White Mountains (California)
The White Mountains of California and Nevada are a triangular fault-block mountain range facing the Sierra Nevada across the upper Owens Valley. They extend for 60 mi as a elevated plateau about 20 mi wide on the south, narrowing to a point at the north, with elevations increasing south to north; the range's broad southern end is near the community of Big Pine, where Westgard Pass and Deep Springs Valley separate it from the Inyo Mountains. The narrow northern end is at Montgomery Pass, where U. S. Route 6 crosses; the Fish Lake Valley lies east of the range. The range lies within the eastern section of the Inyo National Forest. Ecologically, the White Mountains are like the other ranges in the Range Province. Middle slopes from 6,500 to 8,200 ft have somewhat denser stands of Utah juniper; these upper and lower conifer zones are separated by a zone of mountain mahogany brush. Various subspecies of sagebrush extend from surrounding valleys to the lower alpine zone. A bristlecone pine in the southern part of the range is the oldest known living tree in the world, at 5063 years old.
Pine nuts from piñon pine stands were harvested as a winter staple food by Paiute Indians whose descendants still live in adjacent valleys. The White Mountains have small remnant groves of lodgepole pine, Jeffrey pine, ponderosa pine, Sierra juniper and aspen including an unusual dwarf variety; these species are common in the nearby and wetter Sierra Nevada range west of the Owens Valley and must have been more widespread in the White Mountains until Holocene droughts extirpated them in most of this drier range. A number of plant species are endemic to the White Mountains, including the White Mountains horkelia, Horkelia hispidula. Fauna include two herds of bighorn sheep, mule deer and feral horses. Permanent streams have no native fish, but there are naturalized populations of trout including rare Paiute cutthroat trout, protected from angling. Birds include Clark's nutcracker and other Corvidae which cache pine nuts. Cattle from ranches in surrounding valleys are still grazed under permit as high as the alpine zone.
Sheep were grazed in large numbers, introducing diseases from which the native Bighorn Sheep populations are still recovering. Before European colonization of surrounding valleys in the mid 19th century, Paiute Indians occupied summer hunting camps up to about 13,100 ft, leaving ruins of archeological interest; the highest point in the range is White Mountain Peak, which at 14,252 ft is the third-highest summit in California. This peak is an extinct volcano rising about 1,600 ft above the plateau surface; the summit is composed of Mesozoic metavolcanic rock – lava lifted and melted by rising granite. The volcano itself is long since gone; the White Mountains are the highest range inside the Great Basin, although the adjacent Sierra Nevada Range along the basin's western edge has two higher summits. The entire range is within the Inyo National Forest. A four-wheel drive road reaches the summit of White Mountain Peak from the south to service the summit laboratory of the White Mountain Research Station.
The road is gated seven miles from the summit at an elevation of 11,680 ft, making this California's easiest 14,000 ft summit. North of White Mountain Peak, two sharp arêtes alternate along the crest with the broad "whalebacks" plateau of Pellisier Flats with about six more summits over 13,000 ft. Pellisier Flats is a wide sloping bench at the 13000 foot level with rocky fields and short alpine vegetation; the bench includes Mt. Hogue at 12,743 ft. and further north Mt. Dubois at 13,559 ft. the high point on the plateau. Pellisier Flats is the broad spine of the White Mountains; the crest crosses the California–Nevada state line just south of a final high summit Boundary Peak 13,147 ft, Nevada's high point. Boundary Peak is the "prow" of the triangular fault block, it has views directly down into valleys to the west and east that are hidden by the increasing width of the high plateau to the south. North of Boundary Peak the range loses altitude and ends at Montgomery Pass; the west face of the White Mountains rises steeply out of Owens Valley.
Climbing to any summit from this direction is a scramble with about 8,000 ft elevation gain. Eastern slopes are somewhat gentler and have numerous cirques left by Pleistocene glaciers and a few snowfields persisting through most summers. Most of these cirques are entered or approached by jeep roads and offer scenic yet non-technical routes to the crest. Peakbagger info about the range White Mountain Peak climbing info White Mountain Research Station homepage Traverse of White Mountains crest Another traverse Proposed wilderness area under Boxer-Solis California Wild Heritage Act of 2006
The term bristlecone pine covers three species of pine tree. All three species are long-lived and resilient to harsh weather and bad soils. One of the three species, Pinus longaeva, is among the longest-lived life forms on Earth; the oldest Pinus longaeva is more than 5,000 years old, making it the oldest known individual of any species. Despite their potential age and low reproductive rate, bristlecone pines Pinus longaeva, are a first-succession species, tending to occupy new open ground, they compete poorly in less-than-harsh environments, making them hard to cultivate. In gardens, they succumb to root rot, they do well, where most other plants cannot grow, such as in rocky dolomitic soils in areas with no rainfall. Bristlecone pines grow in scattered subalpine groves at high altitude in arid regions of the Western United States; the name comes from the prickles on the female cones. There are three related species of bristlecone pines: Great Basin bristlecone pine in Utah and eastern California.
The famous longest-lived species. Rocky Mountain bristlecone pine in New Mexico and Arizona; the most populous species. Foxtail pine with two disjunct populations found in the Klamath Mountains and the southern Sierra Nevada. A small outlying population was reported in southern Oregon, but was proven to have been misidentified. Forms the thickest groves of the three. At least some of the three species can hybridize in cultivation, but the ranges of wild populations do not overlap; the Colorado River and Green River produce a 160-mile gap between the ranges of P. longaeva and P. aristata and the northern Owens Valley provides a 20-mile gap between the ranges of P. longaeva and P. balfouriana. Bristlecone pines grow in isolated groves just below the tree line, between 5,600 and 11,200 ft elevation on dolomitic soils; the trees grow in soils that are shallow lithosols derived from dolomite and sometimes limestone, sandstone or quartzite soils. Dolomite soils are alkaline, high in calcium and magnesium, low in phosphorus.
Those factors tend to exclude other plant species. Because of cold temperatures, dry soils, high winds, short growing seasons, the trees grow slowly; the tree's needles, which grow in bunches of five, can remain on the tree for forty years, which gives the tree's terminal branches the unique appearance of a long bottle brush. The bristlecone pine's root system is composed of branched, shallow roots, while a few large, branching roots provide structural support; the bristlecone pine is drought tolerant due to its branched shallow root system, its waxy needles, thick needle cuticles that aid in water retention. The wood is dense and resinous, thus resistant to invasion by insects and other potential pests; the tree's longevity is due in part to the wood's extreme durability. While other species of trees that grow nearby suffer rot, bare bristlecone pines can endure after death still standing on their roots, for many centuries. Rather than rot, exposed wood, on living and dead trees, erodes like stone due to wind and freezing, which creates unusual forms and shapes.
The bristlecone pine has an intrinsically low rate of reproduction and regeneration, it is thought that under present climatic and environmental conditions the rate of regeneration may be insufficient to sustain its population. The species are on the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list; the species are labeled under Least Concern, the justification for this being that no subpopulations for Great Basin bristlecone pines are decreasing. Subpopulations seem to be remaining stable. Many bristlecone pine habitats have been protected, including the Inyo National Forest's Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains of California and the Great Basin National Park in Nevada, where cutting or gathering wood is prohibited; the green pine needles give the twisted branches a bottle-brush appearance. The needles of the tree surround the branch an extent of about one foot near the tip of the limb; the name bristlecone pine refers to the dark purple female cones that bear incurved prickles on their surface.
The dark color of these cones help to absorb heat. After maturity, which takes about two years, the cones will become brown in color; these ancient trees have a gnarled and stunted appearance those found at high altitudes, have reddish-brown bark with deep fissures. As the tree ages, much of its vascular cambium layer may die. In old specimens only a narrow strip of living tissue connects the roots to a handful of live branches. Though the trees' needles may age, they still remain functional in regulating water and by their ability to photosynthesize. Bristlecone pines are known for attaining great ages. A specimen of Pinus longaeva located in the White Mountains of California is 5,068 years old—the oldest known individual tree in the world—according to measurements by Tom Harlan; the identity of the specimen is being kept secret by Harlan. Another well-known bristlecone pine in the White Mountains is Methuselah, 4,850 years old; the specific location of Methuselah is a secret. The other two species, Pinus balfouriana and Pinus aristata, are long-lived, though not to the extreme extent of P. longaeva.
The Rocky Mountains known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west; the Rocky Mountains formed 80 million to 55 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny, in which a number of plates began sliding underneath the North American plate. The angle of subduction was shallow, resulting in a broad belt of mountains running down western North America. Since further tectonic activity and erosion by glaciers have sculpted the Rockies into dramatic peaks and valleys. At the end of the last ice age, humans began inhabiting the mountain range. After Europeans, such as Sir Alexander Mackenzie, Americans, such as the Lewis and Clark expedition, began exploring the range and furs drove the initial economic exploitation of the mountains, although the range itself never experienced dense population.
Public parks and forest lands protect much of the mountain range, they are popular tourist destinations for hiking, mountaineering, hunting, mountain biking and snowboarding. The name of the mountains is a translation of an Amerindian name, related to Algonquian; the first mention of their present name by a European was in the journal of Jacques Legardeur de Saint-Pierre in 1752, where they were called "Montagnes de Roche". The Rocky Mountains are defined as stretching from the Liard River in British Columbia south to the Rio Grande in New Mexico; the Rockies vary in width from 110 to 480 kilometres. The Rocky Mountains are notable for containing the highest peaks in central North America; the range's highest peak is Mount Elbert located in Colorado at 4,401 metres above sea level. Mount Robson in British Columbia, at 3,954 metres, is the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies; the eastern edge of the Rockies rises above the Interior Plains of central North America, including the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico and Colorado, the Front Range of Colorado, the Wind River Range and Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming, the Absaroka-Beartooth ranges and Rocky Mountain Front of Montana and the Clark Range of Alberta.
The western edge of the Rockies includes ranges such as the Wasatch near Salt Lake City and the Bitterroots along the Idaho-Montana border. The Great Basin and Columbia River Plateau separate these subranges from distinct ranges further to the west. In Canada, the western edge of the Rockies is formed by the huge Rocky Mountain Trench, which runs the length of British Columbia from its beginnings in the middle Flathead River valley in western Montana to the south bank of the Liard River. Geographers define three main groups of the Canadian Rockies: the Continental Ranges, Hart Ranges, Muskwa Ranges; the Rockies do not extend into central British Columbia. Other mountain ranges continue beyond the Liard River, including the Selwyn Mountains in Yukon, the Brooks Range in Alaska, but those are not part of the Rockies, though they are part of the American Cordillera; the Continental Divide of the Americas is located in the Rocky Mountains and designates the line at which waters flow either to the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans.
Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park is so named because water falling on the mountain reaches not only the Atlantic and Pacific but Hudson Bay as well. Farther north in Alberta, the Athabasca and other rivers feed the basin of the Mackenzie River, which has its outlet on the Beaufort Sea of the Arctic Ocean. Human population is not dense in the Rocky Mountains, with an average of four people per square kilometer and few cities with over 50,000 people. However, the human population grew in the Rocky Mountain states between 1950 and 1990; the forty-year statewide increases in population range from 35% in Montana to about 150% in Utah and Colorado. The populations of several mountain towns and communities have doubled in the last forty years. Jackson, increased 260%, from 1,244 to 4,472 residents, in forty years; the rocks in the Rocky Mountains were formed. The oldest rock is Precambrian metamorphic rock. There is Precambrian sedimentary argillite, dating back to 1.7 billion years ago. During the Paleozoic, western North America lay underneath a shallow sea, which deposited many kilometers of limestone and dolomite.
In the southern Rocky Mountains, near present-day Colorado, these ancestral rocks were disturbed by mountain building 300 Ma, during the Pennsylvanian. This mountain-building produced the Ancestral Rocky Mountains, they consisted of Precambrian metamorphic rock forced upward through layers of the limestone laid down in the shallow sea. The mountains eroded throughout the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic, leaving extensive deposits of sedimentary rock. Terranes began colliding with the western edge of North America in the Mississippian, causing the Antler orogeny. For 270 million years, the focus of the effects of plate collisions were near the edge of the North American plate boundary, far to the west of the Rocky Mountain region, it was. The current Rocky Mountains arose in the Laramide orogeny from between 55 Ma. For the Canadi
Alberta is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces, its area is about 660,000 square kilometres. Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905; the premier has been Rachel Notley since May 2015. Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, the U. S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U. S. state and one of only two landlocked provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
About 290 km south of the capital is the largest city in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta's two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million, while the province has 16 census agglomerations. Tourist destinations in the province include Banff, Drumheller, Sylvan Lake and Lake Louise. Alberta is named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was the wife of Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada. Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were named in her honour. Alberta, with an area of 661,848 km2, is the fourth-largest province after Quebec and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north, separating it from the U. S. state of Montana, while to the north the 60th parallel north divides it from the Northwest Territories. To the east, the 110th meridian west separates it from the province of Saskatchewan, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountains, from that point follows the line of peaks marking the Continental Divide in a southeasterly direction until it reaches the Montana border at 49°N.
The province extends 660 km east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3,747 m at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border while its lowest point is 152 m on the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast. With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate water resources. There are numerous lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire in Wood Buffalo National Park, Lesser Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan; the longest river in the province is the Athabasca River which travels 1,538 km from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the Peace River with an average flow of 2161 m3/s; the Peace River originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River.
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located at about the geographic centre of the province. It is the most northerly major city in Canada, serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada; the region, with its proximity to Canada's largest oil fields, has most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity. Calgary is about 280 km south of Edmonton and 240 km north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The land grant policy to the railroads served as a means to populate the province in its early years. Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are forested; the southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population.
Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south. The Alberta badlands are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, features deep canyons and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the lush landscape. Alberta has a humid continental climate with cold winters; the province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which produce cold conditions in winter. As the fronts between the air masses shift north and south across Alberta, the temperature can change rapidly. Arctic
Sierra Nevada (U.S.)
The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies in Nevada; the Sierra Nevada is part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an continuous sequence of such ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, is 70 miles across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include the largest alpine lake in North America; the Sierra is home to three national parks, twenty wilderness areas, two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite and Kings Canyon National Parks; the character of the range is shaped by its ecology. More than one hundred million years ago during the Nevadan orogeny, granite formed deep underground; the range started to uplift four million years ago, erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range.
The uplift caused a wide range of elevations and climates in the Sierra Nevada, which are reflected by the presence of five life zones. Uplift continues due to faulting caused by tectonic forces, creating spectacular fault block escarpments along the eastern edge of the southern Sierra; the Sierra Nevada has a significant history. The California Gold Rush occurred in the western foothills from 1848 through 1855. Due to inaccessibility, the range was not explored until 1912; the Sierra Nevada lies in Central and Eastern California, with a small but important spur extending into Nevada. West-to-east, the Sierra Nevada's elevation increases from 1,000 feet in the Central Valley to heights of about 14,000 feet at its crest 50–75 miles to the east; the east slope forms the steep Sierra Escarpment. Unlike its surroundings, the range receives a substantial amount of snowfall and precipitation due to orographic lift; the Sierra Nevada's irregular northern boundary stretches from the Susan River and Fredonyer Pass to the North Fork Feather River.
It represents where the granitic bedrock of the Sierra Nevada dives below the southern extent of Cenozoic igneous surface rock from the Cascade Range. It is bounded on the west by California's Central Valley and on the east by the Basin and Range Province; the southern boundary is at Tehachapi Pass. Physiographically, the Sierra is a section of the Cascade-Sierra Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger Pacific Mountain System physiographic division; the California Geological Survey states that "the northern Sierra boundary is marked where bedrock disappears under the Cenozoic volcanic cover of the Cascade Range." The range is drained on its western slope by the Central Valley watershed, which discharges into the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco. The northern third of the western Sierra is part of the Sacramento River watershed, the middle third is drained by the San Joaquin River; the southern third of the range is drained by the Kings, Kaweah and Kern rivers, which flow into the endorheic basin of Tulare Lake, which overflows into the San Joaquin during wet years.
The eastern slope watershed of the Sierra is much narrower. From north to south, the Susan River flows into intermittent Honey Lake, the Truckee River flows from Lake Tahoe into Pyramid Lake, the Carson River runs into Carson Sink, the Walker River into Walker Lake. Although none of the eastern rivers reach the sea, many of the streams from Mono Lake southwards are diverted into the Los Angeles Aqueduct which provides water to Southern California; the height of the mountains in the Sierra Nevada increases from north to south. Between Fredonyer Pass and Lake Tahoe, the peaks range from 5,000 feet to more than 9,000 feet; the crest near Lake Tahoe is 9,000 feet high, with several peaks approaching the height of Freel Peak. Farther south, the highest peak in Yosemite National Park is Mount Lyell; the Sierra rises to 14,000 feet with Mount Humphreys near Bishop, California. Near Lone Pine, Mount Whitney is at 14,505 feet, the highest point in the contiguous United States. South of Mount Whitney, the elevation of the range dwindles.
The crest elevation is 10,000 feet near Lake Isabella, but south of the lake, the peaks reach to only a modest 8,000 feet. There are several notable geographical features in the Sierra Nevada: Lake Tahoe is a large, clear freshwater lake in the northern Sierra Nevada, with an elevation of 6,225 ft and an area of 191 sq mi. Lake Tahoe lies between a spur of the Sierra. Hetch Hetchy Valley, Yosemite Valley, Kings Canyon, Kern Canyon are examples of many glacially-scoured canyons on the west side of the Sierra. Yosemite National Park is filled with notable features such as waterfalls, granite domes, high mountains and meadows. Groves of Giant Sequoia
Nevada is a state in the Western United States. It is bordered by Oregon to the northwest, Idaho to the northeast, California to the west, Arizona to the southeast and Utah to the east. Nevada is the 7th most extensive, the 32nd most populous, but the 9th least densely populated of the U. S. states. Nearly three-quarters of Nevada's people live in Clark County, which contains the Las Vegas–Paradise metropolitan area where three of the state's four largest incorporated cities are located. Nevada's capital, however, is Carson City. Nevada is known as the "Silver State" because of the importance of silver to its history and economy, it is known as the "Battle Born State", because it achieved statehood during the Civil War. Nevada is desert and semi-arid, much of it within the Great Basin. Areas south of the Great Basin are within the Mojave Desert, while Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada lie on the western edge. About 86% of the state's land is managed by various jurisdictions of the U. S. federal government, both civilian and military.
Before European contact, Native Americans of the Paiute and Washoe tribes inhabited the land, now Nevada. The first Europeans to explore the region were Spanish, they called the region Nevada because of the snow. The area formed part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain, became part of Mexico when it gained independence in 1821; the United States annexed the area in 1848 after its victory in the Mexican–American War, it was incorporated as part of Utah Territory in 1850. The discovery of silver at the Comstock Lode in 1859 led to a population boom that became an impetus to the creation of Nevada Territory out of western Utah Territory in 1861. Nevada became the 36th state on October 31, 1864, as the second of two states added to the Union during the Civil War. Nevada has a reputation for its libertarian laws. In 1940, with a population of just over 110,000 people, Nevada was by far the least-populated state, with less than half the population of the next least-populated state. However, legalized gambling and lenient marriage and divorce laws transformed Nevada into a major tourist destination in the 20th century.
Nevada is the only U. S. state where prostitution is legal, though it is illegal in Clark County, Washoe County and Carson City. The tourism industry remains Nevada's largest employer, with mining continuing as a substantial sector of the economy: Nevada is the fourth-largest producer of gold in the world; the name "Nevada" comes from meaning "snow-covered", after the Sierra Nevada. Most Nevadans pronounce the second syllable of their state name using the TRAP vowel. Many from outside the Western United States pronounce it with the PALM vowel. Although the latter pronunciation is closer to the Spanish pronunciation, it is not the pronunciation preferred by most Nevadans. State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson proposed a bill to recognize the alternate pronunciation of Nevada, though the bill was not supported by most legislators and never received a vote; the Nevadan pronunciation is the de facto official one, since it is the one used by the state legislature. At one time, the state's official tourism organization, TravelNevada, stylized the name of the state as "Nevăda", with a breve mark over the a indicating the locally preferred pronunciation, available as a license plate design.
Nevada is entirely within the Basin and Range Province, is broken up by many north-south mountain ranges. Most of these ranges have endorheic valleys between them, which belies the image portrayed by the term Great Basin. Much of the northern part of the state is within the Great Basin, a mild desert that experiences hot temperatures in the summer and cold temperatures in the winter. Moisture from the Arizona Monsoon will cause summer thunderstorms; the state's highest recorded temperature was 125 °F in Laughlin on June 29, 1994. The coldest recorded temperature was −52 °F set in San Jacinto in 1972, in the northeastern portion of the state; the Humboldt River crosses the state from east to west across the northern part of the state, draining into the Humboldt Sink near Lovelock. Several rivers drain from the Sierra Nevada eastward, including the Walker and Carson rivers. All of these rivers are endorheic basins, ending in Walker Lake, Pyramid Lake, the Carson Sink, respectively. However, not all of Nevada is within the Great Basin.
Tributaries of the Snake River drain the far north, while the Colorado River, which forms much of the boundary with Arizona, drains much of southern Nevada. The mountain ranges, some of which have peaks above 13,000 feet, harbor lush forests high above desert plains, creating sky islands for endemic species; the valleys are no lower in elevation than 3,000 feet, while some in central Nevada are above 6,000 feet. The southern third of the state, where the Las Vegas area is situated, is within the Mojave Desert; the area is closer to the Arizona Monsoon in the summer. The terrain is lower below 4,000 feet, creating conditions for hot summer days and cool to chilly winter nights. Nevada and California have by far the longest diagonal line as a state boundary at just over 400 miles; this line begins in Lake Tahoe nearly