The Rocky Mountains are a vast range of fold mountains in western North America with individual volcanoes . The mountains extend, depending on the definition, about 4500-5000 km from Mexico through the continental United States to Canada and Alaska and are one of the major geographical provinces of the United States.
Besides the actual Rocky Mountains in western Canada and the U.S. states of Montana , Idaho , Wyoming , Colorado and New Mexico are among several mountain ranges in Alaska and Yukon – including the Alaskakette , the Brooks Range and the Elias chain – and the Columbia Mountains to the Canadian Pacific Coast to do so. Partly also be the Sierra Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental to be counted in the contiguous USA and Mexico, and occasionally even the Transverse Volcanic Sierra and Sierra Madre del Sur in southern Mexico. Not belong to the Rocky Mountains, the Coast Mountains , the Cascade Range and the Sierra Nevada.
The highest mountain is Mount McKinley in Alaska with 6194 m , followed by Mount Logan in Canada, with 5959 meters . Mount Elbert in Colorado is 4401 m the highest mountain in the Rocky Mountains proper. The Rocky Mountains are part of the Tierra del Fuego to Alaska reaching Cordillera . It is home to major national parks such as Yellowstone National Park and various winter sports centers . They are also rich in mineral resources. The region of the Rocky Mountains located in the U.S. states is Mountain States called.
600-700 million years ago had been produced in North America, huge mountains, but were removed in the next 400 million years ago, almost completely restored. Only a few rock masses in the south date back to bygone times.
Today’s Rocky Mountains emerged largely during the geologists as lara mix orogeny mentioned time period, which began about 70 million years ago and ended about 30-40 million years ago. After the mountains were about as high as the Himalayas today, began in parts of North America west to stretch and great crust in the southwest part of the mountain plateau were subject to a strong expansion process, which could leave them in mountain ranges, plateaus and valleys. This area is now a Basin and Range Province and includes the desert called Great Basin and adjacent regions.
Between the late Pleistocene and Holocene (70000-11000 years ago), the Rocky Mountains were glaciated to a large extent.
The Rocky Mountains consist largely of metamorphic – and igneous rocks . At the edges of the southern Rocky Mountains is a younger sedimentary rocks found in the San Juan Mountains and in other areas sometimes volcanogenic rocks of the Tertiary .
The width (east-west extension) of the mountain ranges varies greatly. The widest of the Rocky Mountains are in the U.S. state of Colorado with 500-600 km. From the Yellowstone area to the north, they split into several mountain ranges, some with small widths of 50-120 km.
On average, the Rocky Mountains, 2000-3000 feet high. The highest peaks of the Rocky Mountains are found in the north. From Glacier National Park to the north, they are increasingly glaciated. Also in the northern half are found partially extended plateaus – the largest is the Great Divide Basin – bounded by parallel mountain ranges. In the southern part of the mountain forms usually have more rounded forms of erosion.
In the area of Yellowstone National Park, the crust is thinned sometimes very strong and magmatic interspersed. How to find there thousands of volcanogenic objects as geysers and hot springs .
n the Rocky Mountains often prevails west wind, which drives up the clouds from the Pacific Ocean and rain down on them and they can accumulate. This is for the Pacific coast than average rainfall and the effect of the underlying Great Plains drought. The weather in the Rocky Mountains is usually cloud-covered itself accordingly. An exception is the Yellowstone area, where there may be several weeks of fair weather periods.
The climate of the Rocky Mountains, is typical of the highlands. The average temperature is around 6 ° C. At 28 ° C July the hottest month of January with -14 ° C, the coldest. The annual rainfall is estimated cm at 36th
The summers in the Rocky Mountains are at 15 ° C and 15 cm of precipitation warm and dry. In July it sensed an average of 18 hours. Especially in August, thunderstorms often lead to forest fires.
The winter is very cold and wet at -2 ° C and 29 cm of precipitation. Snow layers from five to six meters are not uncommon, even in the north it can be 15-18 meters. However, sometimes penetrate in winter warm air masses from the Pacific inland. This wind is Chinook named and can cause sudden increases in temperature of 20-25 ° C.
For several years now, the dying forests in the entire Rocky Mountains frightening proportions. This is caused by a massive proliferation of pests that benefit from the milder climate. Especially conifers are affected by the mountain pine beetle are attacked. This kills the trees but not drags but a fungus that prevents the upward transport of water, so dry the trees. For felled trees can be clearly seen between the bright core of the wood and bark, the fungus destroyed by the dark areas of tissue. It is believed that 90 to 95% of all conifer stock in the coming years could be destroyed. In Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) at the campsites were already removed the dead trees for safety reasons, so that there are pioneer plants ( fireweed , thistles, but also true wild roses) spread. This attracts as moose and elk in the immediate vicinity of the tourists.
Due to huge areas and the known dangers of pesticides on the ecosystem are no countermeasures are taken. Due to the destruction of forests is very much dead wood on that would be really suitable for further use (eg as a raw material of paper), but largely lacks the processing capacity. It is feared that in the coming years with hot summers at the local but also regional level through large areas of forest fires are destroyed. As has been built directly into many regions of valuable real estate in the woods, will this impact on infrastructure and tourism are very negative.