like the Calusa, Creek, Seminole, and Miccosukee have all made the "River of Grass" their home over the last thousand years.  Non-native 'Gladesmen' have also tried to make a life for themselves in this potentially harsh environment.  Use this site to take an in-depth tour through the Florida Everglades.

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Northern Great Plains: From Canada to Texas; Breadbasket to the Continent

Northern Great Plains: From Canada to Texas; Breadbasket to the Continent | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
No place represent the melting pot of America better then the northern great plains. They boast an exceptional range of wildlife.
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Settlers travelling from east to west across North America once likened the Great Plains to an ocean of grass.  Scientists believe that much of the area was once covered by a large inland sea.  Natives used to hunt buffalo there, railroads brought settlers in large numbers, and overuse created one of the greatest natural disasters the U.S. has ever seen (http://www.history.com/topics/dust-bowl).  

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Waterfalls - Yosemite National Park

Waterfalls - Yosemite National Park | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
Waterfalls
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Yosemite National Park in California is home to many waterfalls, including the world's 5th largest, Yosemite Falls (which drops almost half a mile). You'll get to read a bit about various falls in the park.  More information can also be found at the following sites.

Waterfall photos:http://pinterest.com/clarissajh/waterfalls-north-america/

Waterfall statistics:http://www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/continent-tallest-waterfalls/North-America/

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Baja California Peninsula--2nd Longest in the World

Baja Facts - Basic information about the unique Baja California peninsula and its people!
Ken Patson's insight:

This is a very basic article but presents facts about the Baja Peninsula in North America that many of you may not know.  It is longer than more famous peninsulas in Florida and Italy; only the Malay in Asia is longer.  It is mostly considered a wild, untamed frontier.  Almost all of the people live in two cities tucked near the U.S./Mexican border.  A good, quick read to introduce you to our little known peninsula.

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Jake Reardon's curator insight, April 21, 2014 5:43 PM

Baja California Peninsula is the second largest peninsula in the world. About 75% of the population of this peninsula lives in its two largest cities. Both of which are located along the boarder of the United States. The Baja peninsula is physically connected to the rest of Mexico by a good sized coastal strip of land, even though it appears at a glance to not be physically connected. There were several   military operations to capture land for the U.S. planned, but Mexico managed to appease the U.S. with the Gadsden purchase, allowing the peninsula to remain a part of Mexico rather than allowing it to be ceded to the United States. U.S. corporations and settlers still had vast tracts of land along the coast for some time but eventually the Mexican government kicked them out.

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How Mining Threatens the Drinking Water of up to 60% of People in El Salvador

How Mining Threatens the Drinking Water of up to 60% of People in El Salvador | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
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The Rio Lempa (Lempa River) is the only navigable river in the country of El Salvador, which has over 300 rivers.  However, a mining operation near a lake that feeds into the river, threatens that clean water source.  Will the government of El Salvador let business interests from a gold mining company in Canada outweigh the needs of its people?

(Photos can be seen at http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/riolempa/interesting/)

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Gene Gagne's curator insight, October 13, 2015 9:21 AM

This reminds me of Lake Baikal in Russia. A paper mill is more important than the Deepest Fresh water lake in the world. 20% of the worlds fresh water is being jeopardized of pollution due to the mill. The residents of this Mono town need to work to survive. What about the #1 essential thing that all humans need to survive?

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Panama: How this Isthmus Changed the World

Panama: How this Isthmus Changed the World | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
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One little strip of land here or there doesn't really matter that much does it?  Find out how this thirty mile wide strip of jungle between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans has affected the climate for much of the world.  Also, see a video of what it looks like to travel through the canal's locks (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=InnehcZOLF4). 

 

 

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Damage, Destruction, and Death: The Volcanoes of North America

Damage, Destruction, and Death: The Volcanoes of North America | Geography of North America | Scoop.it
wNetStation, the Web site of Thirteen/WNET, presents SAVAGE EARTH ONLINE, the Web companion to the four-hour series on earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and other natural disasters.
Ken Patson's insight:

Of all the landforms, the volcano is the most deadly (do any of the others even try to hurt you?).  But how often do volcanoes really let people know that they're there?  "We usually have one or two decent eruptions a year," says volcanologist Chris Nye of the Alaska Volcano Observatory, which monitors activity in the Aleutian chain. "On average, we have three or four or five days a year when the eruption columns reach up high enough into the atmosphere to interfere with air traffic."  Read this article by Kathy Svitil to understand just how common volcanoes are in North America.  Also see information for specific volcanic mountains at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Volcanoes_of_North_America. ;

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Great Landforms of Panama and Mexico: Landforms of Central America

Ken Patson's insight:

Creator Craig Gunter gives a great prezi here about some of the amazing landforms that can be found south of the United States (which is still North America until you reach Columbia).  Visit the Panama Canal and Sierra Madre mountain ranges of Mexico and se how they effect the land around them.

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Challenge Yourself with Geography Quizzes from Quizlet!

A list of free Geography landforms study sets. Use our learning tools and study games to master Geography landforms study sets
Ken Patson's insight:

Quizlet is known for its collections of quizzes on virtually all topics.  This set focuses on the names of geographic landforms.  Students can study the landforms using virtual flashcards or other tools.  Once they feel comfortable with their knowledge, they can take various types fo quizzes.  Kids can then compete against each other for high scores or lowest times.  While memorization has fallen out of popularity with many in the field of education, I feel that students still need a base of knowledge from which to work.  This site is a good tool to help make memorization more engaging and fun.

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