Today we climbed and climbed and climbed and finally crossed the largest of North America’s continental divides—The Great Divide. In an effort to assist all of you currently home schooling your children, today’s blog is a ready made geography lesson on continental divides and the divide that runs through both North America and South America.
A continental divide is a boundary that separates a continent’s river systems. Every continent except Antarctica has a continental divide. North American has several continental divides, but the largest, known as the Great Divide, forms a natural boundary that separates precipitation that falls on the west side and drains into the Pacific Ocean from precipitation that falls on the east side and drains into the Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. The Great Divide runs from Cape Prince of Wales in western Alaska, through the Rocky Mountains of western Canada and the continental United States, then through the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains in Mexico, through Central America and along the Andes Mountains of South America. It runs for 6,745.34 miles through North America and is mountainous and rocky the entire length except in Wyoming where there is a hole in the divide known as the Great Divide Basin. Precipitation falling into the Great Divide Basin doesn’t drain directly or indirectly into either ocean but rather is retained in the basin. No river crosses the Great Divide. In the United States, the Great Divide passes through the states of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico. We crossed it today near Silver City, New Mexico at an elevation of 6,355. An exciting but difficult day.
Hope this is helpful! I certainly learned a thing or two :)