The Rocky Mountains reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
(provided by Fixed Reference: snapshots of Wikipedia from wikipedia.org)

Rocky Mountains

Watch child sponsorship videos
Rocky Mountain National Park (photo courtesy NPS)Enlarge

Rocky Mountain National Park (photo courtesy NPS)

The Rocky Mountains, often called the Rockies, are a broad mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 3000 miles (4800 km) from Mexico, through the continental United States, into Canada and Alaska. The highest peak is Mount Elbert, in Colorado, which is 14,433 feet (4399 m) above sea level. Mount Robson (12,972 feet/3954 m) is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies. The Rocky Mountain System is a United States physiographic region.

Table of contents
1 Geography and geology
2 Tourism and Industry
3 Climate
4 External links

Geography and geology

Snowpack accumulation at 14,255 ft. on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park (photo courtesy USDA)Enlarge

Snowpack accumulation at 14,255 ft. on Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park (photo courtesy USDA)

The Rocky Mountains were created during what geologists call the Laramide orogeny during a period that started 70 million years ago and ended 30 million years ago. After the mountains were raised nearly as high as what the Himalayas are today, then part of western North America started to stretch and much of the south western part of the high mountain plateau started to get broken up into horsts (ranges) with grabens (basins) in between them. This area is now called the Basin and Range Province.

On July 24, 1832, Benjamin Bonneville led the first wagon train across the Rocky Mountains by using Wyoming's South Pass.

The rivers that flow from the Rocky Mountains eventually drain into three of the world's five Oceans: the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Arctic Ocean. These rivers include:

Tourism and Industry

Snowmelt runoff fills a reservoir in the Rocky Mountains near Dillon, ColoradoEnlarge

Snowmelt runoff fills a reservoir in the Rocky Mountains near Dillon, Colorado

The population is not very dense in the Rocky Mountains, with an average of four people per square kilometer and there are few cities with over 50,000 people. Although the Rockies are not the most populated area in North America, it is considered a popular tourist destination by many Americans. People from all over the country visit the beautiful sights or do their mountain sport. In the summer, main tourism attractions are Pikes Peak, Royal Gorge, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and Glacier National Park (U.S.). In the winter, skiing is the main attraction. The major ski resorts are Aspen, Vail, Keystone, Breckenridge, and Copper Mountain in Colorado; Alta and Snowbird in Utah; Sun Valley in Idaho; Big Mountain and Big Sky in Montana; Lake Louise and Sunshine Village in Alberta; and Fernie in British Columbia. (The adjacent Columbia Mountains in British Columbia and Idaho contain major resorts such as Schweitzer, Panorama and Kicking Horse.)

The main language is English. The two major commercial activities are mining and of course tourism. A major mine, Climax, located in Leadville, Colorado, is the largest producer of Molybdenum in the world. Molybdenum is used as a heat-resistant steel in such things like cars and planes. The Climax mine employs over 3,000 workers. The Coeur d’Alene mine of northern Idaho produces silver, lead, and zinc. Canada's largest coal mines are in the Crowsnest Coal Field near Sparwood, British Columbia and Elkford, British Columbia; additional coal mines exist near Hinton, Alberta.

Climate

The Rocky Mountains has a highland climate. The average temperature in the Rockies per year is 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 82 degrees Fahrenheit (28 degrees Celsius). In January, the average monthly temperature is 7 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees below zero Celsius), making it the coldest month in the Rockies. The average precipitation per year is approximately 14 inches (36 cm).

The summers in the Rockies are warm and dry. The average temperature in summer is 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius) and the average precipitation is 5.9 inches (15 cm). In the winter, it is very cold and wet, with an average temperature of 28 degrees Fahrenheit (-2 degrees Celsius) and average rainfall of 11.4 inches (29 cm). In spring, the average temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4 degrees Celsius) and the average precipitation is 4.2 inches (11 cm). And in the fall, the average precipitation is 2.6 inches (7 cm) and the average temperature is 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).

External links