Saskatchewan is situated in the central Prairie between Alberta on the west and Manitoba on the east. Its neighbour on the north is the North West Territories, and on the south it borders with the United States. Saskatchewan is rectangular in shape--it is the only Canadian province none of whose borders was determined by the landform feature like river or mountain range. The province is located in the Central Standard Time and doesn't switch on Daylight Saving Time in summer. The population of Saskatchewan is around one million people with the area of 651 900 km2.

Physical and Natural Description
Geologic History--Land Formation, Types of Rocks, and Minerals

The northeastern part of Saskatchewan is a part of the Canadian Shield that was formed during Precambrian era and features some of the oldest rocks in the world. The border that separates the Canadian Shield from the rest of the province runs across Saskatchewan from south-east to north-west. This part of the province was formed during Precambrian era and contains igneous and metamorphic rocks. From the minerals found in that part of the Shield the most abundant and the most important for Saskatchewan is the metallic mineral uranium that can be used for building the nuclear reactors or exported to the other countries.

The rest of the province, except for the extreme southwest which is occupied by the Hills, is situated on the Saskatchewan Plain which is a part of the Interior Plains that are, in turn, part of the Great Plains of North America. This part was formed under water when the mountains of the Canadian Shield eroded and deposited on the bottom of the shallow seas that it was surrounded by. The process was completed during the Mesozoic era. This part is relatively flat with gently rolling hills and occasional valleys. The most important minerals that are found in this area composed of soft and hard sedimentary rock are the non-metallic minerals like potash which is widely used as a fertilizer and some oil.

Major Landform Features
The major landform feature of the province is the escarpment created by erosion that separates Saskatchewan Plain from Alberta Plain and Manitoba Plain. Except for the Cypress Hills near the U.S. border, Saskatchewan lies on a plain. Its landscape is not absolutely flat--Saskatchewan is the province of gently rolling rounded hills.

Saskatchewan is a part of the two climatic regions: Prairie on the south and Boreal on the north. The climatic characteristics of both are somewhat similar, but there are certain differences. For example, being situated farther north the Boreal region has colder winters and cooler summers. Both regions receive little precipitation, but the Prairie region tends to be drier than Boreal.

Saskatchewan climate is sharply continental. Since there is no mountain range on the north or on the south, the province is open to both cold Arctic air masses and warm air coming from the Gulf of Mexico. This results in long cold winters and hot summers. The annual temperature range in Saskatchewan, therefore, is one of the highest in Canada.

There is very little precipitation in Saskatchewan because the air that is brought to the province from the Pacific coast is dry--it loses all its moisture before it crosses the mountain range in form of relief precipitation. The air that comes from the other directions is also dry. Thus, not only does Saskatchewan have little precipitation, it also receives more sunshine than any other province. The Saskatchewan town of Estevan--a "sunshine capital" of Canada --gets 2540 hours of sunshine per year.

No description of Saskatchewan climate will be complete without mentioning of the blizzards--prairie storms with winds of ~11m/s that can last for six hours or more. It is most likely to occur in February, in southwestern Saskatchewan. Right after those storms the transportation and communication systems are disrupted, so the whole cities can be paralyzed for several days.

Soil and Natural Vegetation.
Vegetation Regions.
Saskatchewan has three natural vegetation regions--the grassland, the parkland, and the boreal forest. Each one has different soil and different natural vegetation.

The very south of Saskatchewan is occupied by the grassland--the driest area of the province and one of the driest in the country--where only grass can grow. The general trend is that the more precipitation the area receives the taller the grass that can grow in that area. The trees can only grow near the rivers so that they can get enough moisture.

Another vegetation region of the