Exploring environmental issues: an integrated approach by David D Kemp,NetLibrary, Inc.

By David D Kemp,NetLibrary, Inc.

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2 billion in Australia. They are the 2 6 exposed areas of ancient, stable continental rocks or cratons, buried in places by younger sediments. 5 billion to 3 billion years ago), which extends westwards beneath the younger rocks of the Great Plains and southwards into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Together, the shield and its buried platform comprise the North American craton. Similarly, in Europe, the Fenno-Scandian or Baltic Shield is exposed in Scandinavia in the north and Ukraine in the south, but exists as a buried platform stretching eastwards into Russia and westwards into Western Europe and Britain.

Together, the shield and its buried platform comprise the North American craton. Similarly, in Europe, the Fenno-Scandian or Baltic Shield is exposed in Scandinavia in the north and Ukraine in the south, but exists as a buried platform stretching eastwards into Russia and westwards into Western Europe and Britain. Elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, shield rocks are exposed in Siberia and in India. In the southern hemisphere, most of central and western Australia are underlain by cratonic rocks and in South America the principal shield areas are in Brazil and Guyana, separated by the Amazon basin.

2). 2 PHYSICAL ENVIRONMENT The structure and morphology of the lithosphere All of these shield areas have a subdued topography, as a result of ongoing erosion over millions of years. In North America and Europe most of the soil covering was scraped away by glaciers during the last Ice Age, and since soil-forming processes work only slowly in cooler latitudes, large areas of bare rock are common. In such areas as Australia and parts of Africa, soils on the shield tend to be thin because of the limited moisture available, but elsewhere in the tropics, as in Brazil, high temperatures and abundant moisture encourage the creation of deep soils, although they may not be particularly fertile.

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