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The Taiga Plains
by: Liesel Ricker
The Taiga Plains are located in northern Canada. The majority of the plains are in the Northwest Territories, but also extend into Alberta, British Columbia and the Yukon.
During the formation of the Taiga Plains they where covered with shallow inland seas. Sediments from the shield and the Rocky Mountains where deposited in these seas over millions of years. The Taiga plains have been shaped greatly by weathering and erosion. Different kinds of sedimentary rock are different harnesses. The softer the rock the faster it will erode, this process is called differential erosion. Contrary to what you would think the taiga plains are not flat, they are scattered with foothills and slope gently downward from west to east. There are also deep and wide river valleys that have been created from many years of erosion.
Rocks and Minerals
The Taiga Plains are made of layers sedimentary rock. Some of these layers are coral reefs; these reef layers are home to great amounts of oil and gas. Potash, which is used as a fertilizer, is also mined from the reef layers. The swamps at the edge of the seas were home to plants that became coal, this coal is mined today.
Continental Arctic air masses make this ecozone very cold. The summers are short and cool with average temperatures of around 10 to 12°C. their winters are very long and cold with average temperature of -20 to -25°C. they receive little precipitation; it is very dry, the Taiga Plains only receive about 250 to 500 mm a year. Here is a climograph for fort simpson NWT:
The Taiga Plains get most of their precipitation in the summer but, because it is cold for most of the time the majority of their precipitation is snow. They are most likely to receive convectional precipitation.
Vegetation and Soil
The Taiga Plains have open to dense stick like mixed forests interspersed with wetlands. here are some typical kinds of trees you would find in the Taiga Plains mixed forests:
In the north most parts of the taiga plains there is continuous permafrost, and in the southern parts the permafrost is scattered. There are a wide variety of poor soils throughout the zone. There is some forestry in the southern Taiga Plains.
Fun Facts and Trivia
- Some mammals that live in the Taiga Plains are moose, woodland caribou, bison, wolf, black bear, marten and lynx.
- The largest river in Canada, The Mackenzie flows trough the Taiga Plains.
- It has uniqe salt plains, these were formed when salt water evaporated leaving salt mounds behind .
- It is
about 550 000 square kilometres, it is Canada's sixth largest ecozone.
- It has a population of 20,726.
- There are 3.64 people per kilometer squared.
- Most people live near rivers the rest of the ecozone is untouched by human activity.
- Most people work in oil and gas devlopment, hunting and trapping, and forestry.
Q = In which province(s) and/or territories are the taiga plains located in?
A = Northwest Territories, the Yukon, British Columbia, and Alberta.
Q = What is the process called when different sedimentary rocks erode at different rates? And why do you think this happens?
A = the process is called differential erosion. This happens because the sediments are coming from different places and kinds of rock so when they go trough the process of lithification they will make different kinds of sedimentary rock with different hardnesses.
Q = What is the name of the substance that is used for fertilizer and mined from this ecozone?
A = a) potash.
Q = What is home to the majority of the Taiga Plains' oil and gas and how did it get there?
A = the coral reef layers are home to the oil and gas. These coral reefs where what was there before the plains over many years the got covered with sediments and became part of the sedimentary rock.
Q = Why is there continuous permafrost in the north but only scattered permafrost in the south.
A = the farther north it is the colder it is. Also the father north you get the shorter the summers will be this means that the permafrost is able to stay permafrost because it will never be able to melt.
Clark, Bruce. Making connections Canada’s geography. Toronto: Person Education, 2006.
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