What Are the Physical Regions of North America?

The physical regions of North America are the West, the Canadian Shield, the Great Plains, the East and the Caribbean. These regions, which include Mexico and Central America, house the major world biomes and a diversity of life.

The western region, which extends from the western coast of central America up to Canada is made up mostly of mountains. The American Cordillera includes the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Madre Mountains, the volcanic mountains south of the United States, and the Cascade Range along the U.S. states of California, Oregon and Washington. Desert and rain forest makes up the rest of the western region.

Just east of the mountains through the Midwest to the Appalachians in the south and the Canadian Shield in the north lies the Great Plains, another physical region of North America. This region, created by retreating glaciers, is characterized by rich soil for agricultural use and flat expanses. It extends from Texas up to Canada’s Mackenzie River.

The eastern region extends from the Appalachians to the East Coast in the United States. It is made up of mountainous areas, the Atlantic coastal plain and the Everglades. The Canadian Shield, a raised plateau made up of rocky terrain, lakes and tundra, starts at the east of the Great Plains and extends to the mountainous eastern regions. The last region, the Caribbean, lies south of the United States and consists of a variety of tropical islands.