Saint Elias Mountains
The Saint Elias Mountains (French: Chaîne Saint-Élie) are a subgroup of the Pacific Coast Ranges, located in southeastern Alaska in the United States, Southwestern Yukon and the very far northwestern part of British Columbia in Canada. The range spans Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve in the United States and Kluane National Park and Reserve in Canada and includes all of Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska. In Alaska, the range includes parts of the city/borough of Yakutat and the Hoonah-Angoon and Valdez-Cordova census areas.
|Saint Elias Mountains|
Mt. Saint Elias
|Elevation||5,959 m (19,551 ft)|
|Length||300 mi (480 km)|
|Width||90 mi (140 km)|
|Area||112,509 km2 (43,440 sq mi)|
|Countries||United States and Canada|
|States/Provinces||Alaska, Yukon and British Columbia|
|Parent range||Pacific Coast Ranges|
|Borders on||Wrangell Mountains|
The St. Elias Mountains is the highest coastal mountain range on Earth. It formed due to the subduction of the Yakutat microplate underneath the North American Plate. The Yakutat microplate is a wedge shaped oceanic plateau with 20–30 km thickness. Similar to the adjacent Pacific plate (7 km crustal thickness) the Yakutat plate is currently moving northwestward with a rate of ~50 mm/year with respect to North America. The Yakutat plate is transported northwards along the active Fairweather Fault, which probably started more than 35 million years ago. Due to its thickness the Yakutat plate is buoyant resulting in surface uplift of the overriding North American plate, which formed the Talkeetna Mountains and the Alaska Range in southcentral Alaska located above the subducted part of the Yakutat plate.
The St. Elias Mountains formed at the plate boundary between the Yakutat and North American plate. The up to 12 km thick sediments that have been deposited on top of the Yakutat plate are imbricated and deformed as they became scraped off and compose today the southern (coastal) flanks of the St. Elias Mountains. In contrast the high elevated regions of the drainage divide (Bagley Ice Field, Seward Glacier) and north of it are composed of rocks that are part of the North American plate. The highest peaks of the St. Elias Mountains are located in the high ice field region of the Kluane National Park (Mt. Logan, Mt. Vancouver) and north of the Malaspina Glacier (Mt. St. Elias, Mt. Cook), in the region known as the St. Elias syntaxis. At the syntaxis region the tectonic style changes from strike-slip motion along the Fairweather Fault to collision west of Malaspina Strait. This tectonic transition concentrates stress in the crust at the syntaxis that together with efficient glacial erosion results in positive feedback processes that through time forms extreme high mountain peaks and local relief, and rapid exhumation of rocks from up to 10 km depths to the surface.
The mountains are divided by the Duke Depression, with the shorter, more rounded Kluane Ranges to the east, and the higher Icefield Ranges to the west. Sub-ranges of the Saint Elias include the Alsek Ranges, the Fairweather Range, and the Centennial Range.
The highest mountains of the range include:
|Mount Logan||5,959||19,551||Yukon||Highest mountain in Canada|
|Mount Saint Elias||5,489||18,008||Alaska-Yukon||Second highest in both Canada and the United States|
|Mount Lucania||5,226||17,147||Yukon||#3 in Canada|
|King Peak||5,173||16,971||Yukon||#4 in Canada|
|Mount Steele||5,073||16,644||Yukon||#5 in Canada|
|Mount Bona||5,005||16,421||Alaska||#5 in the United States|
|Mount Fairweather||4,671||15,325||Alaska-British Columbia||#1 in British Columbia|
- "Saint Elias Mountains". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- "Saint. Elias Mountains". BC Geographical Names. Retrieved 2013-12-27.
- Christeson, G.L.; Gulick, S.P.; van Avendonk, H.J.; Worthington, L.L.; Reece, R.S.; Pavlis, T.L. (2010). "The Yakutat terrane: Dramatic change in crustal thickness across the Transition fault, Alaska". Geology. 38 (10): 895–898. doi:10.1130/G31170.1.
- Elliott, J.L.; Larsen, C.F.; Freymueller, J.T.; Motyka, R.J. (2010). "Tectonic block motion and glacial isostatic adjustment in southeast Alaska and adjacent Canada constrained by GPS measurements". Journal of Geophysical Research. 115: B09407. doi:10.1029/2009JB007139.
- Finzel, E.S.; Trop, J.M.; Ridgway, K.D.; Enkelmann, E. (2011). "Upper plate proxies for flat-slab subduction processes in southern Alaska". Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 303 (3–4): 348–360. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2011.01.014.
- Plafker, G.; Berg, H.C. (1994). The Geology of Alaska. Boulder: Geological Society of America. pp. 389–449.
- Enkelmann, E.; Zeitler, P.K.; Pavlis, T.L.; Garver, J.I.; Ridgway, K.D. (2009). "Intense localized rock uplift and erosion in the St. Elias orogen of Alaska". Nature Geoscience. 2 (5): 360–363. doi:10.1038/NGEO502.
- "Saint Elias Mountains". Bivouac.com. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- Mount Fairweather is only partly in British Columbia. The highest peak entirely within British Columbia is Mount Waddington in the Coast Range, 4019 m (13186 ft).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Saint Elias Mountains.|
- Richter, Donald H.; Preller, Cindi C.; Labay, Keith A.; Shew, Nora B. (2006). Geologic Map of the Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska. USGS Scientific Investigations Map 2877.
- Winkler, Gary R. (2000). A Geologic Guide to Wrangell—Saint Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska: A Tectonic Collage of Northbound Terranes. USGS Professional Paper 1616. ISBN 978-0-607-92676-7.
- Wood, Charles A.; Kienle, Jürgen, eds. (1990). Volcanoes of North America. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-43811-7.