Coast Ranges

Coast Ranges

Coast Ranges, series of mountain ranges along the Pacific coast of North America, extending from SE Alaska to Baja California; from 2,000 to 20,000 ft (610-6,100 m) high. The ranges include the St. Elias Mts. in SE Alaska and SW Yukon, which have the highest elevations; a partially submerged portion that forms the islands off the coast of SE Alaska and British Columbia; the Olympic Mts. in Washington; the Coast Ranges in Oregon; the Klamath Mts., Coast Ranges, and Los Angeles Ranges in California; and the Peninsular Range in Baja California. The Coast Ranges are rugged, geologically young mountains formed by faulting and folding and are composed mainly of granitic rock; the northern third is glaciated. N of San Francisco the ranges are humid and thickly forested; the southern parts are dry and covered with brush and grass. Lumbering, mining, and tourism are important.
The Pacific Coast Ranges are the series of mountain ranges that stretch along the west coast of North America from Alaska to northern and central Mexico. They are also known as the Pacific Cordillera, especially in Canada, where this term also includes the Rocky and Columbia Mountains and other ranges.

The character of the ranges varies considerably, from the record-setting tidewater glaciers in the ranges of Alaska, to the low but rugged and scrub-covered hills of southern California, but the entire coast is consistent in dropping steeply into the sea, often resulting in photogenic views. Along the British Columbia and Alaska coast, the mountains intermix with the sea in a complex maze of fjords, with thousands of islands.

There is a handful of small coastal plains at the mouths of rivers that have punched through the mountains, most notably at the Copper River in Alaska, the Fraser River in British Columbia, the Columbia River between Washington and Oregon, and the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers in California, which create San Francisco Bay.

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.

Omitted from the list below, but often included is the Sierra Nevada, a major mountain range of eastern California that is separated by the Central Valley over much of its length from the California Coast Ranges and the Transverse Ranges.

Major ranges

These are the members of the Pacific Coast Ranges, from north to south:

Major icefields

These are not named as ranges, but amount to the same thing. The Pacific Coast Ranges are home to the largest temperate-latitude icefields in the world.

Only the largest icefields are listed above; smaller icefields may be listed on the various range pages. Formally unnamed icefields are not listed

See also

References

External links

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