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An island range
is a term used to describe a mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...
that exists in total or almost total isolation from a larger chain of ranges and sub-ranges. From a distance on the plains, these ranges appear as "islands" of higher ground. And so, often described as an island of mountainous land because they exist in the "sea" of lower elevation and flatter prairie
Prairies are considered part of the temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biome by ecologists, based on similar temperate climates, moderate rainfall, and grasses, herbs, and shrubs, rather than trees, as the dominant vegetation type...
country, many examples are found in the northern Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico, in the southwestern United States...
of the United States. Island ranges include the Big Snowy Mountains
The Big Snowy Mountains, el. , are a mountain range south of Lewistown, Montana in Fergus County, Montana. One of the few points of significant elevation in the area, this is considered one of Montana's island ranges.,...
of east-central Montana
Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...
and the Crazy Mountains
The Crazy Mountains, often called the Crazies, are a mountain range in the northern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. state of Montana.-Geography:...
of south-central Montana. Island ranges, due to their isolation, often have animal and/or plant species or subspecies
found nowhere else.