Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Teton Range is a mountain range of the Rocky Mountains in North America. A north-south range, it is on the Wyoming side of the state's border with Idaho, just south of Yellowstone National Park. The principal summits of the central massif are the Grand Teton at 13,770 ft (4198 m), Mount Owen at 12,928 feet (3,940 m), Teewinot (12,325 ft), the Middle Teton (12,804 ft), and the South Teton (12,514 ft). Other peaks in the range include Mount Moran (12,605 ft), Mount Wister (11,490 ft), Buck Mountain (11,938 ft), Static Peak (11,303 ft), Albright Peak (10,552 ft), Prospector's Mountain (11,241 ft), Rendezvous Mountain (10,450 ft), and Mount Glory (10,086 ft). Most of the range is in Grand Teton National Park. Early French Voyageurs used the name "les Trois Tétons" (the three breasts). It is likely that the Shoshone people once called the whole range Teewinot, meaning "many pinnacles".
Between six and nine million years ago, stretching and thinning of the Earth's crust caused movement along the Teton fault. The west block along the fault line was pushed upwards to form the Teton Range, thereby creating the youngest range of the Rocky Mountains. The fault's east block fell downwards to form the valley called Jackson Hole. While many of the central peaks of the range are composed of granite, the geological processes that led to the current composition began about 2.5 billion years ago. At that time, sand and volcanic debris settled into an ancient ocean. Additional sediment was deposited for several million years and eventually heat and pressure metamorphosed the sediment into gneiss, which comprises the major mass of the range. Subsequently, magma was forced up through the cracks and weaknesses in the gneiss to form granite, anywhere from inches to hundreds of feet thick. This ancient magma has manifested itself as noticeable black dikes of diabase rock, visible on the southwest face of Mount Moran and on the Grand Teton. Erosion and uplift have exposed the granite now visible today.
One reason the Tetons are famous is because of their great elevation above their base. Unlike most mountain ranges, the Tetons lack foothills, or lower peaks which can obscure the view. This is due to the fault zone being at the base of the range on the eastern side, and the range being too young to have had time to erode into soft hills. As such, the Tetons rise sharply, from 5,000 to nearly 7,000 feet above the valley floor. The view is most dramatic as seen from the east; on the west side, they appear as high rolling hills that transition smoothly into flat pasture.
Jackson Hole and the Tetons have been the setting for a number of films, including The Far Horizons in 1955. Mt. Moran and the surrounding mountains was used as a backdrop for the lake/swamp setting in the original series of Land of the Lost (1974 TV series)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia