The Canadian Shield, also Known as the Precambrian Shield or the Laurentian Plateau, is a vast horseshoe-shaped area, covering one half of Canada, particularly eastern and central Canada. The Canadian Shield is represented by ancient, rounded rocks, attributed to Precambrian rocks, which are the main formation in most parts of North America. The Shield is found in Labrador, northern Quebec, Ontario, eastern and northern Manitoba, northern Saskatchewan and the very northeast corner of Alberta. In total, it covers approximately eight million square kilometers.
The Shield's Canadian landforms feature outwash, eskers, moraine, kames, whalebacks and drumlins. These formations of the glacial activity form the basins for many scenic lakes, and paths for picturesque rivers and streams. In its turn, such gorgeous nature of the Shield attracts numerous tourists to spend their vacations. Many writers and painters admired the beauty of this place, creating artworks that assisted with the tourism industry.
The Shield's Canadian landforms make up two subregions: a rocky area of mainly igneous rock and coniferous forests. The Kazan Upland Subregion, characterized by exposed, glaciated bedrock, is the biggest uncovered territory of the Canadian Shield in Alberta north of the Lake Athabasca. The subregion of the Athabasca Plain itself includes a part of the north shore of the Lake and the Canadian Shield south of the Athabasca. Found near the Canadian Shield bedrock, they are attributed to the glacial outwash deposits.
Though called rocky, this subregion does not consist of real rocks actually. Millions of years ago there were mountains on the Canadian Shield, which almost completely disappeared due to the water, freeze thaw and fluvial erosion. That is the reason why the highest elevation of the Canadian Shield is only about five hundred meters above sea level.
The climate is linked to the Shield's Canadian landforms in several ways. Summer months' weather, affected by the southern Gulf air and the long hours of daylight, often has heat during the day and rather cool nights. Winter weather conditions are determined by great masses of cold, dry Arctic air from the north. They keep temperatures very low. In every season of the year dry climate prevails on the Canadian Shield, resulting in no more then forty five centimeters of precipitation annually.
However, since the Canadian Shield is so large, the climate varies. Southern parts of the Shield's Canadian landforms, such as southern Ontario, is characterized by the seasonal climate. In winter, the average temperature falls eighteen degrees Celsius below zero, and summer temperatures usually reach twenty five degrees Celsius above zero. The growing season lasts approximately one hundred and twenty days. The south daylight in summer is rather long- up to fifteen hours, while the winter daylight is only about eight and a half hours.
The northern shield's climate is arctic; thus, the lakes are free of ice for only about three months annually. The temperatures, which mark the northern part of the Shield Canada's landforms, are very freezing ( twenty five degrees Celsius) in winter and rather cool in summer. The growing season comes to only forty-sixty days, and the north daylight in winter makes up about five and a half hours in total. In summer the longest daylight peaks eighteen and a half hours everyday.