Learning the Possible: Mexican American Students Moving from the Margins of Life to New Ways of Being

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For this reason, continental crust is much, much older than oceanic crust. Wandering Continents If you could visit the Earth as it was millions of years ago, it would look very different. The continents have not always been where they are today. About million years ago, most continents were scattered chunks of land lying along or below the Equator.

By about million years ago, the forces that helped form Pangaea caused the supercontinent to begin to break apart. The pieces of Pangaea that began to move apart were the beginnings of the continents that we know today. A giant landmass that would become Europe, Asia, and North America separated from another mass that would split up into other continents. In time, Antarctica and Australia, still joined together, broke away and drifted south. The small piece of land that would become the peninsula of India broke away and for millions of years moved north as a large island.

It eventually collided with Asia. Gradually, the different landmasses moved to their present locations. The positions of the continents are always changing. North America and Europe are moving away from each other at the rate of about 2. If you could visit the planet in the future, you might find that part of the U.

Africa might have split in two along the Great Rift Valley. It is even possible that another supercontinent may form some day.

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Continental Features The surface of the continents has changed many times because of mountain building, weathering , erosion , and build-up of sediment. Continuous, slow movement of tectonic plates also changes surface features. The rocks that form the continents have been shaped and reshaped many times. Great mountain range s have risen and then have been worn away. Ocean waters have flood ed huge areas and then gradually dried up.

Massive ice sheet s have come and gone, sculpting the landscape in the process. Today, all continents have great mountain ranges, vast plain s, extensive plateau s, and complex river system s. Although each is unique , all the continents share two basic features: old, geologically stable regions, and younger, somewhat more active region s. In the younger regions, the process of mountain building has happened recently and often continues to happen. The power for mountain building, or orogeny , comes from plate tectonics. One way mountains form is through the collision of two tectonic plates.

The impact creates wrinkles in the crust, just as a rug wrinkles when you push against one end of it. The plate carrying India slowly and forcefully shoved the landmass of India into Asia, which was riding on another plate. The collision continues today, causing the Himalayas to grow taller every year. Recently formed mountains, called coastal range s, rise near the western coasts of North and South America.

Older, more stable mountain ranges are found in the interior of continents. The Appalachians of North America and the Urals, on the border between Europe and Asia, are older mountain ranges that are not geologically active. Even older than these ancient, eroded mountain ranges are flatter, more stable areas of the continents called craton s.

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Every continent has a craton. Microcontinents, like New Zealand, lack cratons. Cratons have two forms: shield s and platform s. Shields are bare rocks that may be the roots or cores of ancient mountain ranges that have completely eroded away. Platforms are cratons with sediment and sedimentary rock lying on top. The Canadian Shield makes up about a quarter of North America. For hundreds of thousands of years, sheets of ice up to 3. The moving ice wore away material on top of ancient rock layers, exposing some of the oldest formations on Earth.

When you stand on the oldest part of the Canadian Shield, you stand directly on rocks that formed more than 3. North America North America, the third-largest continent, extends from the tiny Aleutian Islands in the northwest to the Isthmus of Panama in the south.

The continent includes the enormous island of Greenland in the northeast. In the far north, the continent stretches halfway around the world, from Greenland to the Aleutians.

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In between the mountain systems lie wide plains that contain deep, rich soil. Much of the soil was formed from material deposited during the most recent glacial period. This ice age reached its peak about 18, years ago. As glacier s retreated, streams of melted ice dropped sediment on the land, building layers of fertile soil in the plains region. North America contains a variety of natural wonders. Landforms and all types of vegetation can be found within its boundaries.

Yellowstone National Park, in the U. In the U.

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Despite its name, Greenland is mostly covered with ice. Its ice is a remnant of the great ice sheets that once blanket ed much of the North American continent. Greenland is the only place besides Antarctica that still has an ice sheet. From the freezing Arctic to the tropical jungle s of Central America, North America enjoys more climate variation than any other continent. Parts of the Canadian province of British Columbia and the U.

South America is the fourth-largest continent and extends from the sunny beaches of the Caribbean Sea to the frigid waters near the Antarctic Circle. These islands even host some Antarctic birds, such as penguins, albatrosses, and terns. Early Spanish explorer s visiting the islands for the first time saw small fires dotting the land.

These fires, made by indigenous people, seemed to float on the water, which is probably how the islands got their name—Tierra del Fuego means "Land of Fire. Many active volcano es dot the range. These volcanic areas are fueled by heat generated as a large oceanic plate, called the Nazca Plate, grinds beneath the plate carrying South America.

The central-southern area of South America has pampas , or plains. These rich areas are ideal for agriculture. The growing of wheat is a major industry in the pampas. Grazing animal s, such as cattle and sheep, are also raised in the pampas region. In volume, the Amazon is the largest river in the world. More water flows from it than from the next six largest rivers combined.

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Water flows more than meters 3, feet —almost a mile. The falls are so high that most of the water evaporate s into mist or is blown away by wind before it reaches the ground. South American rain forests contain an enormous wealth of animal and plant life. More than 15, species of plants and animals are found only in the Amazon River basin.

Many Amazonian plant species are sources of food and medicine for the rest of the world. Scientists are trying to find ways to preserve this precious and fragile environment as people move into the Amazon basin and clear land for settlements and agriculture. In total area, the continent of Europe is only slightly larger than the country of Canada.

However, the population of Europe is more than twice that of South America. Most European countries have access to the ocean. The continent is bordered by the Arctic Ocean in the north, the Atlantic Ocean in the west, the Caspian Sea in the southeast, and the Mediterranean and Black Seas in the south. Early Europeans learned the river systems of the Volga, Danube, Don, Rhine, and Po, and could successfully travel the length and width of the small continent for trade , communication , or conquest. European explorers were responsible for colonizing land on every continent except Antarctica.

This colonization process had a drastic impact on the economic and political development of those continents, as well as Europe. In the east, the Ural Mountains separate Europe from Asia. The nations of Russia and Kazakhstan straddle both continents. To the south, the Alps form an arc stretching from Albania to Austria, then across Switzerland and northern Italy into France. This outlook reviews the current state of the global health care sector and explores trends and issues impacting health care providers, governments, payers, patients, and other stakeholders.

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It also outlines suggestions for them as they seek to redefine the health care ecosystem and looks at examples from the market. Health care providers are stressing rigorous financial management, efficient operational performance, outcomes-based care, and innovative solutions development. These could result in improved care provision, reduced costs, counter declining margins, and aligned cost structure and care models with reimbursement trends and payment models. Developing public-private partnerships, investing in prevention and well-being, and learning from industries outside of health care will also be key.

Clinical innovations, patient preferences, and government program payment policies are prompting hospitals to shift certain services to alternative points of care and even to virtual environments that benefit from a cost and access perspective. It is also being seen that social determinants of health often have a greater impact on health outcomes than does health care. It is imperative for stakeholders across the health care ecosystem to collaborate around a whole-life approach to funding and delivering sustainable health care. Collaboration should be key. Investments in technology such as virtual health and telehealth could expand services while also helping hospitals bend the cost curve.

AI powered nurses interacting with patients and intelligent virtual assistants providing personalized health care coaching are innovations that are already gaining traction. Patients and caregivers, dissatisfied with poor service and lack of transparency around price, quality, and safety, are expecting health care solutions that are coordinated, convenient, customized, and accessible. Non-traditional companies from consumer, retail, and technology sectors are also making forays into the health care value chain with solutions that are disrupting the norm. Digital technologies can improve engagement, enable convenience-driven access to care, and nurture a two-way relationship for the long term.

Organizations that understand and act on how consumers would like to use digital health, telehealth, wearable monitoring and fitness devices, online resources, social media, and other technologies will likely be well-positioned to develop patient engagement strategies that help individuals make informed health care decisions.

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