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Posts tagged Pacific Coast Ranges

Pacific Coast Ranges Crossing from USA into Canada

47.9N 123W

May 6th, 2013 Category: Mountains

USA – May 5th, 2013

The Pacific Coast Ranges (in Canada) and the Pacific Mountain System (in the United States) are the series of mountain ranges that stretch along the West Coast of North America from Alaska south to Northern and Central Mexico. Both the Canadian and United States portions are often referred to as Pacific Coast Ranges.

The Pacific Coast Ranges are part of the North American Cordillera, which includes the Rocky Mountains, Columbia Mountains, Interior Mountains, the Interior Plateau, Sierra Nevada Mountains, the Great Basin mountain ranges, and other ranges and various plateaus and basins. The Pacific Coast Ranges designation, however, only applies to the Western System of the Western Cordillera, which comprises the Saint Elias Mountains, Coast Mountains, Insular Mountains, Olympic Mountains, Cascade Range, Oregon Coast Range, California Coast Ranges, Transverse Ranges, Peninsular Ranges, and the Sierra Madre Occidental.

The character of the ranges varies considerably, from the record-setting tidewater glaciers in the ranges of Alaska, to the rugged Central and Southern California ranges, the Transverse Ranges and Peninsular Ranges, in the chaparral and woodlands ecoregion with Oak Woodland, Chaparral shrub forest or Coastal sage scrub-covering them.

The coastline often drops steeply into the sea. Along the British Columbia and Alaska coast, the mountains intermix with the sea in a complex maze of fjords, with thousands of islands. There are coastal plains at the mouths of rivers that have punched through the mountains spreading sediments, most notably at the Copper River in Alaska, the Fraser River in British Columbia, and the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon. In California, sediments are spread by the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers into the San Francisco Bay, by the Santa Clara River to Oxnard Plain (home to some of the most fertile soil in the world), and by the Los Angeles, San Gabriel, and Santa Ana Rivers to the Los Angeles Basin – a coastal sediment-filled plain between the peninsular and transverse ranges with sediment in the basin up to 6 miles (10 km) deep.

From the vicinity of San Francisco Bay north, it is common in winter for cool unstable air masses from the Gulf of Alaska to make landfall in one of the Coast Ranges, resulting in heavy precipitation, both as rain and snow, especially on their western slopes. The same Winter weather occurs with less frequency and precipitation in Southern California, with the mountains’ western faces and peaks causing an eastward rainshadow that produces the arid desert regions.

Climate Change and Glaciers of Olympic Mountains, USA – April 1st, 2013

47.9N 124W

April 1st, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Image of the day, Mountains

USA and Canada – March 30th, 2013

Snow rests atop mountain ranges in Washington State, USA (below), and British Columbia (upper left) and Alberta (upper right), Canada. Visible as a circular area of snow near the coast are the Olympic Mountains, a mountain range on the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington.

The mountains, part of the Pacific Coast Ranges, are not especially high РMount Olympus is the highest at 7,962 ft (2,427 m); however, the eastern slopes rise out of Puget Sound and the western slopes are separated from the Pacific Ocean by the 20 to 35 km (12 to 22 mi) wide Pacific Ocean coastal plain. There are glaciers within the range; however, they have shrunk rapidly in just decades, stark evidence of the ongoing impact of human-driven climate change.

Salish Sea and Pacific Coast Ranges on Canada-USA Border

48.3N 123.3W

June 19th, 2012 Category: Mountains

USA and Canada - May 15th, 2012

The Salish Sea, visible in the upper left quadrant, is the intricate network of coastal waterways located between the south-western tip of the Canadian province of British Columbia, and the north-western tip the U.S. state of Washington. Its major bodies of water are the Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound. The inland waterways of the Salish Sea are partially separated from the open Pacific Ocean (a pelagic zone) by Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula. The latter is located in the state of Washington on the southern shores of the sea. The snow-capped mountains there are known as the Olympic Mountains and are part of the Pacific Coast Ranges.

California’s Central Valley Parallel to the Pacific Coast, USA – June 10th, 2010

40.6N 122.3W

June 10th, 2010 Category: Image of the day, Mountains, Rivers

USA - June 1st, 2010

USA - June 1st, 2010

Central Valley, also known as the Great Central Valley, is located in California, USA. Extending from Shasta county in the north to Kern county in the south, it covers about 18,000 square miles (47,000 square km) and parallels the Pacific coast for about 450 miles (725 km).

Averaging about 40 miles (65 km) in width, it is almost totally enclosed by mountains, including the Klamath Mountains (north), Sierra Nevada (east), Tehachapi Mountains (south), and Pacific Coast Ranges (west). The Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers, which run through the Central Valley, are fed mainly by the abundant rains and melting snows of the Sierra Nevada.

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