21st Century Explorer

Caleb Donoho period 3

Great Salt Lake

This natural salt water lake is the largest in the western hemisphere, and is located in the northern part of Utah. On average, the lake covers around 1,700 square miles a year. It is also the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, that once covered most of western Utah. This geographic feature was created after the ice age, when the earth's climate became drier and Lake Bonneville gradually receded to form the Great Salt Lake. This lake is fed by three major rivers and several minor streams. Each river is fed directly or indirectly from the Uinta Mountain range in northeastern Utah. Unfortunately, this great lake is too saline to support fish and most other aquatic species. On the other hand, the Great Salt Lake draws people for a variety of recreational experiences and to enjoy what John Muir called "one of the great views on the American Continent."

Edwards Plateau

The Edwards Plateau is a region of west-central Texas which is bounded by the Balcones Fault to the south and to the east. It is located east of the Pecos River and west of the Colorado river, and is the southernmost unit of the Great Plains. Its rich deep soil, is suitable for farming, and is an outstanding grazing region of Texas. In addition, it is a region in which supplies of permanent surface water are sparse. It was originally formed from marine deposits of sandstone, limestone, shales, and dolomites 100 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period when this region was covered by an ocean. Also, the topography has been created by erosion: the flat layers of rock have been cut through by the many streams and rivers in the region. When the Edward Plateau region was settled by European man in the mid-1800s, it was maintained as a grassland savannah largely by grazing habits of bison and antelope as well as by frequent natural and man-made fires.

Mount McKinley

Mount McKinley, or also referred to as Denali is the tallest mountain in North America, with the mountain's peak at 20,310 feet. It is part of the Alaska Range and the centerpiece of Denali National Park. Mount McKinley is a granitic pluton lifted by tectonic pressure from the subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North American Plate; at the same time, the sedimentary material above and around the mountain was stripped away by erosion. During the last 100 million years, the assembled terrains buckled from continuous tectonic collision, uplifting to create the present-day topography of the Alaska Range. Explorers, prospectors, and trappers trickled into the area in the 1890's, and a series of gold strikes between 1903 and 1906 briefly brought large numbers of miners into the Kantishna area. Since 1972, visitors have had easy access to the park by way of the George Parks Highway between Anchorage and Fairbanks. Today, roughly 450,000 people visit the park yearly.