For organizing the information about lakes and their distribution at the continental scale, we can divide the continent into several regions characterized by their landscapes with respect to lakes and their origins (Figure 2). These regions are essentially defined by their geologic histories, especially occurrence of glaciation and tectonic activity. Processes of lake formation vary from region to region; for more complete discussion of lake origins refer to 'See also' section. Because these regions are so large they inevitably mask great internal variability. The discussion that follows is organized around the regions shown in Figure 2.
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