Учебное пособие для студентов 3 курса специальности 032301. 65 Регионоведение Чита 2008 (075)



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Mineral resources of the United States include gold, silver, nickel, iron, copper, uranium and zinc. The Rocky Mountains contain a great wealth of gold, silver and copper. Important energy resources such as oil, natural gas and coal are found throughout the United States.

The United States is the largest producer of oil and natural gas and the world's leading importer and consumer. The principal areas of oil and natural gas production include the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana and the Mid-Continent Field in Texas, Oklahoma, and adjacent states. Oil is also produced in southern California, the Appalachian Plateau area from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, and at scattered locations in Wyoming, the northern plains states, and the Midwest.

The largest potential reserves of oil in the world lie buried in billions of tons of oil shale rock in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. But getting the oil out of the rock is difficult and expensive, and the current extraction process severely pollutes the environment.

Two other sources of petroleum promise to extend the country's supply. In both cases, the costs of production are higher than traditional oil-field operations. The first of these consists of off-shore deposits. Oil companies have successfully drilled at sites off the coast of Louisiana and Texas in the Gulf of Mexico. There are also potential deposits off the shores of California, Alaska, and New England.

The second potential source of oil is in northern Alaska. Oil from Prudhoe Bay moved by pipeline and tanker to the lower forty-eight states for the first time in the summer of 1977.

Coal supplies in the United States are vast. The largest soft-coal field in the world lies beneath the Appalachian Plateau from Pennsylvania southward to Alabama. Much of this coal is suitable for making into coke, a form of coal that burns at a high temperature. The large mills of the area use this coal in the production of iron and steel.

Coal is a source of air pollution. Because of the standards set up by the Clean Air Act of 1970, the use of coal has declined somewhat. However, its use is expected to increase as oil becomes more expensive. Increasingly coal from western states is being used. It burns cleaner, although it has less heat value than eastern coal. Freight trains with more than 100 cars move this western coal vast distances to power plants.

Hydroelectric sites exist only where there is falling water or a likely site to collect water in a reservoir. The original fall line locations on the Piedmont-Coastal-Plain border were at first used to turn water wheels. This provided only a very limited amount of power. Today, large reservoirs of water behind dams provide electricity. The power is generated by the weight of the water which is allowed to shoot out at the bottom of the reservoir to spin large turbines. These turbines generate electricity.

Places where hydroelectric power is important include the Ozarks, the southern Appalachians, the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York, the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon, and some mountainous areas of California. As a source of energy, water power is good because it is a renewable resource — the water is not used up when the energy is produced. However, there is not enough water power available to supply all our energy needs. It is estimated only about 5 percent of our electricity could be generated by water power.

Most nuclear-power plants are under federal government supervision. The increasing scarcity and price of oil makes this source of power more attractive, despite the risks involved. One of these risks is the accidental release of dangerous radioactive materials into the air and water. In addition, the nuclear reactors need a large amount of water for cooling.

More than seventy nuclear power plants now generate electricity in the United States. While they are scattered throughout the country, they are generally located close to large cities like Chicago and Boston, where the demand for power is high and supplies of oil are scarce.

Geothermal and solar energy are two alternative sources of power which are, at present, only in the experimental stage. Geothermal power can be produced where cracks in the earth's crust allow heat from the mantle to rise and boil water at the surface, powering turbines. Geothermal energy is important in some parts of the world, most notably Iceland, but in the United States only a few places are suitable, like northern California.

Since the sun is expected to shine for a few billion more years, solar energy is a virtually unlimited and inexhaustible resource. Today, however, large-scale production of solar energy is not yet technically possible.

Energy problems will probably persuade industry and the government to spend more money to develop this source of power. Widespread use of solar power probably depends on developing small, powerful batteries that can store the sun's energy. Perhaps most power plants will be located in deserts, where the supply of sunshine is the greatest or maybe huge satellites will collect solar radiation in space and beam it to power plants everywhere on Earth.
Vocabulary

extraction to shoot out to collect water in a reservoir

petroleum soft-coal to turn water wheels

supervision mill to provide electricity

fall line coke to spin large turbines

release the mantle renewable resource

energy solar power the nuclear reactors

to drill to beam to collect solar radiation

to persuade to store the sun's

radioactive materials the experimental stage

off-shore deposits inexhaustible resource
Comprehension Check

Exercise I. Scan the text for answers to the following questions:

1. Why do Americans need to find new sources of cheap energy?

2. Where are the major areas of oil and gas production in the United States? What other areas are thought to have important deposits?

3. Where are the nation's major coal deposits? Why is coal not always acceptable substitute for oil?

4. What problems are associated with nuclear power plants?

5. What features of hydroelectric power, geothermal energy, and solar energy make them good sources of energy? What limitations are associated with each?
Exercise II. Translate from Russian into English:
Соединенные Штаты Америки обладают значительными запасами полезных ископаемых, таких как нефть, газ, уголь, уран и т.д.. Однако из 40 основных видов минерального сырья лишь по 18 США обеспечивают себя на 50 % и вынуждены экспортировать остальные 68 видов.

Полезные ископаемые в Северной Америке найдены почти на всей территории. В Северной части равнин преобладают месторождения руд металлов: железа, меди, никеля и других.

На Центральных и Великих равнинах, а также на Миссиссипской низменности много нефти, природного газа и каменного угля.

В Аппалачах и их предгорьях залегают железные руды и каменный уголь. Кордильеры богаты нефтью, природным газом, каменным углем, а также магматическими ископаемыми: рудами цветных металлов, золотом, урановыми рудами и другими.


When the first census was taken in 1790, much of the country had not even been explored, and much of it did not belong to the United States, but to France and Spain. The "western settlers" of that day were in the Appalachian Mountains, and the total population was about 4 million.

By 1854, the United States had acquired the western part of the country by purchase and by treaty. This region had been unified politically, and there were about as many people living west of the Appalachians as east of them, about 24 million. At that time people seriously believed that the task of settling and developing the country would require at least 500 years. The speed with which it actually was settled is one of the most exciting stories in American history. Within the period of one lifetime, vast territories of forest were converted into farms and industrial centers. At first, the settlers pushed westward in thin lines along the rivers; then they began to fill the intervening spaces throughout the middle of the country. And then, dramatically, the movement of the population jumped to the Pacific, caused by the discovery of gold in northern California.

Now the population is estimated at about 236 mln with a density of 65 persons per square mile. Seventy seven percent of the population lives in urban areas; 23 % — in rural areas. The peoples of the United States represent cultures from around the world, thanks to the immigration which played a vital role in the formation of the United States. Very many people came from abroad, mostly from Europe, in search of political or religious freedom. Others fled from poverty and hunger. Before 1880 most of the immigrants came from northern and western Europe, and after that from southern and eastern Europe. Thousands of Asians came to the Pacific coast. The peak of movement was reached in the period from 1901 to 1910 during which some 8,8 million people entered the country.

The first Europeans to establish permanent settlements along the Pacific coast were the Russians. They came late in the 18th century in search of easily extracted riches. Here that proved to be furs, and they established a number of trading posts and missionary activities that eventually reached as far south as northern California. However, they were concentrated in Southeastern Alaska. These posts never became self-sufficient in foodstuffs, and the costs of maintaining these scattered, distant posts consumed most of the profits. So in 1867 Alaska was sold to the United States for a price of 7,2 million dollars. Many Americans considered the price far too high, and the government was seriously criticized for the purchase. Evidence of this Russian presence can still be seen in some parts of Alaska in wooden architecture, onion-doomed churches, cemeteries, and the Russian Orthodox faith.

Immigrants from different countries very often live by solid communities - Franco-Canadians in the north of New England, Germans in Pennsylvania, Swedes in Minnesota, the French in Louisiana, the Slavs in the northeast and the Lake District. They use their native languages and keep the customs and traditions of their forefathers. Representatives of many nationalities and ethnic groups took part in the formation of the American nation and it is a very complicated product.

A constituent part of the American nation consists of about 30 million Afro-Americans (about 12 % of the whole population). Half of them live in the South, in the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, North and South Carolinas, Virginia. Spanish-speaking people from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other Hispanic countries make up another group which equals 6 % of the population. The native people comprise Indians (1,5 million), Eskimos and Aleuts. Minorities of Asian descent include Chinese, Japanese, Indochinese and others.

North Alaska has been the home of Eskimos for countless centuries. It is believed that the Eskimos moved there from Mongolia or Siberia, probably crossing Bering Strait, named for Vitus Bering, the Danish sea captain who discovered Alaska on his voyage for Russia in 1741. The Eskimos, the Aleuts of the southwest, and the Indians of the southeast are the state's earliest known inhabitants.

There are about 4 million people belonging to other ethnic groups. But the great majority of the people of the United States are English-speaking Americans (over 80 per cent), though their language under new conditions of life and immigrant environment acquired a number of new phonetical and lexical peculiarities.

In number of population (over 260 million) the United States holds one of the first places in the world (after China and India). The average density of population as a whole, without Alaska and Hawaii, is 26,2 people per 1 square kilometer, i.e. considerably less than in most of the countries of Europe. More than half of the population is concentrated in the industrial Northeast, and the density of population here is very high – 374 people per 1 square kilometer. The density of the population of the South is over 30 people per 1 square kilometre. On the Pacific coast the density is high again — 64 people per 1 square kilometre (California). Meanwhile, California is the most populous state — 27 million people, New York is second — 18 million. In the industrial and agrarian states of the Lake District the density of population is lower and decreases sharply in the purely agricultural states — North and South Dakotas and Nebraska — 4—7 people per 1 square kilometre. In the mountainous Cordillera States the density ranges from 2 people (Wyoming) to 12 people per 1 square kilometre in Colorado.

The lowest density of population is in Alaska — 0,3 people per 1 square kilometre. But the tendency of movement of the population from one region to another never stopped.

Interregional migrations of the population are closely connected with considerable territorial differences in the level and rate of economic development and reflect changes in the structure and distribution of economy. As a result of the reduction of employment in agriculture and the increase of those employed in industry, trade, finance, government, service, the urban population of the country is continuously growing, now it is 74 per cent. The proportion of rural population is only 26 per cent. The principal reason today for population movement is the growth of new industries, especially in the West and South.

The population of 50 largest American cities constitutes 37,8 million people (16,6 per cent of the country's population). At the top of the list is the urban agglomeration of New York — the population of which is 17,9 million. It is followed by Los Angeles — 13 million, Chicago — 8,1 million, San Francisco — 5,8 million, Philadelphia — 5,8 million, Detroit — 4,6 million, etc. As a whole, the United States has 182 cities with the population of over 100 thousand people.

Today 95 per cent of the population of the United States are the people who were born here. The great majority of the Americans belongs to the Protestant and Catholic churches. As regards sex structure the ratio of females and males is 51,4 to 48,6 fer cent. The expectation of life for a white man is 71,3 and for a black man 65,4 years, for a white woman 78,3 and for a black woman 73,6 years.

The United States is one of the few countries in the world that has no "official" national language. English is the common language by use, but it is not the national language by law. About 30 million Americans speak a language other than English at home. This means, for example, that if you meet an American in New Mexico who speaks Spanish as his first language, he could be a recent immigrant, having arrived in the USA only a few years ago, or his grandparents could have arrived in the United States a hundred years ago. It could also be that his ancestors had been living in the area years before the thirteen American colonies were established on the East Coast. A social foreign accent does not necessarily mean that an individual is (or even was) a foreigner.
Vocabulary
to acquire forefathers to fill the intervening places

to unify minority to flee from poverty

to convert descent to play a vital role

to consume missionary solid community

migration populous the expectation of life

urban rural ratio
Comprehension Check
Exercise 1. Answer the following questions to cover the contents of the text.


  1. 1. When was the first census taken? What was the population of the USA?

  2. 2. What caused the westward migration of the people?

  3. 3. What played a vital role in the formation of the population?

  4. 4. When was the peak movement reached and why?

  5. 5. Who were the first Europeans to establish permanent settlements along the Pacific coast? What evidence of it can be still seen in some parts of Alaska?

  6. 6. In what states do immigrants live by solid communities?

  7. 7. What nationalities and ethnic groups took part in the formation of the American nation?

  8. 8. How is the population distributed across the country? What is its density?

  9. 9. What is the proportion of urban and rural population?

10. What are the chief urban agglomerations of the country?

11. What religion is predominant in the USA?

12. What language is spoken in the country?
Vocabulary Study

Exercise I. Look up the following words in an English - English dictionary and write out the principal meanings. Use them in the sentences of your own.
1) census n; 2) density n; 3) agglomeration n; 4) unify v; 5) community n; 6) ethnic a; 7) populous a; 8) minority n; 9) nationality n.
Exercise II. Find in the text the English phrases corresponding to their Russian equivalents.

1) межрегиональные миграции; 2) плотность населения; 3) перепись населения; 4) потреблять продукты питания; 5) православная вера; 6. продолжительность жизни; 7) густонаселенный регион; 8) отношение, пропорция; 9) возможный, конечный, окончательный; 10) составляющая часть.
Exercise III. Supply the words and word combinations from the text which are a periphrasis of the following.
1) a collection into a mass; 2) a grave-yard; 3) to make into a union or a coherent whole; 4) to get as one's own, to come into possession of smth.; 5) heathen, relating to races or large groups of people classed according to common traits and customs; 6) compact, friendly or associated; 7) an expected number of years of life based on statistical probability; 8) the ration between births and individuals in a specified population and time; 9) a unified body of individuals, the people with common interests living in a particular area; 10) an organizational union for performing a specific function, mainly, the propagation of a religious faith or carrying on humanitarian work; 11) to alter the physical nature or properties, to change from one form or function to another; 12) to occur or lie between two things.
Exercise IV. Find out whether the statement is true or false according to the information in the text.
1. The dramatic movement of the population from the East to the Pacific was caused by the construction of Hollywood studios.

2. Representatives of many nationalities and ethnic groups took part in the formation of the US nation and it is an extremely unique process.

3. More than half of the population is concentrated in the agricultural Southeast, and the density of population here is very high.





  1. 4. The principal reason today for population movement is the growth of new farm and ranches, especially in Alaska and the West.

  2. 5. The United States like many other countries has its "official" national language.


Exercise V. Use the clues to help you fill in the blanks with the correct words. Then write each numbered letter above the matching number on the blanks provided below. The completed word puzzle will describe one of the problems the world faces today.


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