Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How The Cordillera Was Formed

There are 3 sections of the Western Cordillera:

Eastern Mountains:
     This division of the Western Cordillera is made up of two mountain ranges, the Rocky and the Columbia Mountains, separated by a deep valley. The Rocky Mountains, Canada's youngest mountains, were created by  folding and faulting and are almost entirely made up of sedimentary rock.
     The valley separating the mountains is known as the Rocky Mountain Trench. It was created by erosion along a zone of faults.
     The Columbia Mountains are similar to the Rocky Mountains and were made by folding and faulting. They are not as tall because they are older than the Rockies. They are made up of sedimentary rock and some metamorphic rock in layers below the surface.

Interior Plateaus
     The Interior Plateaus are in the center of the Cordillera and were made by volcanic activity. The area is composed of igneous and metamorphic rock and contains valuable metals such as copper, zinc and even gold.
Coast Mountains
     The Coast Mountains are split into two ranges divided by a deep trough, just like the Eastern Mountains. It is divided into The Coast Mountain Range, which is on the mainland, and the Island Mountain Range, which is located on the offshore islands. The Pacific Ocean runs through the trough that divides the two Mountain Ranges. The Coast Mountains were formed by convergent plate movement. The Pacific Plate went under the North American Plate and the pressure caused magma to rise into the Earth's crust and when it cooled it formed the Coast mountains. The movement of the two plates up against one another also uplifted a massive amount of rock. The Coast mountains are a block of igneous and metamorphic rock.


Since it is so mountainous in the Western Cordillera, the area is lightly populated. Its lightly populated due to the mountains running in a north-south direction, making it hard for vehicles and transportation to get across. Most people live in farming and mining towns located near the river valleys at the bottom of the mountains. There are some large cities such as Vancouver and Victoria, built on the flat land in coastal locations.


The lower parts of the mountains that make up the Western Cordillera are scattered with coniferous trees such as pine trees. Depending on the height of the mountain there may be no trees on top because of the extreme cold. In the southern regions of the Cordillera, there aren't any trees due to lack of precipitation.


The Western Cordillera has a range of climates, depending on where you are located in the mountains. Close to the shore, the climate is very wet during the fall and winter, there is a lot of rain and the summers are usually cool. Inland, there is heavy snowfall high in the mountains. On the upper part of the mountains is always very cold because of the high elevation.

Monday, October 25, 2010


The Western Cordillera Mountains are actually geologically young. They are much newer than the Appalachians. This is shown because the Western Cordillera has much taller more jagged mountains, showing us that there hasn't been enough time for weathering and erosion to take place and wear down the mountains that much.


The Western Cordillera is located along the western edge of North America, inside it are the provinces of |British Columbia and the Yukon. The Western Cordillera also touches the western side of Alberta and Northwest Territories.