USA: Washington favorites
240 images Created 2 Apr 2011
Below are favorite Washington photos by Tom Dempsey (see separate gallery of panorama proportioned images). Washington is one of the most ecologically and scenically diverse states in the USA. In altitude, the land varies from sea level to 14,411 feet at the summit of Mount Rainier, an awesome active volcano covered in glaciers. The Carbon Glacier flows to a lower altitude than any other glacier in the Lower 48 states. A huge glacier actually covered Seattle 3,000 feet deep in ice only 15,000 years ago, gouging the scenic fjord of present-day Puget Sound. Washington lies in a transitional latitude between sub-Arctic northern forests and warmer drier regions. Moist temperate air masses sweep onto the west coast and hit the spectacular Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, dumping heavy rain on the southwestward (windward) slopes, creating dense temperate rainforest. The mountains wring the air dry, creating extensive rain shadows to their east and northeast, such as in the sunny San Juan Islands, and in the desert lands of Eastern Washington, irrigated by the mighty Columbia River. Washington's soil varies from shallow forest layers to windblown sand and agriculturally rich loess with basaltic outcroppings. Rocks vary widely, with tectonic uplifts of andesite, argillite, or granite. Washington boasts a tremendous variety of landscapes, native plants, and wildflowers. See the wonders!