Portal:North America
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Portal:North America

The North America Portal

Location North America.svg

North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be described as a northern subcontinent of the Americas, or America, in models that use fewer than seven continents. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.

North America covers an area of about 24,709,000 square kilometers (9,540,000 square miles), about 16.5% of the earth's land area and about 4.8% of its total surface. North America is the third-largest continent by area, following Asia and Africa,[better source needed] and the fourth by population after Asia, Africa, and Europe. In 2013, its population was estimated at nearly 579 million people in 23 independent states, or about 7.5% of the world's population, if nearby islands (most notably around the Caribbean) are included.

North America was reached by its first human populations during the last glacial period, via crossing the Bering land bridge approximately 40,000 to 17,000 years ago. The so-called Paleo-Indian period is taken to have lasted until about 10,000 years ago (the beginning of the Archaic or Meso-Indian period). The Classic stage spans roughly the 6th to 13th centuries. The Pre-Columbian era ended in 1492, with the beginning of the transatlantic migrations--the arrival of European settlers during the Age of Discovery and the Early Modern period. Present-day cultural and ethnic patterns reflect interactions between European colonists, indigenous peoples, African slaves and all of their descendants.

Owing to Europe's colonization of the Americas, most North Americans speak European languages such as English, Spanish or French, and their states' cultures commonly reflect Western traditions.

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Hurricane Gert was a large tropical cyclone that caused extensive flooding and mudslides throughout Central America and Mexico in September 1993. The seventh named storm and third hurricane of the annual hurricane season, Gert originated as a tropical depression from a tropical wave over the southwestern Caribbean Sea on September 14. The next day, the cyclone briefly attained tropical storm strength before moving ashore in Nicaragua and proceeding through Honduras. It reorganized into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Honduras on September 17, but weakened back to a depression upon crossing the Yucatán Peninsula. Once over the warm waters of the Bay of Campeche, Gert quickly strengthened into a Category 2 hurricane by September 20. The hurricane made a final landfall on the Gulf Coast of Mexico near Tuxpan, Veracruz, with peak winds of 100 mph (155 km/h). The rugged terrain disrupted the cyclone's structure; Gert entered the Pacific Ocean as a depression near the state of Nayarit on September 21, where it briefly redeveloped a few strong thunderstorms before dissipating at sea five days later.

Gert's broad wind circulation produced widespread and heavy rainfall across Central America through September 15-17. Combined with saturated soil following Tropical Storm Bret's passage a month earlier, the rain triggered widespread floods and mudslides that isolated thousands of people across numerous communities. In Costa Rica, blustery weather destroyed a national park and led to significant losses in the agricultural and tourism sectors. Much of the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua and Honduras endured overflowing rivers, engulfing cities, villages, and crops with mud and water. Gert's winds were at their strongest upon landfall in Mexico, yet the worst effects in the country were also due to freshwater flooding after an extreme rainfall event in the Huasteca region resulted in water accumulations as high as 31.41 inches (798 mm). An increasing number of major rivers burst their banks over a period of several days, fully submerging extensive areas of land around the Pánuco basin. Tens of thousands of residents were forced to evacuate as raging floodwaters demolished scores of structures in what was described as the region's worst disaster in 40 years. Read more...

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Thomas Neil Phillips (May 22, 1883 - November 30, 1923) was a Canadian professional ice hockey left winger. Like other players of his era, Phillips played for several different teams and leagues. Most notable for his time with the Kenora Thistles, Phillips also played with the Montreal Hockey Club, the Ottawa Hockey Club, the Toronto Marlboros and the Vancouver Millionaires. Over the course of his career Phillips participated in six challenges for the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of hockey, winning twice: with the Montreal Hockey Club in 1903 and with the Kenora Thistles, which he captained, in January 1907. Following his playing career, Phillips worked in the lumber industry until his death in 1923.

One of the best defensive forwards of his era, Phillips was also known for his all-around skill, particularly his strong shot and endurance, and was considered, alongside Frank McGee, one of the two best players in all of hockey. His younger brother, Russell, also played for the Thistles and was a member of the team when they won the Stanley Cup. When the Hockey Hall of Fame was founded in 1945, Phillips was one of the original nine inductees. Read more...

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Satellite photo from August 2018 after years of drought, reaching near-record lows. Note the difference in colors between the northern and southern portions of the lake, the result of a railroad causeway.

The Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the U.S. state of Utah, is the largest salt water lake in the Western Hemisphere, and the eighth-largest terminal lake in the world. In an average year the lake covers an area of approximately 1,700 square miles (4,400 km2), but the lake's size fluctuates substantially due to its shallowness. For instance, in 1963 it reached its lowest recorded size at 950 square miles (2,460 km²), but in 1988 the surface area was at the historic high of 3,300 square miles (8,500 km2). In terms of surface area, it is the largest lake in the United States that is not part of the Great Lakes region.

The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a prehistoric pluvial lake that once covered much of western Utah. The three major tributaries to the lake, the Jordan, Weber, and Bear rivers together deposit approximately 1.1 million tons of minerals in the lake each year. As it is endorheic (has no outlet besides evaporation), it has very high salinity (far saltier than seawater) and its mineral content is steadily increasing. Due to the high density resulting from its mineral content, swimming in the Great Salt Lake is similar to floating. Its shallow, warm waters cause frequent, sometimes heavy lake-effect snows from late fall through spring. Read more...

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  • ... that the Chontal Maya of Tabasco consider themselves the direct descendants of the Olmec civilization?

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Credit: Bart Sw
A panoramic view of Mexico City



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