Mysterious caves and highest peaks, turbulent rivers and calm lakes, sand dunes and geothermal springs are just a few of the interesting natural features on the map of the majestic Rocky Mountains. The beauty of nature, combined with the excellent tourist infrastructure of national parks, annually attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists to the region.
Formation of the Rocky Mountains
The process of formation of the Rocky Mountains remains a mystery to geological science. There are 2 versions of the geological process that created the mountains. According to the classical theory, the oceanic lithospheric plate slowly sank under the continental plate at an angle until its opposite edge rose almost vertically.
The wide fold-thrust deformation consisted of a series of impulsive movements with the uplift of sections of the earth's crust and long periods of rest. The mountain-building process (orogeny) that lasted for millions of years received the name Laramian folding from the city of Laramie, located in the state of Wyoming.
This theory cannot fully explain the formation and relief of the Rocky Mountains, so how they are 970 km away from the ocean coast and the edge of the tectonic plate of the lithosphere.
A group of scientists led by Professor of Geology at the University of Colorado at Boulder C. Jones proposed a different version of the formation of mountains. According to it, a superhard stone shield formed under the lithosphere under the influence of gases lifted a layer of the earth's crust by 3 thousand meters.
Where are the Rocky Mountains in North America?
The Rocky Mountains on the map of North America were formed as a result of a long process of city-building that began 75 million years ago in the Cretaceous period. Its initial stage ended at the beginning of the Paleogene about 40 million years ago.
The orogeny of the Rocky Mountains has not yet been finally completed. This is evidenced by regular earthquakes and numerous geysers and geothermal springs located in the region.
The Rocky Mountains are located in the west of the North American continent within the Cordillera. Its northern border passes near the Valley of the Liard River on a latitude of 59 °. The southern sangs of the Rocky Mountains end at the origins of the Pekos River on the latitude of 35 ° in New Mexico.
The mountains stretched from the north-west in the southeastern direction by 4,830 km. The width of the mountain range is about 480 km. The total area of the mountain ranges, valleys and parks is equal to 1 million km2.
Rocky mountains on a political map are located in Canada and the United States. Their northern part crosses the Canadian provinces British Columbia and Albert. In the US, mountain ranges occupy part of the territory of Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Montana.
High mountains are a watershed between rivers flowing into quiet and atlantic oceans. The origins of Rio Grande, Arkansas, Missouri, are located on their slopes. By the shore of the Pacific Ocean flows the water of Snake and Colorado.
The highest points
Mount Elbert is estimated as the most significant vertex of the Rocky Mountains and the Wyostch Ridge. According to 1988, it is 4,401.2 m. It received its name by decision of miners in honor of the governor of Colorado Samuel Elbert after the conclusion of the land agreement with the leaders of the Utah tribe in 1873
Mountain is located in Colorado on the territory of San Isabel National Park. The nearest town of Linville is located 19.5 km on the southwest from the mountain.
The first ascent on its vertex was performed in 1874 geologist G. Stakley. In 1949, this path was first repeated by car Jeep. For the simplicity of climbing, the mountain received a nickname "gentle giant."
The 2nd in the height of Mount Mount-Massif is 8 km south-east of the top of Elbert. For the first time, it was investigated in 1873. On its main top of 4,398 m, the geologist G. Gannett, a member of the scientific expedition of F. Heidena rose first.
The name of the mountain is associated with its main feature: on the crest of a length of 4.8 km, five peaks are located at once. The height of each of them exceeds 4,300 m. The bottom slopes of the mountain are covered with pine forests, and in low-profile lakes have several glacial lakes.
The 3rd top of the Rocky Mountain Mount Mount Harvard also belongs to the WSATF Range. Its height is 4,395.6 m. The name of the mountain was given by Professor D. Whitney in honor of Harvard University.
The first climbing on it was made by the expedition members from Harvard S. Sharpless and W. Davis in 1869. In 1962, a pillar was installed at a height of 4.2 m with an inscription on the attached record: "Mount Harvard. 4 399.2 m. This sign is installed at an altitude of 4,399.2 m, which makes it the second in the height of the point in the adjacent area. " In the 1980sPole with a sign without a trace disappeared.
In the system of the Rocky Mountains there are another 59 vertices, the height of which exceeds 4,000 m.
the most significant of them (in descending order of heights):
- the peak of the form, the Sangre de Cristo Ridge - 4,374 m;
- Peak La Plata, WSATF Ridge - 4 372 m:
- Peak Ankumpagre, San Juan Mountain - 4,365 m;
- Cruster Peak, Sangre de Cristo Ridge - 4 359 m;
- Mount Lincoln, Mosquito Range - 4,356,5 m;
- Castle Peak, Mine Mountains - 4,352.2 m;
- Grace Peak, an advanced ridge - 4,352 m;
- Antero, WSATF Rank - 4 351.4 m;
- Evans, an advanced ridge - 4350 m.
from 62 highest tops of the Rocky Mountains 55 are located in Colorado. 5 more in Wyoming and 1st Mountain in Utah and New Mexico.
Age and climate
After the completion of the main stage of the property, approximately 40 million years ago, the Rocky Mountains reminded Himalayas. The height of many vertices at that time exceeded 6 thousand m.
. The intensity and the rate of destruction of the mountain ranges is determined by the current climatic conditions: the amount of precipitation and the rose of winds.
Rocky mountains on the map are within two natural belts with a moderate and subtropical climate.
The impressive length and height of the components of the ridge system predetermines a large variety of climatic zones:
|region||High-rise belt||The border of the forest, M||of the snow boundary, M||precipitation, mm / g.|
|Northern Rocky Mountains||Minning Forests,|
|2 500||to 1 500|
|Southern Rocky Mountains||steppe, Park-pine forests, subalpine forests, Alpine meadows||3 600||4 000||from 250|
In the north of the geographical region in the hottest season, the average temperature of July is + 20 ° C. In the south, this indicator + 30 ° C. In the midst of winter, the temperature at the foot of the advanced ridge falls on average to -10 ° C. In the south in the middle of winter, the temperature approaches 0 ° C.
On the eastern slopes of the mountains, the most significant. On the part of the Great Plains per year drops to 800 mm. In the western slopes, the climate is noticeably land - the amount of precipitation for the year does not exceed 400 mm.
Rocky Mountain terrain and natural features
The rugged Canadian Rockies comprise the Front Range peaks. Its length is about 2,000 km. A striking feature of the ridge is the rectilinear outlines of mountains. In the south it splits into the Lewis, Caribou and Selkirk mountains.
Canada is dominated by ridges stretching from the northwest to the southeast with large valleys. Relief forms that developed in the early period of glaciation are widespread. In the east, the height of the mountains gradually decreases towards the Great Plains. On the western side, the Front Range runs along a fault in the Rocky Mountain Moat tectonic plate.
In the Rocky Mountains of Canada is the vast Columbia Icefield. It was formed 126 thousand years ago and includes six glaciers: Castlegard, Statfield, Saskatchewan, Athabasca, Dome and Columbia Glacier.
The Rocky Mountains on the map are divided into southern and northern ridges by the volcanic Yellowstone Plateau in Wyoming. Under its surface in the 1960s. a supervolcano was discovered with a bubble of magma heated to + 800 ° C. Underground heat stimulates the activity of numerous thermal springs and geysers of the plateau.
In a huge stratovolcano caldera, high-altitude lake Yellowstone is located in the USA. The area of its water surface is 350 km2, at a depth of about 42 m.
sh. is the widest zone of the Rocky Mountains. The relief is characterized by a mosaic character. The mountainous country consists of multidirectional and short high ridges separated by plateau-like parks.
The Wasatch, Sangre de Cristo, and a number of others run from north to south. At the same time, the Uinta Mountains are elongated at an angle to them in the direction from west to east. The eastern border of the southern Rocky Mountains rises above the plain with a clear wall of high mountain peaks.
Numerous caves have been formed over millions of years in the limestone stacks of the southern Rocky Mountains. Near the city of Salt Lake City is the deepest cave in the United States Neff Canyon. Its underground galleries go 357 m deep from the surface of the earth.
In the same region, Carlsbad Caves, impressive in size, were discovered at the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains. Their total length is 33 km. Karst halls and galleries farthest from the surface of the earth descend to a depth of 313 m.
Rating of National Parks
A significant part of the territory of the Rocky Mountains in the USA and Canada is within the boundaries of national parks. Due to this, all conditions have been created to preserve unique ecosystems, organizing controlling the use of natural resources and the protection of rare representatives of flora and fauna.
Northern America's national parks are traditionally centers of outdoor activities. A hundreds of kilometers of pedestrian and equestrian tourist routes are laid along their territory. Thousands of people come here to participate in alloys on rivers, climbing, cycling, fishing, speleology.
In the winter months, ski resorts work on the slopes of the Rockies Mountains, trails for snowmobiles are laid.
There are 9 national parks.
In 1984, 4 Canadian Parks are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List:
- Created in 1885 Banff Park the most visited by tourists who come here for hiking along the Corey pass trail trail, mountaineering, visits to hot springs;
- Kuteny Park with an area of 1.4 thousand km2was founded in 1920. To preserve the pums living here, Grizzly bears, wolves, snow rams, deer, other animals and numerous bird species;
- Little Park Jocho, within which there are 1.3 thousand km2, Takakko Waterfall, Canyons and Caves are located;
- Jasper Park, which occupies an area of 10.8 thousand km2on the eastern slopes of the mountains. From natural attractions, tourists are often visited by the Atabaska Glacier and Lake Maelin.
In the US, the National Park of Yellowstone is enjoyed in the Rocky Mountains. More than 2 thousand flora species grows in the biosphere reserve, hundreds of species of animals, birds and fish.
Most of the Yellowstone Park is covered with forests. The steppes occupy a small territory of the biosphere reserve. At its borders is one of the five-famous geysers in the world with 3,000 thermal sources.
2/3 in the world of geysers operating in the world are concentrated in the park. The most famous of them are the "steamer" and "old servant" geysers, the height of the jet of which rises to 45 m.
Gleisher National Park in Montana occupies a territory of 4 thousand km2, which is about 130 lakes. In the borders of the park 320 historical and cultural facilities, of which the most famous road is the Going-to-The-Sun Road.
The park is legally protected by thousands of native plant species and large animals:
- Canadian lynx;
- mountain goats and moose.
Together with Waterton Lakes Canada, it forms the first international wildlife conservation park, Waterton Glacier.
US protected areas in the Rocky Mountains also include:
- 1,300 km Grand Teton Park2in Montana;
- Rocky Mountain Park with an area of 1.1 thousand km2;
- Great Sand Dunes Park with an area of 0.6 thousand km2;
- a recreation area in the state of Idaho Sotut with an area of 2.9 thousand km2;
- Flathead Lake in Montana, the largest freshwater body of water west of the Rocky Mountains.
High tourist and mining activity in the Rocky Mountains poses a threat to the pristine nature of the region. A developed network of national parks and protected areas is called upon to partially compensate for the anthropogenic impact on the environment and preserve the biodiversity of the flora and fauna of the Rocky Mountains.
Interesting facts about the Rocky Mountains of North America
The vast territory of the Rocky Mountains covers a huge variety of natural objects, interesting events are associated with the history of the study of which:
- The highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains, Elbert and Mount Massif are located close to each other. The difference between them in height is only 3.7 m. This circumstance caused fierce disputes among the inhabitants of the surrounding towns. To prove their case, Mount Massif supporters periodically built artificial piles of stones on top of it, and Mount Elbert fans regularly dismantled them.
- The Rocky Mountains on the map are crossed by the legendary Oregon Trail, which played a significant role in the development of the Wild West. For the first half of the XIX century. tens of thousands of settlers passed through it, heading from the Missouri River valley to the Pacific coast. The length of the trail is 3,200 km. With the completion of the construction of the Pacific Railroad in 1869, it lost its significance.
- The Athabasca Glacier in Canada is unique in its accessibility to unprepared tourists. They are delivered to the top point by specially designed off-road vehicles. There is also an unusual natural monument within the boundaries of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. These are majestic sand dunes up to 250 m high.
- Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks are connected by a narrow strip of land 16 km long called the D. D. Rockefeller Memorial Walk. A plot of land with an area of 9.7 thousand hectares was purchased by a millionaire in order to create a protected natural area.
- The forests of the Rocky Mountains contain the largest moose population in North America. The main danger for tourists in the region is the encounter with grizzlies and ticks carrying spotted fever.
- Settled in the Rocky Mountains from the eastern regions of the United States and Canada created their own culinary tradition. A distinctive feature of the local cuisine is dishes made from meat of bison, elk, caribou, cooked on the grill, spit and in other ways. The region's exotic dishes include "steppe oysters" made from bull testicles.
- There are several ghost towns within the Rocky Mountains. They were built in the 19th century. miners and gold prospectors. Abandoned and abandoned mines are also among the man-made sights of the mountains, which at the same time pose a danger to tourists.
The diversity of the Rocky Mountains' natural monuments is shown in detail on the sightseeing map of the vast region.
From the end of the XIX century. in the USA and Canada, there are excellent conditions for outdoor activities and educational tourism. A stay in the Rocky Mountains is a great opportunity to get acquainted with an unusual geological area, characterized by a variety of landforms and learn more about the material and spiritual culture of the Indians and the first European settlers.
Hundreds of thousands of people are interested in traveling along the historical tracks of settlers from the era of the development of the Far West, doing speleology and mountain sports, and rafting along numerous rivers.
World Tour: Rocky Mountains: