Thursday, May 17, 2018

Colorado & Switzerland

Since I will be visiting Switzerland in the near future, I have begun to study its geography and noticed some significant similarities to Colorado.  Of course, they are both mountainous regions (the Rockies in Colorado and the Alps and Jura Mountains in Switzerland) and that topography gives birth to major river systems.

Here in Colorado, the mountain corridor stretches north to south through the central part of the State and also curves westward in Southwestern Colorado.  East of the Continental Divide the terrain is drained by the North Platte, South Platte, Arkansas and Rio Grande Rivers while the massive Colorado River Watershed drains the Western Slope.  The North and South Platte Rivers merge to become the Platte River in Nebraska (a major tributary of the Missouri), the Arkansas eventually enters the Lower Mississippi River and the Rio Grande empties into the Gulf of Mexico.  The Colorado almost reaches the Sea of Cortez.

The Alps stretch across southern Switzerland while the Jura Mountains rise along its northwestern border with France.  Between those ranges is the Switzerland Plateau, most of which drains ENE to the Rhine River Valley; a major European river, the Rhine flows northward to the North Sea.  Southwestern Switzerland is drained by the Rhone, which flows WNW to Geneva (passing through Lac Leman or Lake Geneva en route) and then turns southward through Southern France to reach the Mediterranean Sea.  A small area of southern Switzerland drains into the Po River, which flows eastward through Northern Italy to the Adriatic Sea and extreme southeastern Switzerland drains to the Danube, eventually reaching the Black Sea.  More on all of these geographic features in the weeks to come.