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North America belongs to the American continent, which is also formed by Central and South America.
North America has its eastern boundaries with the Atlantic Ocean, its western boundaries with the Pacific Ocean, and its northern boundaries with the Arctic Ocean, and its southern boundaries with Central America and the Caribbean.
The North American relief features two nearly parallel mountain ranges: the Western Ranges and the Appalachian or Alegani Mountains, which include: the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, and the Coast Range. Among them are three lower areas: the Canadian Shield to the north; the central plain; and the Atlantic coast plain.
In Mexico, the western mountain ranges are divided in the Madre Occidental and Eastern Sierra with volcanoes such as Popocatepetl (5,451m) and Orizaba (5,699m), which close the Mexican plateau.
The major landforms are the Florida and Yucatan Peninsula in the Gulf of Mexico, and the California Peninsula and Gulf. The peak is Mount McKinley (6,194m) in Alaska.
The largest islands are Greenland, Banks, Victoria, Ellesmere, Devon and Baffin Land and are located to the north.
North America has as its main feature in its hydrography the Great Lakes, located on the border of the United States with Canada. They have a total area of 250.000km², it is in this region that are to the famous Niagara Falls.
Among the most prominent rivers is the Mississippi, with a 4,600,000 km² basin, this river runs through the United States from north to south, its main tributaries are the Missouri, Arkansas and Ohio. It is on the slopes of the Appalachian Mountains that the Hudson, Delaware, Susquehanna, and Potomac rivers are born that pour their waters into the Atlantic. In western North America the most important rivers are Columbia and Colorado.
There are several glacial lakes in Canada, including Winnipeg, Great Bear Lake, Atabasca, Manitoba and Great Slave Lake. Other major rivers include St. Lawrence, Frazer, Mackenzie and Nelson in Canada and Yukon in Alaska. In Mexico stands out as the largest the Rio Grande.
North America's climate has five major climate regions. The northern two-thirds of Canada and Alaska, as well as Greenland, are characterized by arctic climates, where the severity of long winters is alternated with the mildness of short summers. In these regions, rainfall is rare. Snow and ice are common for much of the year.
The second climate region is in the two thirds of North America, which comprises the United States and southern Canada. In this region changes in weather are frequent, as the southern part has warmer average temperatures.
A third region comprises the western interior of the United States and a large part of northern Mexico. Mostly mountainous and desert area, rainfall is rare and variations in temperature are local depending on the altitude.
The fourth climate region dominates a narrow zone that skirts the Pacific Ocean of Southern Alaska to Southern California. This region has a temperate climate with rare rainfall in summer.
Finally, the southern part of Mexico provides a tropical and warm climate throughout the year, with heavy rainfall, especially summer. In this region it is common to occur sudden changes of temperature during the same season, with the consequent formation of hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fauna and Flora
North American natural vegetation varies by region and is characterized by the taiga, or boreal forest, a vast wooded expanse consisting mostly of conifers that cover most of southern and central Canada and extends into Alaska. . In the north the soil is surrounded by the tundra.
In the eastern United States stand out the mixed forests composed of different species of pine. In the western part, forests are located in the mountain ranges and predominantly conifers. Mexico is home to a particularly species-rich tropical forest. The driest regions of North America consists of herbs and shrubs.
The dry regions of the western United States and northern Mexico have some rare shrub varieties and numerous cactus species.
The fauna in North America is quite rich and houses numerous species such as reindeer, elk, polar bears, seals and foxes, all of which inhabit the southern regions. In other regions such as the Central American prairie are found the deer, the cougar and the bison. In the deserts you can find rodents, reptiles and coyotes and in the forests you can find a wide variety of birds, squirrels and snakes.
North America has a wide variety of racial and ethnic types, due to the miscegenation of indigenous peoples living on the continent with Europeans and black Africans. From the 20th century, the immigration of Asians increased.
In the United States and Canada, the predominance of the population is of European origin. Much of the Mexican population comes from the mix of indigenous and Europeans, and the people who inhabit Greenland are the result of the Eskimo's mingling with the early Danish settlers.
North America has a linguistic variation. Has English, spoken in the United States and Canada; French in Canada; and Spanish, in Mexico and the United States, are the main languages.
Native and indigenous languages include Nahuatl and Mayan in Mexico; Sioux in the United States; the atapasco in canada; and the Eskimo in Canada and Greenland.