Land and Resources, Soils
pingos, black prairie, Arctic regions, southern Manitoba, tundra
Canada’s largest area of high-quality farmland is a formation of rich dark brown and black prairie, or grassland, soils that run from southern Manitoba west across Saskatchewan and into Alberta. The gray-brown soil of the St. Lawrence valley and the Great Lakes is also good farmland. Only about 5 percent of Canada’s land is suitable for raising crops, however; the remainder is too mountainous, rocky, wet, or infertile.
Large areas of Canada are covered by boggy peat that is characteristic of the tundra and adjoining forest areas. This land is generally infertile and frequently mossy. In the Arctic regions, most of the soil is classified as permafrost, meaning that at least 80 percent of the ground is permanently frozen. The freeze-thaw action that occurs in the more southern parts of the permafrost zone frequently causes so-called patterned ground features, such as polygonal rings of stones, ice wedges, and pingos (ice domes).
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