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Medicine Bow Mountains

Medicine Bow Mountains

Overview
For the Snowy Range of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, see Snowy Mountains
Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD, approximately 7310 feet....

.


The Medicine Bow Mountains are a mountain range
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...

 in the Rocky Mountains
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...

 that extend for 100 miles (160.9 km) from northern Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 into southern Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

. The northern extent of this range is the sub-range the Snowy Range. From the northern end of Colorado's Never Summer Mountains
Never Summer Mountains
The Never Summer Mountains are a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. The range is located along the northwest border of Rocky Mountain National Park, forming the continental divide between the headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain...

, the Medicine Bow mountains extend north from Cameron Pass
Cameron Pass (Colorado)
Cameron Pass is a elevation mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. The pass is a gap between the south end of the Medicine Bow Mountains and the north end of the Never Summer Mountains. It sits on the border between Jackson County and Larimer County,...

 along the border between Larimer
Larimer County, Colorado
Larimer County is the seventh most populous and the ninth most extensive of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county is located at the northern end of the Front Range, at the edge of the Colorado Eastern Plains along the border with Wyoming...

 and Jackson
Jackson County, Colorado
Jackson County is the fourth-least densely populated of the Colorado 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. The county population was 1,577 at the 2000 Census. The county seat and the only municipality in the county is the Town of Walden.- History :...

 counties in Colorado and northward into south central Wyoming.
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Encyclopedia
For the Snowy Range of Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, see Snowy Mountains
Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD, approximately 7310 feet....

.


The Medicine Bow Mountains are a mountain range
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...

 in the Rocky Mountains
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...

 that extend for 100 miles (160.9 km) from northern Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

 into southern Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

. The northern extent of this range is the sub-range the Snowy Range. From the northern end of Colorado's Never Summer Mountains
Never Summer Mountains
The Never Summer Mountains are a mountain range in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. The range is located along the northwest border of Rocky Mountain National Park, forming the continental divide between the headwaters of the Colorado River in Rocky Mountain...

, the Medicine Bow mountains extend north from Cameron Pass
Cameron Pass (Colorado)
Cameron Pass is a elevation mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. The pass is a gap between the south end of the Medicine Bow Mountains and the north end of the Never Summer Mountains. It sits on the border between Jackson County and Larimer County,...

 along the border between Larimer
Larimer County, Colorado
Larimer County is the seventh most populous and the ninth most extensive of the 64 counties of the State of Colorado of the United States. The county is located at the northern end of the Front Range, at the edge of the Colorado Eastern Plains along the border with Wyoming...

 and Jackson
Jackson County, Colorado
Jackson County is the fourth-least densely populated of the Colorado 64 counties of the U.S. state of Colorado. The county population was 1,577 at the 2000 Census. The county seat and the only municipality in the county is the Town of Walden.- History :...

 counties in Colorado and northward into south central Wyoming. In Wyoming, the range sits west of Laramie
Laramie, Wyoming
Laramie is a city in and the county seat of Albany County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 30,816 at the . Located on the Laramie River in southeastern Wyoming, the city is west of Cheyenne, at the junction of Interstate 80 and U.S. Route 287....

, in Albany and Carbon
Carbon County, Wyoming
Carbon County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wyoming. As of 2010, the population was 15,885. Its county seat is Rawlins.- History :Carbon County was organized in 1868....

 counties to the route of the Union Pacific Railroad
Union Pacific Railroad
The Union Pacific Railroad , headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, is the largest railroad network in the United States. James R. Young is president, CEO and Chairman....

 and U.S. Interstate 80
Interstate 80
Interstate 80 is the second-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, following Interstate 90. It is a transcontinental artery running from downtown San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey in the New York City Metropolitan Area...

. The mountains often serve as a symbol for the city of Laramie
Laramie, Wyoming
Laramie is a city in and the county seat of Albany County, Wyoming, United States. The population was 30,816 at the . Located on the Laramie River in southeastern Wyoming, the city is west of Cheyenne, at the junction of Interstate 80 and U.S. Route 287....

. The range is home to Snowy Range Ski Area
Snowy Range Ski Area
Snowy Range Ski and Recreation Area is a small ski area in southeastern Wyoming, located about 5 miles from the town of Centennial in Medicine Bow National Forest. At 32 miles away, it is the closest ski area to Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming....

.

The highest peak in the range is Clark Peak
Clark Peak (Medicine Bow Mountains)
Clark Peak, with a summit elevation of , is the highest peak of the Medicine Bow Mountains. It is situated in the Rawah Wilderness along the border between Larimer and Jackson counties in northern Colorado...

 (12951 feet (3,947.5 m)), located in Rawah Wilderness
Rawah Wilderness
The Rawah Wilderness is administered by the USDA Forest Service. It is located on the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the Roosevelt National Forest in Colorado, near the Wyoming border, and also in the Routt National Forest to its south. It encompasses and includes 25 named lakes ranging in...

 and is along the southern end of the range in Northern Colorado
Colorado
Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

. Much of the range is located within the Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming. The highest peak on the Wyoming side is Medicine Bow Peak
Medicine Bow Peak
Medicine Bow Peak is the highest peak in the Snowy Range, a part of the Medicine Bow Mountains, about 35 miles west of Laramie, Wyoming. It lies within Medicine Bow National Forest. The summit lies in extreme western Albany County, but the mountain's lower reaches stretch westward into eastern...

 (12013 feet (3,661.6 m)). The range is drained along the western flank by the Michigan
Michigan River
The Michigan River is a tributary of the North Platte River, approximately long, in north central Colorado in the United States. It drains a rural part of the eastern side of North Park in eastern Jackson County. The river issues from Michigan Lakes, a chain of alpine lakes at , along the...

 and Canadian
Canadian River (Colorado)
The Canadian River is a tributary of the North Platte River, located approximately long, in Jackson County in north central Colorado in the United States...

 rivers, tributaries of the North Platte
North Platte River
The North Platte River is a major tributary of the Platte River and is approximately long counting its many curves, It travels about distance. Its course lies in the U.S...

 in North Park
North Park (Colorado basin)
North Park is a high, sparsely populated basin in the Rocky Mountains in north central Colorado in the United States. It encompasses a wide valley in Jackson County rimmed by mountain ranges at the headwaters of the North Platte River and several smaller tributaries, including the Michigan River,...

. On its eastern flank it is drained by the Laramie River
Laramie River
The Laramie River is a tributary of the North Platte River, approximately long, in the U.S. states of Colorado and Wyoming.It rises in northern Colorado, in the Roosevelt National Forest in the Front Range, in western Larimer County...

, another tributary of the North Platte.

Geology


The Medicine Bow Mountains resulted from continental compression during the Laramide Orogeny
Laramide orogeny
The Laramide orogeny was a period of mountain building in western North America, which started in the Late Cretaceous, 70 to 80 million years ago, and ended 35 to 55 million years ago. The exact duration and ages of beginning and end of the orogeny are in dispute, as is the cause. The Laramide...

. Beginning about 70 million years ago, the Rockies began uplifting along thrust fault
Thrust fault
A thrust fault is a type of fault, or break in the Earth's crust across which there has been relative movement, in which rocks of lower stratigraphic position are pushed up and over higher strata. They are often recognized because they place older rocks above younger...

s that broke up the Precambrian
Precambrian
The Precambrian is the name which describes the large span of time in Earth's history before the current Phanerozoic Eon, and is a Supereon divided into several eons of the geologic time scale...

 granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

 of Earth's crust. By 50 million years ago, all of Wyoming's major mountain ranges were elevated and the major basins defined. Rocks exposed along the flanks and peaks of the Medicine Bow Mountains span the Precambrian to modern, with the peaks composed of 2.4-2.0 billion year old Medicine Peak Quartzite. This rock was once a shallow marine sand deposit that has since been compressed and heated during burial, forming the metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock
Metamorphic rock is the transformation of an existing rock type, the protolith, in a process called metamorphism, which means "change in form". The protolith is subjected to heat and pressure causing profound physical and/or chemical change...

, quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

. What may be traces of multicellular animals are preserved in this rock, making it of particular interest to paleontologists.

The Cheyenne belt
Cheyenne belt
The Cheyenne Belt is the tectonic suture zone between the Archean-age Wyoming craton to the north and the Paleoproterozoic-age Yavapai province to the south. In runs through the southeastern quadrant of the state of Wyoming, USA. It was formed during the Paleoproterozoic Medicine Bow orogeny...

, the 1.78–1.74 billion year old suture between the Wyoming craton
Wyoming craton
The Wyoming craton is a craton located in the west-central United States and western Canada – more specifically, in Montana, Wyoming, southern Alberta, southern Saskatchewan, and parts of northern Utah...

 and the Yavapai province that formed as North America was assembled, is exposed in the Medicine Bow Mountains.

Fauna


Wildlife abounds in these mountains, with mule deer, elk, moose, black bear, mountain lions, coyotes, marmots, pika, Richardson's ground squirrels, bobcats, and lynx as well as a tremendous variety of birds. Brook and rainbow trout as well as grayling and golden trout are found in the streams.

Airline crash


This mountain range is also home to some of the remains of a Douglas DC-4 aircraft, operated under United Airlines Flight 409
United Airlines Flight 409
United Airlines Flight 409 was a scheduled flight departing from Denver, Colorado to Salt Lake City, Utah on October 6, 1955. The aircraft registration number was , a Douglas DC-4 propliner...

. The aircraft crashed into Medicine Bow Peak on October 6, 1955, killing all 66 people on board.

External links