Western Cordillera

Vancouver, BC

The Western Cordillera is located on the western edge of Canada.  Among the cities included in this region, Vancouver B.C is a popular city for tourists.  Vancouver BC is well known all over the world for its scenic nature and vast array of fish. Listed as one of the 'Top Five Worldwide Cities" by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) for five consecutive years.  The region, the Western Cordillera is geographically young based off the height and rugged appearance of the land.  Vancouver borders the western end of Canada and consists of mountains, plateaus and valleys.  

Climate & Landscape

The climate in the Western Cordill is very wet with 1937.1 mm of precipitation annually and a temperature range of 14.8°C, making it a Maritime climate.  The temperature reaches its peak in August at 18.6°C and it drops to 5.8°C in January.  The majority of the precipitation falls when the weather cools, 1375.9 mm falling within the winter months.  306.7 mm falls in November, the greatest all year and 61.7 mm falls in July the least precipitation.  Being near mountains and the shore, the Cordillera is prone to a lot of relief precipitation.  Factors that affect the climate include ocean currents, near water, moist air masses and relief. The landscape in the Western Cordillera is a very rugged landscape with mountainous regions separated by valleys and plateaus



The rocks in the Western Cordillera vary from section to section.  The eastern mountains (Rocky & Columbia Mountains) are made up of sedimentary and metamorphic formed by sediment deposited in the mountains, the Rockies made up entirely of sedimentary rock while the Columbia Mountains are composed of mostly sedimentary and some metamorphic below the surface.  The center of the interior plateaus are made of igneous rock formed by volcanic activity and valuable metals such as copper, zinc and gold.  The coast mountains, however, boast igneous and metamorphic rocks.  These were formed by convergent plate movement caused when the Pacific plate went underneath the North American plate causing magma and metamorphic rock to rise.    


Much like the rocks, the vegetation in the Western Cordillera varies with area. Areas with high elevation are labelled Alpine regions for their tundra qualities and minimal vegetation consisting only of grasses, dwarf willows, moss and other low plants.  In the interior plateaus there are many trees such as spruce, fir, pine and larch.  On the coastal ends there are also many trees such as fir and cypress.  Many other plants in this area include blueberries, copper bush, oak fern and many more.  

Mountain Climbing in the Cordillera

Being home to the Rocky and Colombian Mountains, the Cordillera is and ideal place for tourists to travel to climb a mountain.  When unable to visit Nepal to climb Everest, the Rockies and Colombian Mountains make for a great trip.  This activity matches the land form very well because since the Cordillera is young therefore very rugged.  This means that there are many mountains of various sizes.  Also, since the region is placed over convergent tectonic plates, there are new mountains being created.  The Western Cordillera provides you with a unique and comfortable experience where you can literally reach new heights.

Threat of Climate Change

Climate change is a threat worldwide, affecting billions of people.  This especially affects tourists looking to climb a mountain in the Cordillera, as climate plays a huge role in climbing.  As you climb higher up a mountain the weather steadily drops lower as does the oxygen in the air.  If the the temperature was too cold, one could possibly freeze to death.  If too hot, the reduced moisture in the air could then begin to melt the snow caps and turn the snow into ice, making them dangerous to climb.  The change could also effect mountain related activities such as skiing and snowboarding.  If not stopped, many mountain and other activities could be lost.

Natural Disasters

Although normally mild, the Cordillera is prone to many earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis.  Blanketing a convergent boundary, earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis can only be expected.  Earthquakes are created when stressed rocks release energy and slide past each other, causing the ground to vibrate.  This can also create fault lines in the earth.  Volcanoes are created when a plate is forced down and melted, seawater and wet sediment is mixed with it.  This creates lava, cone shape volcanoes and ash eruptions.  Tsunamis are basically underwater earthquakes which force a huge amount of water to the surface which leads to a domino effect of the waves.  The Cordillera is vulnerable to these disasters because it sits upon a convergent boundary.

In Conclusion

At the end of the day, Vancouver faces many threats the rest of the world does.  It also boasts some very unique and creative recreational opportunities.  From mountain climbing, to fishing to beach visits- Vancouver has it all.  In the following video are some more amazing reasons you should visit Vancouver.

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