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The sheer size of Canada, which is by area the second largest country in the world, and occupies 3,855,100 sq. miles, leads to great geological diversity. It has 8 different geographic regions. The Appalachian Mountains are 380 million years old and their age means that they have been shaped primarily by erosion. The St. Lawrence basin was formed by sediment from the river. The Canadian Shield was formed by the advance and then retreat of glaciers during the last ice age. The Prairies are a sedimentary plain. The Rocky Mountains are relatively young upthrust mountains and the coastal ranges are a volcanic system.
The comparatively poor soil of the Canadian shield precludes significant agricultural development. The sedimentary plains of the Prairies are good for intensive grain farming and the St. Lawrence estuary and Okanagan Valley both support diverse agricultural endeavours, and are both increasingly well known for their wineries.
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