North American Cordillera
The North American Cordillera is the North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

n portion of the American Cordillera
American cordillera
The American Cordillera is a cordillera that consists of an essentially continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. From north to south, this sequence of overlapping and parallel ranges begins with the...

 which is a cordillera
A cordillera is an extensive chain of mountains or mountain ranges, that runs along a coastline . It comes from the Spanish word cordilla, which is a diminutive of cuerda, or "cord"...

 extending up and down the western side of the Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. The North American Cordillera covers an extensive area of mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

s, intermontane
Intermontane is a physiographic adjective formed from the prefix "inter-" and the adjective "montane" Usage includes intermontane basin such as New Zealand's Mackenzie Basin and intermontane...

 basins, and plateau
In geology and earth science, a plateau , also called a high plain or tableland, is an area of highland, usually consisting of relatively flat terrain. A highly eroded plateau is called a dissected plateau...

s in western North America, including much of the territory west of the Great Plains
Great Plains
The Great Plains are a broad expanse of flat land, much of it covered in prairie, steppe and grassland, which lies west of the Mississippi River and east of the Rocky Mountains in the United States and Canada. This area covers parts of the U.S...

. It is also sometimes called the Western Cordillera, the Western Cordillera of North America, or the Pacific Cordillera.

The precise boundaries of this cordillera and its subregions, as well as the names of its various features, may differ depending on the definitions in each country or jurisdiction, and also depending on the scientific field; this cordillera is a particularly prominent subject in the scientific field of physical geography
Physical geography
Physical geography is one of the two major subfields of geography. Physical geography is that branch of natural science which deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, as opposed to the cultural or built environment, the...