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The Western Cordillera region runs along the west coast of North America. Covering about from the Yukon to British Columbia and Western Alberta, this region comprises a series of mountain ranges and is mostly separated by plateaus and valleys. The inner ranges of mountains, mostly in the eastern area, are fold mountains, while the costal series of mountains are volcanic. Many people who live in the western cordillera live near the south, mainly the western corner of British Columbia. Usually in Vancouver and Vancouver Island or around the area.

Some interesting facts to know:
- Geographically very most diverse regions
- Highest point is at Mt McKinley in central Alaska ( All of North America)
-Lowest point is at Death Valley in California at approximately 90m below sea level. (America)
-Highest point is at Mt Logan in south-west Yukon (Canada)

Figure 1 : The isolated map of the Western Cordillera

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In this region, there are many new and old mountain ranges that are all not yet worn down by erosion. The Eastern part of the Cordillera consists of many high mountain peaks such as the Rocky Mountains. The Rocky Mountains form the Continential Divide. The rivers and streams flow into east and west into the main water bodies : Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Hudson Bay, and James Bay.

The Western Corderilla is made of 3 Rock types; Metallic Minerals which are found in igneous rock, Non-Metallic Minerals which include some metamorphic and sedimentary, and lastly, Energy Minerals which consist of Petroleum, coal, natural gas. Usually, the main energy supply is natural gas.

Figure 4: High Peaks of the Rocky Mountains


Although The Western Cordillera has various climate patterns, the region usually deals with more of a maritime climate. Meaning that the closeness of a large mass of water is very influential. This region has two main climates, one for the Pacific Coast, and one for the mountain ranges and valleys further inland. Along the Pacific Coast, the weather is very wet during the fall and winter. With no extreme cold and it rarely snowing. Summers are cool by comparison to the rest of the country, and the Winters, being short, makes the growing season last from only April to mid October.
Winters bring heavy snow to high mountain ranges. In the valleys, winters are usually mild with frequent rain. Down closer near the coastal region they could get up to about 200 centimetres of rain!

Figure 2(left): Winter Scene

Figure 3(right): Summer Scene


The vegetation in the Cordilleran region differs tremendously from one side of the mountain to the other. Many evergreen trees such as, Douglas Fir, Red Cedar, and Hemlock grow on the more moist areas of the mountains. These trees tend to grow very healthily, extending the age range and tree size. The largest species of trees in the world, known as the ‘Giant Sequoia‘, also grow near Yosemite. Up higher in the mountains, more in the northern area, trees grow much smaller. While in the south, evergreens do not grow because of it’s very little and rare precipitation.

Where should I go?

Two of the most major cities within the Cordilleran Boundaries are Vancouver and Mexico City.

The city of Vancouver is located in the south western corner of British Columbia. In Vancouver, there is a maritime climate. During the summer, the sun loves to shine, but the rainfall also loves to make it's way down. There's a population of around 600,000 people. There are many tourist attractions such as the restuarant, "Cloud Nine". Cloud Nine is a revolving tower up in the sky where people go to enjoy a nice time while having a great meal. If you look at the picture below, you can see is a huge white dome. It is known as the B.C Place located in Vancouver's downton area.This dome holds many big activites from sporting events to career fairs. Be sure to check out a BC Lions football game while your there!

Figure 5: Downtown Vancouver

Mexico City is located in the south part of North America. Mexico City has a population of about 108,700,891 people in population. With very hot summers, many people who love the sun love it most in Mexico City. Near the low coastal areas, it is typically tropical and very humid. While you are in Mexico, you may want to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site(figure6) to get to know more about Mexico's history and culture. You may want to catch a concert in Mexico City's National Auditorium(figure7). The National Auditorium holds about 10,000 seats. In May 2007 it hosted the Miss Universe Pageant.

Figure 6: UNESCO World Heritage Site

Figure 7: National Auditorium


Crossroads: A Meeting of Nations, Map of North America, Michael Cranny, 1998, pg175

Mexico City Wikipedia, UNESCO Heritage Centre, http://www.wikipedia.com/, February 11 2008.

Mexico City Wikipedia, National Auditorium, http://www.wikipedia.com/, February 11 2008.