What Are the Physical Features of the Interior Plains?

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The Interior Plains are vast areas of low-lying lands in Canada with pingos and permafrost, spruce forests, dozens of streams and large areas of treeless tundra. The Interior Plains cover three geographical areas: the delta region of the Mackenzie River, dried river basins to the northeast and the Yukon Coastal Plain that lies to the west.

The Interior Plains have large sand deposits, fresh water springs, cascading waterfalls, and support hundreds of plant and animal species. The surface of the Plains’ landscape is covered with meandering channels of rivers, large, flat and shallow lakes, and even smaller islands.

A large coastal plain forms the shape of the Interior Plains on the western side: this plain is flat and sits at sea level. It is exposed to the elements, and supports very little life, as it is exposed year-round to high winds and offers little shelter from wind, rain and snow. The coastal area lacks nutrient-rich soil, and has sparse vegetation.

Permafrost covers most of the Interior Plains’ surface, and has a strong influence on the surrounding landscape. The central region of the Plains features a labyrinth of channels and small lakes, which are dotted with tiny floating islands. The Plains remain frozen year-round, thanks to the pingos (cone-shaped frozen hills of ice) that cover the land surface in abundance.