Colorado Geography Powerpoint

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Colorado Geography Powerpoint

  1. 1. COLORADO HISTORY COLORADO IN PLACE AND TIME: PART I GEOGRAPHY
  2. 2. COLORADO AT GEOGRAPHICAL CENTER OF THE UNITED STATES
  3. 3. COLORADO’S BORDERS  Create:  nearly perfect rectangle  Enclose:  104, 247 square miles  Follow:  no river or stream  no natural feature  Are BOUNDARIES OF CONVENIENCE
  4. 4. COLORADO’S BORDERS  Enclose The 3 Historic Regions in the US East/Midwest  Tied The South  Tied The through the Platte and Arkansas Rivers through the Rio Grande West  Tied through the Colorado River: the principal river of the Southwest
  5. 5. COLORADO’S BORDERS ENCLOSE THREE MAJOR CULTURAL AREAS: NATIVE AMERICAN  HISPANIC  ANGLO EUROPEAN
  6. 6. COLORADO’S BORDERS ENCLOSE THREE MAJOR PHYSICAL REGIONS  PLAINS: High plains and the Piedmont  MOUNTAINS  PLATEAUS
  7. 7. P L A T E A U S MTNS PLAINS
  8. 8. COLORADO’S PLAINS Carved and contoured into 3 landforms: HIGH PLAINS: prairie lands stretching from Wyoming to Oklahoma. PIEDMONT: river valleys of Arkansas and Platte Rivers VOLCANIC UPLANDS: hills & buttes of south central Colorado
  9. 9. HIGH PLAINS 1. SOUTH PLATTE RIVER 2. ARKANSAS RIVER 3. PURGATOIRE RIVER 4. PALMER DIVIDE 1 4 2 3
  10. 10. COLORADO’S HIGH PLAINS Area of shortgrass prairie Covered in buffalo grass and gramma grass Dotted by the occasional butte
  11. 11. COLORADO’S HIGH PLAINS The Colorado Piedmont: The area that parallels the Platte and Arkansas Rivers.
  12. 12. COLORADO’S HIGH PLAINS  The Raton Region:  Area of volcanic activity that borders northern New Mexico in south-central Colorado.  Hills and buttes interrupt the topography here.
  13. 13. COLORADO’S HIGH PLAINS  Although the furthest east of all physical regions, the plains were the last areas in Colorado to be settled:  Still reflect the character of the 19th century  Country of open spaces and long vistas  Country of endless wheat fields and corn fields  Kept alive through irrigation
  14. 14. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  These are the most prominent and well-known feature of our state.  Colorado’s Rocky Mountains are part of a great chain that stretches from Northern Canada into the Southwestern United States.  In the United States, the Rocky Mountains reach their greatest height in Colorado.
  15. 15. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The Colorado Rockies are known as the “Roof of America.” There are 56 named summits over 14,000 feet in elevation. (80% of all peaks over 14,000 in the US.)  The mean elevation in Colorado is 6,800 feet above sea level 
  16. 16. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Mountains have been the major attraction for European visitors to the state.  The first were the Fur Trappers  Then came the Gold Seekers  Then came the tourists
  17. 17. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The mountains are important to the entire state:  Gather the snow that:  Draws the tourists  Begins the rivers  Feeds the irrigation on the plains However: there is a second side to snow: Snows can be dangerous: avalanches, blizzards Can be too pretty with unexpected results
  18. 18. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The Mountain Zone  Bisects the state North/South
  19. 19. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS Not comprised of a single chain or range  Series of Ranges and cross spurs 
  20. 20. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The First is called the “Front Range” Runs from Wyoming to Pikes Peak as a system  Continues as a spur (Sangre de Cristos and Culebras) into New Mexico.  It contains some of Colorado’s most wellknown mountain peaks: 
  21. 21. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Long’s Peak
  22. 22. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Mount Evans
  23. 23. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Pikes Peak
  24. 24. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Blanca Peak
  25. 25. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Spanish Peaks
  26. 26. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS Second Range: just to the west of Front Range  PARK RANGE:  Runs from the Wyoming border to the head of the Arkansas River (near Leadville)  Rabbit Ears Pass is part of the Park Range 
  27. 27. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  THIRD IN LINE: SAWATCH RANGE   Runs from near Leadville to the San Luis Valley Features some of the highest, most spectacular peaks in the state:  The Collegiate Peaks
  28. 28. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  SAWATCH RANGE Also the two highest peaks in the state:  Mt. Elbert (14,433)   Mt. Massive (14,421)
  29. 29. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  FOURTH IN LINE: ELK MOUNTAINS West of the Sawatch Range and SW of the Roaring Fork River.  The Elk Mountains stretch from Glenwood Springs south to Gunnison and Montrose. 
  30. 30. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  LAST ARE THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS Break the linear pattern of other ranges  Created in volcanic activity 15 million years ago  Principal mining area with sparse settlement   Ouray, Silverton, Telluride and Creede are the towns
  31. 31. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  THE SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS Contain some of the most precipitous peaks  Known as “Colorado’s Alps”  Mt. Sneffels  Mt. Wilson 
  32. 32. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Separating the ranges are INTERMONTANE BASINS  They are commonly called “parks” but are actually large, treeless expanses, high altitude deserts and grasslands.  There are four of these basins in Colorado:
  33. 33. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The furthest north is called NORTH PARK: Gives rise to the North Platte River  Is the general area of Jackson County  Walden is the principal town 
  34. 34. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  Just south of North Park is MIDDLE PARK: The coldest recorded temperatures have occurred here  Grand Lake and Hot Sulphur Springs are here 
  35. 35. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  SOUTH PARK is west of Colorado Springs: Known as Bayou Salado until the 1830s  Lies at 9100 feet above sea level  South Platte River bisects South Park  Fairplay is the principal town 
  36. 36. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS  The SAN LUIS VALLEY is the furthest south The average elevation here is 7500 feet  It is 100 miles long and 70 miles across  The Rio Grande bisects the San Luis Valley 
  37. 37. COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS 1 NORTH PARK 2 MIDDLE PARK 3 SOUTH PARK 4 SAN LUIS VALLEY
  38. 38. COLORADO’S PLATEAUS Plateaus dominate the western one-quarter of Colorado  The region is diverse:   Plateaus  Mesas  Canyonlands  Floodplains
  39. 39. COLORADO’S PLATEAUS The largest is the Colorado Plateau  It is part of Four States: 
  40. 40. COLORADO’S PLATEAUS  Mesas:    Highlands capped with erosion resistant sedimentary rock Grand Mesa Mesa Verde
  41. 41. COLORADO’S PLATEAUS  Canyon lands Most dramatic are along the Colorado River  Glenwood Canyon  Colorado National Monument 
  42. 42. COLORADO’S PLATEAUS  Floodplains: Lower reaches of the Gunnison, Uncompahgre and Colorado Rivers  Delta, Montrose, Grand Junction 
  43. 43. COLORADO’S RIVERS
  44. 44. COLORADO’S RIVERS  CHARACTERISTICS:  Rivers are not navigable in Colorado  South  Rivers Platte: “Too thick to drink, too thin to plow!” have had a major effect on Colorado:  First land routes into the area  Provide water for irrigation  Location of cities and towns  Especially at the intersections of rivers/streams  Denver, Pueblo, Grand Junction, Delta, Greeley
  45. 45. COLORADO’S CLIMATE  Colorado is an ARID STATE  Average  Wide variation from 7 inches to 60 inches  Altitude 5 yearly precipitation = 16.6 inches is a major factor times as much moisture at 14,000 feet as at 5,000 feet  Central Location: “Continentality”  Removed from the mediating effects of the ocean  Great range in daily temperatures from day to night  Thirty to Fifty degrees
  46. 46. COLORADO’S CLIMATE  RAIN SHADOW EFFECT:  General flow of winds is from west to east  Mountain ranges drain moisture from the air  Colder air loses its ability to hold moisture  Drop in temperature of 3 to 5 degrees for every 1000 feet increase in elevation  When air reaches the eastern slope it lacks moisture  “Rain shadow” = lack of rain for 30 – 120 miles east  Air emerges as “dry winds” or “chinooks”
  47. 47. COLORADO’S CLIMATE
  48. 48. COLORADO’S CLIMATE  Westerly winds Mountains ring moisture from air Rain shadow is result
  49. 49. COLORADO’S CLIMATE  UPSLOPE OCCURS WHEN THE WINDS SHIFT AND COME FROM THE EAST  SOURCE OF SOME OF THE MOST DEVASTATING STORMS IN COLORADO’S HISTORY
  50. 50. COLORADO’S GEOGRAPHY  The TOPOGRAPHICAL and CLIMATIC features of Colorado:  Create Special characteristics that ALL INHABITANTS have had to face ACROSS TIME  The CHALLENGE OF CLIMATE AND TOPOGRAPHY forms one of the major themes in Colorado history.

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