The American Cordillera is a chain of mountain ranges (cordilleras) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, South America and West Antarctica. It is also the backbone of the volcanic arc that forms the eastern half of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
From north to south, this sequence of overlapping and parallel ranges begins with the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range in Alaska and runs through the Yukon into British Columbia. The main belt of the Rocky Mountains along with the parallel Columbia Mountains and Coast Ranges of mountains and islands continue through British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In the United States, the Cordillera branches include the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and various small Pacific coastal ranges. In Mexico, the Cordillera continues through the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental, as well as the backbone mountains of the Baja California peninsula.
The ranges of the Cordillera from Mexico northwards are collectively called the North American Cordillera. Other terms for the North American Cordillera are "Western Cordillera of North America", in the United States and Canada, and the "Canadian Cordillera" (or Pacific Cordillera) in Canada.
The Cordillera continues on through the mountain ranges of Central America in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and becomes the Andes Mountains of South America. The Andes with their parallel chains and the island chains off the coast of Chile continue through Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile to the very tip of South America at Tierra del Fuego. The Cordillera continues along the Scotia Arc before reaching the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula.
The Alaska Range is a relatively narrow, 400-mile-long (650 km) mountain range in the southcentral region of the U.S. state of Alaska, from Lake Clark at its southwest end to the White River in Canada's Yukon Territory in the southeast. The highest mountain in North America, Denali, is in the Alaska Range. It is part of the American Cordillera.
The range is the highest in the world outside Asia and the Andes.Cascade Range
The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. It includes both non-volcanic mountains, such as the North Cascades, and the notable volcanoes known as the High Cascades. The small part of the range in British Columbia is referred to as the Canadian Cascades or, locally, as the Cascade Mountains. The latter term is also sometimes used by Washington residents to refer to the Washington section of the Cascades in addition to North Cascades, the more usual U.S. term, as in North Cascades National Park. The highest peak in the range is Mount Rainier in Washington at 14,411 feet (4,392 m).
The Cascades are part of the Pacific Ocean's Ring of Fire, the ring of volcanoes and associated mountains around the Pacific Ocean. All of the eruptions in the contiguous United States over the last 200 years have been from Cascade volcanoes. The two most recent were Lassen Peak from 1914 to 1921 and a major eruption of Mount St. Helens in 1980. Minor eruptions of Mount St. Helens have also occurred since, most recently from 2004 to 2008. The Cascade Range is a part of the American Cordillera, a nearly continuous chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.Cordillera Occidental (Central Andes)
The Cordillera Occidental or Western Cordillera of Bolivia is part of the Andes (that is also part of the American Cordillera), a mountain range characterized by volcanic activity, making up the natural border with Chile and starting in the north with Juqhuri and ending in the south at the Licancabur volcano, which is on the southern limit of Bolivia with Chile. The border goes through the innominated point located at two thirds of elevation of Licancabur's northeastern slope at the southwestermost point of Bolivia at 22° 49' 41" south and 67° 52' 35" west. The climate of the region is cold and inadequate for animal and plant life. Its main feature is its ground, in which are large quantities of metallic minerals including gold, silver, copper, and others. The range consists of three sections:
The northern section, in which you can find the highest peaks in Bolivia, the tallest of which is the volcano Sajama at 6,542 meters. Sajama is perennially covered in snow. It contains the volcanoes Pomerape and Parinacota (called Payachata collectively) the latter being a dormant volcano with a cone of snow similar to Mount Fuji in Japan.
The central section, situated between Uyuni and Coipasa. Its most prominent summit is the Ollagüe (Ullawi) volcano on the border with Chile.
The southern section, characterized by volcanic activity and by having sandstorms and fog, taking into account Licancabur, which is 5,920 meters high (but only two thirds of the northeastern slope of the volcano belong to Bolivia up to 5415 meters). The lakes Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde can be found on Licancabur, so named because of their respective colors.Farallon Plate
The Farallon Plate was an ancient oceanic plate that began subducting under the west coast of the North American Plate—then located in modern Utah—as Pangaea broke apart during the Jurassic period. It is named for the Farallon Islands, which are located just west of San Francisco, California.
Over time, the central part of the Farallon Plate was completely subducted under the southwestern part of the North American Plate. The remains of the Farallon Plate are the Juan de Fuca, Explorer and Gorda Plates, subducting under the northern part of the North American Plate; the Cocos Plate subducting under Central America; and the Nazca Plate subducting under the South American Plate.The Farallon Plate is also responsible for transporting old island arcs and various fragments of continental crustal material rifted off from other distant plates and accreting them to the North American Plate.
These fragments from elsewhere are called terranes (sometimes, "exotic" terranes). Much of western North America is composed of these accreted terranes.Flysch
Flysch () is a sequence of sedimentary rock layers that progress from deep-water and turbidity flow deposits to shallow-water shales and sandstones. It is deposited when a deep basin forms rapidly on the continental side of a mountain building episode. Examples are found near the North American Cordillera, the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Carpathians.Geology of North America
The geology of North America is a subject of regional geology and covers the North American continent, third-largest in the world. Geologic units and processes are investigated on a large scale to reach a synthesized picture of the geological development of the continent.
The divisions of regional geology are drawn in different ways, but are usually outlined by a common geologic history, geographic vicinity or political boundaries. The regional geology of North America usually encompasses the geographic regions of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, the continental United States, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean. The parts of the North American Plate that are not occupied by North American countries are usually not discussed as part of the regional geology. The regions that are not geographically North American but reside on the North American Plate include parts of Siberia (see the Geology of Russia), and Iceland, and Bermuda. A discussion of North American geology can also include other continental plates including the Cocos and Juan de Fuca plates being subducted beneath western North America. A portion of the Pacific Plate underlies Baja California and part of California west of the San Andreas Fault.Graham Land
Graham Land is the portion of the Antarctic Peninsula that lies north of a line joining Cape Jeremy and Cape Agassiz. This description of Graham Land is consistent with the 1964 agreement between the British Antarctic Place-names Committee and the US Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names, in which the name "Antarctic Peninsula" was approved for the major peninsula of Antarctica, and the names Graham Land and Palmer Land for the northern and southern portions, respectively. The line dividing them is roughly 69 degrees south.
Graham Land is named after Sir James R. G. Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty at the time of John Biscoe's exploration of the west side of Graham Land in 1832. It is claimed by Argentina (as part of Argentine Antarctica), Britain (as part of the British Antarctic Territory) and Chile (as part of the Chilean Antarctic Territory).
Graham Land is the closest part of Antarctica to South America. Thus it is the usual destination for small ships taking paying visitors on Antarctic trips from South America. (Larger ships are not allowed to disembark passengers.)
Until the discoveries of the British Graham Land Expedition of 1934–1937, it was generally supposed to be an archipelago rather than a peninsula. The mountains of Graham Land are the last range of the American Cordillera, the almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges forming the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and the Antarctic Peninsula.Klamath Mountains
The Klamath Mountains are a rugged and lightly populated mountain range in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon in the western United States. They have a varied geology, with substantial areas of serpentinite and marble, and a climate characterized by moderately cold winters with very heavy snowfall and warm, very dry summers with limited rainfall, especially in the south. As a consequence of the geology and soil types, the mountains harbor several endemic or near-endemic trees, forming one of the largest collections of conifers in the world. The mountains are also home to a diverse array of fish and animal species, including black bears, large cats, owls, eagles, and several species of Pacific salmon. Millions of acres in the mountains are managed by the United States Forest Service. The northernmost and largest sub-range of the Klamath Mountains are the Siskiyou Mountains.Laramie Mountains
The Laramie Mountains are a range of moderately high peaks on the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains in the U.S states of Wyoming and Colorado. The range is the northernmost extension of the line of the ranges along the eastern side of the Rockies, and in particular of the higher peaks of the Front Range directly to the south. North of the range, the gap between the Laramie range and the Bighorn Mountains provided the route for historical trails, such as the Oregon Trail, the Mormon Trail, and the Pony Express.
The Laramie Mountains begin in northern Colorado and extend discontinuously into southeastern Wyoming between Cheyenne and Laramie and northward to Casper. (By some definitions the Laramies are only in Wyoming.) They are named after the Laramie River, which cuts through the range from southwest to northeast and joins the North Platte River east of the range in eastern Wyoming. The mountains in turn give their name to the Laramide orogeny, the uplift of the North American Plate approximately 70 million years ago that created the present Rocky Mountains.
The highest portions of the Laramie mountains are mostly in public ownership, forming part of the Medicine Bow-Routt and Roosevelt national forests.List of mountain ranges
This is a list of mountain ranges on Earth and a few other astronomical bodies. First, the highest and longest mountain ranges on Earth are listed, followed by more comprehensive alphabetical lists organized by continent. Ranges in the oceans and on other celestial bodies are listed afterwards.Maria fold and thrust belt
The Maria fold and thrust belt (MFTB) is a portion of the North American Cordillera orogen in which geological structures accommodate roughly north–south to northwest-southeast vergent Mesozoic age crustal shortening. This lies in contrast to the remainder of the Cordillera, in which shortening is predominantly east–west. Structures associated with the Maria Fold and Thrust Belt are exposed in a series of mountain ranges in southeastern California and western Arizona. Many of the deep structures of the MFTB have been exposed due to east–west to northeast-southwest Cenozoic age extension and unroofing.
In some parts of this fold-and-thrust-belt region, the extension resulted in the emplacement of metamorphic core complexes, the 'type example' of which is defined by the Whipple Mountains in southeastern California.North American Cordillera
The North American Cordillera is the North American portion of the American Cordillera which is a mountain chain (cordillera) along the western side of the Americas. The North American Cordillera covers an extensive area of mountain ranges, intermontane basins, and plateaus in western North America, including much of the territory west of the Great Plains. 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.Ogilvie Mountains
The Ogilvie Mountains are a mountain range in the Yukon Territory of northwestern Canada.
Geologically they are part of the Yukon Ranges, in the upper Laramide Belt of the North American Cordillera.Pacific Coast Ranges
The Pacific Coast Ranges (officially gazetted as the Pacific Mountain System in the United States but referred to as the Pacific Coast Ranges), are the series of mountain ranges that stretch along the West Coast of North America from Alaska south to Northern and Central Mexico.
The Pacific Coast Ranges are part of the North American Cordillera (sometimes known as the Western Cordillera, or in Canada, as the Pacific Cordillera and/or the Canadian 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.Riverside Mountains
The Riverside Mountains are a mountain range in Riverside County, California. The town of Vidal, California is located in the West Riverside Mountains.Sierra Madre Occidental
The Sierra Madre Occidental is a major mountain range system of the North American Cordillera, that runs northwest–southeast through northwestern and western Mexico, and along the Gulf of California. The Sierra Madre is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western 'backbone' of North America, Central America, South America and West Antarctica.Sierra Madre Oriental
The Sierra Madre Oriental (Spanish [ˈsjera ˈmaðɾe oɾjenˈtal] ) is a mountain range in northeastern Mexico. The Sierra Madre Oriental is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.Sierra Madre de Chiapas
The Sierra Madre de Chiapas (as known in Mexico, with regional names in other countries) is a major mountain range in Central America. The Sierra Madre de Chiapas is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, and South America.Sierra Madre del Sur
The Sierra Madre del Sur is a mountain range in southern Mexico, extending 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from southern Michoacán east through Guerrero, to the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in eastern Oaxaca.