The Cascade Range is located in Western North America. The range also goes by the name Cascades. The
range extends from South British Columbia all the way to California. The
Cascade Range passes through Oregon and Washington. The range comprises of both
volcanic mountains and non-volcanic ones. The non-volcanic cascades include the
Northern Cascades while the volcanic components include High Cascades. The
section of the Cascades lying in British Columbia is referred to as the
Canadian Cascades. The locals also refer to the Canadian Cascades as Canadian
Mountains. Washington residents sometimes refer to the Washington section of
the ranges as the Canadian Mountains. The highest peak of the Cascades lies in
Washington and goes by the name Mount Rainier (14,411 ft). In Oregon, the
highest peak of the Cascades is Mount Hood.
The Cascade Ranges is a key component of the Pacific Ocean's ring of fire. The ring of fire refers to volcanoes and mountains surrounding the Pacific Ocean. The Cascade Range also forms part of the American Cordillera. For the past 200 years, all the major volcanic eruptions in the United States resulted from the Cascade Volcanoes. For instance, between the years 1914 to 1921, several eruptions took place at the Lassen Peak. In 1980, a major eruption took place at Mount St. Helens. Besides the eruption that occurred in 1980, Mount St. Helens has had other minor eruptions. Some of the recently experienced eruptions were between the years 2004 and 2008.
History of Cascade Range
For thousands of years, indigenous people have inhabited the Cascade Range. They have developed numerous myths and legends regarding the formation of the Cascades. One such legend regarded Mount Helen as a graceful maiden. The natives argued that Mount Helen was so graceful that Mount Adam and Mount Hood differed over her. The indigenous people also developed some names for the High Cascades and some other minor peaks. For instance, they referred to Mount Rainier as Tahoma and Mount Baker as Kulshan.
British explorer, George Vancouver, explored the Cascade Range in early 1792. He gave English names to some of the high peaks saw. He named Mount Baker after his third lieutenant Joseph Baker. On the other hand, Mount Rainier derived its name from the renowned Admiral Peter Rainier. Vancouver named Mount Hood after the acclaimed Lord Samuel Hood. Mount St. Helen is named after British diplomat Alleyne, the first Baron st. Helens.
Geography and Climate
The Cascades, especially the Canadian Cascades and the North Cascades, are extremely rugged. Even the seemingly minor peaks are quite steep and glaciated. Valleys, on the other hand, are very low relative to ridges and peaks. Due to Cascade Range’s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean, it receives substantial precipitation mainly on the Western slopes. Annual snow accumulations occur on the range at times rising up to 1,000 inches (25,000 mm). In the years 1998 to 1999, had a snow accumulation of 1,140 inches (29,000 mm). Mount Rainier also had a world record for snow accumulation in 1978. Most of the places in the Cascades record of 500 inches (13,000 mm) of snow accumulation. Due to this reason, most of the High Cascades are white in color all year round due to snow and ice accumulation.
Cascade Range is home to dense forests of coniferous trees. The common trees include spruces, pines, firs, and Western Hemlocks among others. The rich soils and mild temperatures at the Cascades promote fast vegetation growth. Several animal species also live in the Cascades. The common species include beavers, coyotes, black bear and, deer among others.
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