North America vs. South America

  • By reComparison Contributor
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Difference between North America and South America

Although the cultures of North America and South America couldn't be any more different, comparisons between the two are inevitable, given their proximity to each other. Admittedly, there are quite a few similarities between both, especially with regard to geographical features, but there certainly enough differences that distinguish them as two decidedly individual continents. Let's take a look at some of their more distinctive geographical traits.

Diversity

The geographical make up of North America is quite diverse, and it is made up of no less than six major regions, each of which is broken down into several smaller sub regions. The lowland regions of the continent are comprised of the Coastal Plain, the Canadian Shield and the Interior Plains, while the highland regions are comprised of the Appalachian Highlands, the North American Cordillera and the Antillean System.

South America is actually quite similar to North America in terms of geographical diversity, with high mountains to be found in the western section of the continent and lower rolling mountains towards the east. In between these mountain ranges are broad lowland plains. That being said, South America does have a higher mountain range in the Andes than can be found in North America. On the other hand, the plains in South America cover a much smaller land area, and the eastern highlands is more spread apart.

Lowlands

The Coastal Plain of North America stretches from the eastern coast of the country, running from Mexico to Cape Cod. This plain reaches out to the ocean as the continental shelf, and it actually makes up the islands of the Bahamas. The Interior Plains for its part is wide and fairly level, and it makes up a huge part of the interior of North America. This places it squarely between the Appalachian Highlands, the Canadian Shield, and the Rocky Mountains. The Interior Plain stretches southward to meet the Coastal Plain.

As for South America, its lowland regions are comprised of broad plains interspersed with smaller areas of growth. The Amazon Basin is the widest and most extensive area of the lowlands, and it is characterized by thick, lush rainforests.

Bodies Of Water

The longest bodies of water in North America are the Mississippi and Mackenzie River systems, both of which stretch across the continent. There are also numerous smaller rivers, with many of them located towards the eastern and western coastal areas of the United States. These rivers are typically used for commerce and for power generation. The rivers in Central America are a lot shorter and consequently, have faster currents that make them less suitable for commercial use.

South America doesn't have nearly as many lakes as North America, although it does make up for it in rivers and waterfalls. Most of the main rivers in the continent flow into either the Atlantic or the Caribbean. The Amazon is the second longest river in the world.

Summary

North America

  • Diverse range of landforms and bodies of water
  • Comprised of six distinct geographical regions
  • Has a lot more lakes than South America
  • Made up in large part of the Interior Plains
  • Notable for the Mississippi and Mackenzie River systems

South America

  • Geographically very similar to North America
  • The Andes is a higher mountain range than any in North America
  • Relatively few lakes compared to North America
  • Has an abundance of rivers, waterfalls and rainforests
  • Rivers aren't ideally suited for commercial purposes, but locals use the Amazon as the often only available transportation highway
Where would you rather be?
  • North America
  • South America
 
 

Discuss It: comments 11

I admit, I have not been on this webpage in a long time... however it was another joy to see It is

such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals. I thank you to help making

people more aware of possible issues.

Great stuff as usual...

south america a far greater continent than north america so full of life natural resources great in agriculture and fresh food less chemichal healty fish and much greener. i live in south america and north america .america a road to wealth south america a road to life

you suck.

lol you are such an ignorant moron

North america especially Canada can be said to describe and outweigh south america. You're destroying you're natural resources at a far greater rate than north america just to make farm lands.

except for the vast corruption and squandering of natural resources by a uneducated people

  • Guest
  • Don Saunders wrote on November 2011

Quality of life?? You kidding?? We are Canadians now in South America. Until you have been here a while, I'm sorry, you know nothing!!! Colombia is now safe with incredible weather. Go to Santa Marta, Cartagena or Medellin and tell me any city in North America that has better weather 365 DAYS A YEAR...NOT JUST A FEW MONTHS. Don't believe me, go to weatherbase.com and see for yourself. Never mind the **** about crime here, there are at least 10 cities in the US with higher crime rates per capita than even Medellin (pablo Escobar...). Colombia is incredible, the people, the restaurants, everything, and very inexpensive. Depends what you are looking for, but we like 12 months of summer!!

Your quality of life might be good because you have the money but imagine the life of othe rpeople there in Colombia. Dont go running back to Canada once problems start to occur there.

  • Guest
  • John wrote on December 2011

Wel both continent have there own advantage for example1 cows in south America has fresh gras to eat which is healthy and in north America dry straws with vitamin 2 the us has very good medical and more update with technology but for a slower healty life south America is by far best especially when it comes to food

  • Guest
  • Zaynul Abedin wrote on March 2012

To be known is in a sense to be famous. North America can successfully stand the test of the postulate. I believe South America may have innumerable resource prospects, but they are yet to be unearthed and hence cannot stand the test that way.

  • Guest
  • cleementbrenya wrote on April 2014

let people know what the world is about

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