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Geology
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Generalized Geologic Map of the Conterminous United States
North America Shaded Relief
 

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  The North American Tapestry of Time and Terrain

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Sierra Nevada

  Close-up of
 the Sierra Nevada mountain range, with the California Central ValleyCalifornia's Sierra Nevada, Spanish for "Snowy Mountain," is a massive block of granite, called a batholith. The Sierras stretches for 560 km (350 miles) and tilts to the west. Ranging in height from 4348 m (14,494 ft) high Mt. Whitney in the east nearly to sea level in the west, it contains the spectacular Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. The granite batholith intruded the crust during the Mesozoic and was uplifted and faulted in the Tertiary during the formation of the Basin and Range province to the east. Eroded material from the Sierra Nevada has filled the Central Valley of California, creating conditions for extensive agriculture and the 1849 Gold Rush.