Important World Mapping: Part 4

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Relevance: World Geography- geographical features and their location. 

 

Prairies

Prairies are ecosystems considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and a composition of grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type.

  • These are enormous stretches of flat grassland with moderate temperatures, moderate rainfall, and few trees.
  • The majority of this biome is found between 40° and 60° north or south of the Equator.
  • The prairies in North America formed as the Rocky Mountains grew taller and taller.
  • They grew taller and taller because of plate tectonics, the process where a small number of plates on the Earth’s crust interact with each other.
  • Once the mountains got tall enough, they blocked significant amounts of rain from falling on the east side of the mountains, creating what is called a rain shadow.
  • This rain shadow prevented trees from growing extensively east of the mountains, and the result was the prairie landscape.

 

Savannas

Tropical grassland biome, also called savanna biome, is a terrestrial biome that features vast open spaces consisting of scattered small shrubs and trees.

  • Savanna biomes support some of the world’s most recognizable species such as lions, cheetahs, hyenas, zebras, gazelles, elephants, etc.
  • The climate in savanna biome varies depending on the season. It has a distinct wet and dry season.
  • The dry season comes during winter. Savanna biome receives all its rain during summer. In the dry season, most plants wither and die.
  • Some streams and rivers also dry up. A large percentage of animals migrate over long distances to search for food.
  • The biome experiences a temperature range of 25 to 30 degrees Celsius in summers and 20 to 25 degrees Celsius in winters.
  • Savannas are generally found between the desert biome and the rainforest biome. They are mostly located near the equator.
  • The largest savanna is located in Africa. Nearly half of the continent of Africa is covered with savanna grasslands.

 

Steppes

 

A steppe is a dry, grassy plain that is found in all of the continents except Australia and Antarctica.

  • Steppes occur in temperate climates, which lie between the tropics and polar regions.
  • Temperate regions have distinct seasonal temperature changes, with cold winters and warm summers.
  • Steppes are semi-arid, meaning they receive 25 to 50 centimeters (10-20 inches) of rain each year.
  • This is enough rain to support short grasses, but not enough for tall grasses or trees to grow.
  • Many kinds of grasses grow on steppes, but few grow taller than half a meter (20 inches).
  • The world's largest steppe region, often referred to as “the Great Steppe”, is found in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, and neighboring countries stretching from Ukraine in the west through Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to the Altai, Kopp et Dag and the Tian Shan ranges in China.

 

Mediterranean  Sea

The Mediterranean Sea, an intercontinental sea that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean on the west to Asia on the east and separates Europe from Africa. It has often been called the incubator of Western civilization. 

  • The Mediterranean Sea is connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa and on the east by the Levant.
  • Although the sea is sometimes considered a part of the Atlantic Ocean, it is usually referred to as a separate body of water.
  • Geological evidence indicates that around 5.9 million years ago, the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic and was partly or completely desiccated over a period of some 600,000 years (the Messinian salinity crisis) before being refilled by the Zanclean flood about 5.3 million years ago.
  • The water in the Mediterranean does not have enough nutrients to support the growth of sea algae, so it stays in its natural blue color. 
  • The countries surrounding the Mediterranean in clockwise order are Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco; Malta and Cyprus are island countries in the sea.

 

49th Parallel North

 

The 49th parallel north is a circle of latitude that is 49° north of Earth's equator. It crosses Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, North America, and the Atlantic Ocean.

  • The city of Paris is about 15 km (9 mi) south of the 49th parallel and is the largest city between the 48th and 49th parallels.
  • The 49th Parallel separates the United States of America and Canada.
  • Roughly 3,500 kilometers (2,175 mi) of Canada–United States border was designated to follow the 49th parallel from British Columbia to Manitoba on the Canada side, and from Washington to Minnesota on the U.S. side, more specifically from the Strait of Georgia to the Lake of the Woods.
  • This international border was specified in the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 and the Oregon Treaty of 1846.

 

Bosporus Strait 

The Bosporus is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. 

  • The Bosporus Strait (or Bosphorus) connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.
  • It also separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey (Trace), thus it separates the two continents.
  • Bordered on both sides by the massive city of Istanbul, the strait is one of the planet's most strategic waterways.
  • It is the world's narrowest strait used for international navigation
  • As a maritime waterway, the Bosporus connects various seas along the Eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans, the Near East, and Western Eurasia, and specifically connects the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmara.
  • The Marmara further connects to the Aegean and Mediterranean seas via the Dardanelles.
  • Thus, the Bosporus allows maritime connections from the Black Sea all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean via Gibraltar, and the Indian Ocean through the Suez Canal, making it a crucial international waterway, in particular for the passage of goods coming in from Russia.



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