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A cap cloud on the continental divide
|| 12/28/2008 || 2:49 pm || Comments Off on A cap cloud on the continental divide || ||

As we drove to Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, I took these photographs of the cap cloud covering the continental divide.

The continental divide has always fascinated me as one of the most important geologic features in North America because it hydrologically splits up the continent into different watershed basins. Standing from the top of the continental divide in the summertime I’ve seen firsthand how the divide influences the weather on both sides of the divide. Looking West from the top of the divide you see a lush green forest and when you look off to the East you see a dry desert environment. This is due to the way the easterly moving clouds can be too heavy preventing them from being able to rise over the 12,000+ foot mountain range. They crash into the divide, release their moisture on the West side, rise up, then continue eastward over the divide. But sometimes they stick around the mountains and are called cap clouds.

It should be noted that there is a place in Glacier National Park in Montana called Triple Divide Peak, where water ultimately flows to the Arctic, Pacific, and the Atlantic oceans. When I was younger and visiting Glacier National Park I was not aware of this peak, but when I visit the park again, I’d like to climb it.



Post Title: A cap cloud on the continental divide
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Posted in: Colorado, Estes Park, Location, Photography, Weather
Last edited by Nikolas Schiller on 1/2/2009 at 4:04 pm



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