|Great Divide Basin|
|Floor elevation||6,500 ft (2,000 m)|
|Area||3,959 sq mi (10,250 km2)|
The Great Divide Basin or Great Divide Closed Basin 40 miles (64 km) southwest of Lander, and the southeast corner is in the Sierra Madre Range near Bridger Pass, about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Rawlins.is an area of land in the Red Desert of Wyoming where none of the water falling as rain to the ground drains into any ocean, directly or indirectly. It is thus an endorheic basin, one of several in the United States that adjoin the Continental Divide. To the south and west of the basin is the Green River watershed, draining to the Gulf of California/Pacific Ocean; to the north and east is the North Platte watershed, draining to the Gulf of Mexico/Atlantic Ocean. The basin is very roughly rectangular in shape; the northwest corner is at Oregon Buttes near South Pass, about
Although the Great Divide Basin provides a relatively low and easy crossing of the Continental Divide, its aridity and endorheic nature were an obstacle to pioneers during the westward expansion of the United States; it was known as the Saline Plain around the 1870s.Consequently, the Oregon Trail detoured north over South Pass, and the Overland Trail detoured south over Bridger Pass. In contrast, during the construction of the first transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific was laid directly across the southern part of the basin. (The original railroad map labelled one point along this route as Bridgers Pass, giving rise to the still-common misconception that the railroad followed the Overland Trail.) Roughly the same route across the basin was later taken by the transcontinental highways traversing the region, namely the Lincoln Highway, U.S. 30, and Interstate 80. The basin is also traversed in a north-south direction by U.S. 287 and Wyoming 789. Even today the basin is very sparsely populated, the only incorporated town being Wamsutter, with a population of 451 at the 2010 census.
A westward traveler on Interstate 80 crosses from the Gulf of Mexico drainage to the Great Divide Basin at about 7,130 ft (2,170 m). While this is no longer recognized as a crossing of the Divide, it was evidently considered to be just that during the days of the Lincoln Highway and U.S. 30, and a monument to Henry B. Joy, the first president of the Lincoln Highway Association, was placed just south of this point along the old highway. (It was relocated to Sherman Summit in 2001 to protect it from increasing vandalism.) Further west, I-80 crosses to the Colorado River drainage at about . This is now recognized as the true location of the Continental Divide, although the corresponding highway sign is located about 2.6 miles away at . (The placement of the Divide on the west rim of the basin signifies that this otherwise endorheic region would drain to the east if it were to overflow.) Having finally left the Great Divide Basin behind, I-80 continues west and at , around 10 miles (16 km) west of Evanston, enters the vastly larger Great Basin, staying within it until the crest of the Sierra Nevada at Donner Summit., roughly 7 miles west of Rawlins. A highway sign marks this as a crossing of the Continental Divide, although that is a matter of interpretation. At about is the exit for Continental Divide Road, the highest point on I-80 within the Great Divide Basin, at an elevation of
The Great Divide Basin is part of the Greater Green River Basin, separated from the Green River Basin by the Rock Springs Uplift during Late Cretaceous into the Early Eocene.
While usually thought of as a single basin, the Great Divide Basin is actually several contiguous sub-basins, most notably those centered on Circle Bar Lake, Frewen Lake, Lost Creek Lake, Red Lake, and Separation Lake. The interior ridges separating these sub-basins have led to disagreement about the correct path of the Continental Divide across or around the basin.
The Lucite Hills form part of the western boundary of the basin, featuring Black Rock Butte and Emmons Cone. Alkali Flat and Greasewood Flat are directly to their northeast. Sand dunes lie in the central western part of the basin. In the southern part of the western basin, Red Desert Flat and Red Desert Basin are the major features. These are about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of the town of Wamsutter. In the northeast part of the Great Divide Basin is Chain Lakes Flat, southwest and downslope from Bairoil and Lamont.
The basin is a high desert dominated by sand dunes, bluffs and alkali flats. Flora and fauna include small trees in some ravines and the occasional shrub, along with many birds and pronghorn, mule deer, feral horses, and a desert elk herd. The basin includes uranium ore deposits and many oil and natural gas wells.There has been debate between those who wish to exploit the resources within the basin and those who wish to see at least parts of it officially designated as wilderness.
The Continental Divide of the Americas is the principal, and largely mountainous, hydrological divide of the Americas. The Continental Divide extends from the Bering Strait to the Strait of Magellan, and separates the watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those river systems that drain into the Atlantic Ocean and, along the northernmost reaches of the Divide, those river systems that drain into the Arctic Ocean and Hudson Bay.
A drainage basin is any area of land where precipitation collects and drains off into a common outlet, such as into a river, bay, or other body of water. The drainage basin includes all the surface water from rain runoff, snowmelt, hail, sleet and nearby streams that run downslope towards the shared outlet, as well as the groundwater underneath the earth's surface. Drainage basins connect into other drainage basins at lower elevations in a hierarchical pattern, with smaller sub-drainage basins, which in turn drain into another common outlet.
The Great Basin is the largest area of contiguous endorheic watersheds in North America. It spans nearly all of Nevada, much of Oregon and Utah, and portions of California, Idaho, Wyoming, and Baja California, Mexico. It is noted for both its arid climate and the basin and range topography that varies from the North American low point at Badwater Basin in Death Valley to the highest point of the contiguous United States, less than 100 miles (160 km) away at the summit of Mount Whitney. The region spans several physiographic divisions, biomes, ecoregions, and deserts.
The Platte River is a major river in the State of Nebraska. It is about 310 mi (500 km) long; measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows for over 1,050 miles (1,690 km). The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which itself is a tributary of the Mississippi River which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. The Platte over most of its length is a broad, shallow, meandering stream with a sandy bottom and many islands—a braided stream.
An endorheic basin is a drainage basin that normally retains water and allows no outflow to other external bodies of water, such as rivers or oceans, but converges instead into lakes or swamps, permanent or seasonal, that equilibrate through evaporation. They are also called closed or terminal basins or internal drainage systems or basins. Endorheic regions contrast with exorheic regions. Endorheic water bodies include some of the largest lakes in the world, such as the Caspian Sea, the world's largest inland body of water.
The Eastern Continental Divide or Eastern Divide or Appalachian Divide is a hydrographic divide in eastern North America that separates the easterly Atlantic Seaboard watershed from the westerly Gulf of Mexico watershed. The divide nearly spans the United States from south of Lake Ontario through the Florida peninsula, and consists of raised terrain including the Appalachian Mountains to the north, the southern Piedmont Plateau and lowland ridges in the Atlantic Coastal Plain to the south. Water including rainfall and snowfall, lakes, streams and rivers on the eastern/southern side of the divide drains to the Atlantic Ocean; water on the western/northern side of the divide drains to the Gulf of Mexico. The ECD is one of six continental hydrographic divides of North America which define several drainage basins, each of which drains to a particular body of water.
The Bear River is the largest tributary of the Great Salt Lake, draining a mountainous area and farming valleys northeast of the lake and southeast of the Snake River Plain. It flows through southwestern Wyoming, southeastern Idaho, and northern Utah, in the United States. Approximately 350 miles (560 km) long it is the longest river in North America that does not ultimately reach the sea.
The Uinta Mountains are an east-west trending chain of mountains in northeastern Utah extending slightly into southern Wyoming in the United States. As a subrange of the Rocky Mountains, they are unusual for being the highest range in the contiguous United States running east to west, and lie approximately 100 miles (160 km) east of Salt Lake City. The range has peaks ranging from 11,000–13,528 feet (3,353–4,123 m), with the highest point being Kings Peak, also the highest point in Utah. The Mirror Lake Highway crosses the western half of the Uintas on its way to Wyoming.
The Walker River is a river in west-central Nevada in the United States, approximately 62 miles (100 km) long. Fed principally by snowmelt from the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, it drains an arid portion of the Great Basin southeast of Reno and flows into the endorheic basin of Walker Lake. The river is an important source of water for irrigation in its course through Nevada; water diversions have reduced its flow such that the level of Walker Lake has fallen 160 feet (49 m) between 1882 and 2010. The river was named for explorer Joseph Reddeford Walker.
The Kern River, originally Rio de San Felipe, later La Porciuncula, is a river in the U.S. state of California, approximately 165 miles (270 km) long. It drains an area of the southern Sierra Nevada mountains northeast of Bakersfield. Fed by snowmelt near Mount Whitney, the river passes through scenic canyons in the mountains and is a popular destination for whitewater rafting and kayaking. It is the southernmost major river system in the Sierra Nevada, and is the only major river in the Sierra that drains in a southerly direction.
The San Jacinto River is a 42-mile-long (68 km) river in Riverside County, California. The river's headwaters are in Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The lower portion of the 765-square-mile (1,980 km2) watershed is urban and agricultural land. As a partially endorheic watershed that is contiguous with other Great Basin watersheds, the western side of the San Jacinto Basin is a portion of the Great Basin Divide.
The Traverse Gap is an ancient river channel occupied by Lake Traverse, Big Stone Lake and the valley connecting them at Browns Valley, Minnesota. It is located on the border of the U.S. states of Minnesota and South Dakota. Traverse Gap has an unusual distinction for a valley: it is crossed by a continental divide, and in some floods water has flowed across that divide from one drainage basin to the other. Before the Anglo-American Convention of 1818 it marked the border between British territory in the north and U.S. – or earlier, French – territory in the south.
The Red Desert is a high altitude desert and sagebrush steppe located in south central Wyoming, comprising approximately 9,320 square miles. Among the natural features in the Red Desert region are the Great Divide Basin, a unique endorheic drainage basin formed by a division in the Continental Divide, and the Killpecker Sand Dunes, the largest living dune system in the United States. In the 19th century, the Oregon, California and Mormon Trails crossed the Continental Divide at South Pass, just north of the Red Desert. Today, busy Interstate 80 bisects the desert's southern region while gas field roads cross the desert.
A continental divide is a drainage divide on a continent such that the drainage basin on one side of the divide feeds into one ocean or sea, and the basin on the other side either feeds into a different ocean or sea, or else is endorheic, not connected to the open sea. Every continent on earth except Antarctica has at least one continental drainage divide; islands, even small ones like Killiniq Island on the Labrador Sea in Canada, may also host part of a continental divide or have their own island-spanning divide.
The Great Basin Divide in the western United States is the ridgeline that separates the Great Basin from the Pacific Ocean watershed, which completely surrounds it.
The Sierra Madre Range is a mountain range in the western United States, located in south-central Wyoming and north-central Colorado. Geologically, it may be considered an extension of the Park Range of Colorado. South of the Great Divide Basin, the US Continental Divide runs along the Sierre Madre high points. Its western basins drain into the Colorado River and its eastern into the North Platte River. Buck Mountain is the highest peak in the range and lies within Colorado. Bridger Peak is its highest elevation on the Wyoming side of the range.
The Beaver River is a river in western Utah, 110 miles (180 km) long, that drains to Sevier Lake via the Sevier River.
Watersheds of North America are large drainage basins which drain to separate oceans, seas, gulfs, or endorheic basins. There are six generally recognized hydrological continental divides which divide the continent into seven principal drainage basins spanning three oceans and one endorheic basin. The basins are the Atlantic Seaboard basin, the Gulf of Mexico basin, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin, the Pacific basin, the Arctic basin, the Hudson Bay basin, and the Great Basin. Together, the principal basins span the continent with the exception of numerous smaller endorheic basins.
A triple divide or triple watershed is a point on the Earth's surface where three drainage basins meet. A triple divide results from the intersection of two drainage divides. Triple divides range from prominent mountain peaks to minor side peaks, down to simple slope changes on a ridge which are otherwise unremarkable. The elevation of a triple divide can be thousands of meters to barely above sea level. Triple divides are a common hydrographic feature of any terrain that has rivers, streams and/or lakes.
|work=(help) (Great Basin Divide, Washakie Basin)