Coast Ranges, series of mountain ranges along the Pacific coast of North America, extending from SE Alaska to Baja California; from 2,000 to 20,000 ft (610–6,100 m) high. The ranges include the St. Elias Mts. in SE Alaska and SW Yukon, which have the highest elevations; a partially submerged portion that forms the islands off the coast of SE Alaska and British Columbia; the Olympic Mts. in Washington; the Coast Ranges in Oregon; the Klamath Mts., Coast Ranges, and Los Angeles Ranges in California; and the Peninsular Range in Baja California. The Coast Ranges are rugged, geologically young mountains formed by faulting and folding and are composed mainly of granitic rock; the northern third is glaciated. N of San Francisco the ranges are humid and thickly forested; the southern parts are dry and covered with brush and grass. Lumbering, mining, and tourism are important.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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