Thursday, 2 June 2016

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK (By: David Sánchez Checa, Javier Fernández Doroteo, Laura Corchado Guijo, Efraín González Céspedes 4ºA)


Resultado de imagen de Mount Rainier National ParkMount Rainier National Park is a United States National Park located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington state.This national park is stabilised around the Mount Rainier, a stratovolcano of 4392 meters.

Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers. Subalpine wildflower meadows ring the icy volcano while ancient forest cloaks Mount Rainier’s lower slopes. Wildlife abounds in the park’s ecosystems.

  • Type of ecosystem that it represents:
Mount Rainier National Park is a taiga ecosystem. The taiga is the world's largest terrestrial biome. In North America it covers most of inland Canada and Alaska as well as parts of the extreme northern continental United States (northern Minnesota through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to Upstate New York and northern New England), where it is known as the Northwoods. In Eurasia, it covers most of Sweden, Finland, much of Norway, some lowland/coastal areas of Iceland, much of Russia from Karelia in the west to the Pacific Ocean (including much of Siberia), and areas of northern Kazakhstan, northern Mongolia, and northern Japan (on the island of Hokkaidō). However, the main tree species, the length of the growing season and summer temperatures vary.  the taiga of North America mostly consists of spruces.

  • Biotope:

As we said before, Mount Rainier National Park is a
United States National Park located in southeast Pierce County and northeast Lewis County in Washington state. This national park is stabilised around the Mount Rainier, a stratovolcano of 4392 meters. The nearest city is Tocoma.
Resultado de imagen de Mount Rainier National Park location

Mount Rainier is an active volcano of the Cascade Range in Washington State, 50-70 km (30-44 mi) southeast of the Seattle–Tacoma metropolitan area. Volcanism occurs at Mount Rainier and other Cascades arc volcanoes because of the subduction of the Juan de Fuca Plate off the western coast of North America.
Mount Rainier is not the first volcano to have grown in its present location. The edifice of modern Mount Rainier assembled over the last half million years by the accumulation of hundreds individual lava flows, but an ancestral Mount Rainier stood in the same place from 1 to 2 million years ago. Before this, magmas both erupted and accumulated beneath the surface. Some of this magma solidified as the 18- to 14-million-year-old Tatoosh Granodiorite, which formed when large volumes of magma rose into the subsurface and slowly cooled. Volcanoes were probably also fed by these magma bodies, but about 10 million years ago, the western margin of North America was uplifted and erosion stripped volcanic rocks overlying the granodiorite. Parts of Rainier also sit upon three olderformations of volcanic rocks and associated sediments.
Mount Rainier is the most iconic landform of this national park, especially because the area was named after the peak. It was formed more than half a million years ago, due to a base built by the lava of other volcanoes. Then, when lava and ash emerged from the newly created Mount Rainier, it filled the nearby canyons and built a summit over time. This summit is approximately 16,000 feet high.  When Mount Rainier was just being born, is was formed by layers of lava and loose rock, but this had the possibility of transforming into hydrothermally altered rock. This type of rock is unstable and causes a risk for landslides and lahars, as you can witness in the image below.

The majority of the glacier landforms on Mount Rainier are an effect of the Pleistocene glaciers 25,000 to 10,000 years ago too. They still are existing today, and continue to erode Mount Rainier. The 25 major ones create the largest collection of permanent ice on a single peak south of Alaska. The glaciers carved most of the valleys in the surrounding areas of the volcano and some other mountains as well. Other landforms that are in Mount Rainier National Park are the famous wildflowers, cedar and hemlock forests, glacier moraines (masses of rock that get carried down and deposited by a glacier), and waterfalls. Two examples of these creations are Christine Falls and Comet Falls.

Weather patterns at Mount Rainier are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, elevation, and latitude. The climate is generally cool and rainy, with summer highs in the 60s and 70s. While July and August are the sunniest months of the year, rain is possible any day, and very likely in spring, fall, and winter.
Mountain weather is very changeable. Wet, cold weather can occur anytime of the year. Although late-July and August are generally the driest and warmest time of the year, summer can also be wet and cool. Snow will remain at the 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation well into mid-July.

  • Biocenosis   

An elevation difference of approximately 13,000 feet creates a variety of habitats and life zones in Mount Rainier that remain protected. You'll likely see different animals at each life zone change. This diversity provides for a broad assortment of invertebrates, mammals,birds, fish, amphibians, and reptiles.

The highly visible Columbian black-tailed deer, Douglas squirrels, noisy Stellar's jays and common ravens are animals that many people remember. The most diverse and abundant animals in the park, however, are the invertebrates - the insects, worms, crustaceans, spiders- to name a few - that occupy all environments to the top of Columbia Crest itself.

At Mount Rainier you can find 65 mammal species, 14 species of amphibians, 5 species of reptiles, 182 species of birds, and 14 species of native fish. Invertebrates probably represent 85% of the animal biomass in the park.

Pine Marten, is a member of the weasel family that live in mature coniferous forests.

Northern Spotted Owl

White River Coho Salmon

Cascade Frog
Rana cascadae
Female Cascade frogs can reach lengths of 3 inches (7.5 cm), while males are smaller, with a max length of 2.3 in (6 cm). They have brown to yellow-olive coloring and black spots. Habitat in park: old growth forest, meadows, wetlands & ponds.

Resultado de imagen de larch mountain salamander

Larch Mountain Salamander
Plethodon larselii
Similiar in size as the Red-backed Salamander, with gold-flecked dark coloring and a reddish stripe on back. When threatened, the Larch Mountain Salamander coils and uncoils itself rapidly causing it to jump about. Habitat: terrestrial, rocky talus areas.
Northwestern Garter Snake
Thamnophis ordinoides
15-24 inches (53-61 cm) long. Black, brown, tan, grey or greenish with 1 to 3 yellow, orange, or red stripes down back. Habitat: open areas, below 4,000 ft. (1,219 meters). It is the most common snake found at Rainier.

Northern Alligator Lizard
Elgaria coerulea
Heavy scales; olive, brown, or greyish with light stripes and dark, irregular spots. Habitat: Sub-alpine talus slopes and coniferous forests. The only lizard found in western Washington.

Mountain Lion
Puma concolor
Resultado de imagen de puma concolorAlso called Pumas or Cougars, Mountain Lions are large carnivores weighing between 70-190 pounds. Solitary hunters, Mountain Lions will wait silently crouched in trees or on a ledge in order to ambush large prey like deer and elk. Though they primarily hunt deer and elk, they will also eat mountain goats, beavers, porcupines, birds, rabbits and other small mammals. Mountain Lions range in color from greyish-tan to yellow-cinnamon in color, with white undersides. The sides of the muzzle, backs of the ears, and the tip of the tail are black. Their bodies are long and lean with long tails. Rarely spotted by people, Mountain Lions favor remote forested regions, though they may follow their favorite food source, deer, into subalpine areas.

Rubber Boa
Charina bottae

A small, greyish-green snake with a hard, blunt tail. Habitat: moist or dry pine forests, near water. They do not bite, but curl into a ball when disturbed.

Mountain Whitefish
Prosopium williamsoni
Grey/bronze back with silvery sides and a small mouth. Found in freshwater streams and lakes. This species is not common in the park but is present in some of the park's glacial streams.

Forest Zone
Approximately 58 percent of the park is covered by forest. Low elevation forests are distributed from the park's boundary from 1,700 feet to 2,700 feet (approx. 500-800 meters) elevation and are dominated by western hemlock, Douglas fir, and western red-cedar.
Ancient old-growth forest thrives in
Mount Rainier's lower elevations. This huge Douglas fir (Park Ranger for scale at bottom, left) grows along the Twin Firs trail.

Subalpine Zone

At the upper elevations of high elevation forests, trees become less dense as the forest transitions into subalpine parkland. The subalpine parkland covers approximately 23 percent of the park; vegetation in this zone is a mosaic of tree clumps and herbaceous meadows extending from forest line to tree line.

(Subalpine parkland features a mix of trees scattered across meadow, like this section of huckleberry shrub near Paradise. The shrub turns brilliant red in the fall, while the trees are dusted with early-season snow.)

Subalpine Meadows
Lush meadows, part of the subalpine parkland, ring Mount Rainier at elevations from 5,000 feet to about 7,000 feet (approx. 1500-2100 meters). The meadows are a favorite spectacle for park visitors, who flock to the mountain to see the elaborate wildflower displays blooming in the meadows.

Sitka valerian, lupine, pasqueflower seedheads, American bistort, broadleaf arnica, and other wildflower perennials bloom abundantly in a meadow near.

Alpine Zone
The alpine zone extends from treeline to the mountain's summit. Permanent snow and ice covers about 50 percent of the zone. Alpine vegetation covers the remainder, divided into four broad vegetation types (Edwards 1980): fell fields, talus slopes, snow beds, and heather communities. Talus slopes and snow beds have small, well-spaced groups of plants that are often overlooked by park visitors and casual observers. The type and location of vegetation in the alpine zone is controlled by length of the growing season, slope, and aspect (exposure to the sun). Talus slopes and ridge tops are among the first areas free of snow and thus have the longest growing season. Snow beds have the shortest growing season and may not be snow-free every year. Fell fields and heather communities have an intermediate growing season. Fell fields are areas with gentle slopes covered by small rocks, and small, dispersed groups of plants such as sedges, penstemons, and asters. The heather types are the oldest known communities in the park. Some heather communities have persisted in the park for up to 10,000 years.

Penstemon, Menzie's
Penstemon davidsonii var. Menziesii
Unlike the related Cascade Penstemon (Penstemon serrulatus) which has tall stems, this Penstemon species forms dense mats that can be up to 20 inches (50 cm) across. It has short oval leaves, less than an inch in length, along the short stems with several blue-purple flowers. Found tucked into cliff crevices and rocky slopes, between 5,000-8,000 feet (1,524-2,438 m).

Pink mountain heather (Phyllodoce empetriformis) flowering near Paradise

  • Trophic Web

  • Sources of Information

No comments:

Post a Comment