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Calliopenjo
11-13-2008, 03:03 AM
Is it possible to have a meadow on a mountain top? Not all mountaintops are pointy are they? So it's possible to have a meadow that contains a lake?

Mr Flibble
11-13-2008, 03:17 AM
Yup certainly is - see alpine meadows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpine_meadow), a very distinct habitat, or tarns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarn_%28lake%29) - lakes within large hills / mountains. Just remember that often a break in geography often mirrors a break in geology ( underlying rock). But sure, mountains aren't pushed up equally in all directions, and older mountains will erode, become less 'pointy' and more rounded, and maybe if there's softer rock in the middle that will wear away first.

No probs :)

Mike Martyn
11-13-2008, 03:18 AM
I've done a lot of back packing in British columbia's mountains and there are certainly a lot of alpine lakes. I forget the name and I can get it if you need it but there are a couple at the top of a peak about 5000 ft. up about 50 or so miles north of Vancouver That's where the tree line is.

Both of them are oval about 100 by 200 ft across and seperated by a 5 ft tall ridge. They fill from snow melt and rain and warm up to almost bearable temperature later in the season. From mid July to mid August (which is when the snow can fly) The surrounding meadows are brilliant with wild flowers. Marmots are all over the place chowing down on the vegetation fatting themselves for winter while avoiding the occasional bare. A lot of whiskey jacks too whihc are sort of a greyish version of a blue jay. They are cheeky enough to swoop down and take trail mix right out of your hand.

Calliopenjo
11-13-2008, 03:35 AM
:Hug2:Thanks guys.

Kathie Freeman
11-13-2008, 08:47 PM
Depends on the height of the mountaintop. Too high and all you get is rock and snow. Your meadow has to be well below the timberline to sustain herbaceous (as opposed to woody) growth.

FennelGiraffe
11-13-2008, 10:15 PM
Depends on the height of the mountaintop. Too high and all you get is rock and snow. Your meadow has to be well below the timberline to sustain herbaceous (as opposed to woody) growth.

While I agree that mountain peaks high enough to retain snow cover year-round have little vegetation of any kind, I believe you have the information about the treeline backwards. Alpine meadows, by definition, are grasslands above the treeline. Small plants, including grasses and flowering annuals, can grow at higher elevations than trees. The winter snow cover actually acts as insulation. Trees, being taller, remain exposed to the much colder air.

A separate factor is that mountains which are very steep and jagged don't allow for much soil accumulation, providing few locations for plant growth. However, those are usually very young mountains. Older mountains, having undergone more weathering, are rounder and softer, and have more soil-filled areas available.

Mike Martyn
11-13-2008, 10:32 PM
While I agree that mountain peaks high enough to retain snow cover year-round have little vegetation of any kind, I believe you have the information about the treeline backwards. Alpine meadows, by definition, are grasslands above the treeline. Small plants, including grasses and flowering annuals, can grow at higher elevations than trees. The winter snow cover actually acts as insulation. Trees, being taller, remain exposed to the much colder air.

A separate factor is that mountains which are very steep and jagged don't allow for much soil accumulation, providing few locations for plant growth. However, those are usually very young mountains. Older mountains, having undergone more weathering, are rounder and softer, and have more soil-filled areas available.

Yes, alpine meadows are above the treeline.

In terms of weathering, it also depends where you are. My experience is primarily with Coastal range by the Pacific ocean above the 49th parralel. Although the Coastal range is comparatively young, until the end of the last glaciaition about 8000 years ago, it was covered with a couple of miles of ice (unlike say, Fresno :)).

All that grinding ice rounded off the tops and left lots of fertile glacial till in the hollows for plants to grow on once the ice had receeded.

dclary
11-13-2008, 10:35 PM
Alpine meadows are quite common in the sierras. Not at the very tops of the mountains, but in the gaps between them.

The most popular (due to ease of access, probably) is Yosemite's Tuolomne Meadows.

Here's a picture of Tuolomne I wish I'd taken, but I'm not that good of a photographer.

http://www.verglasphoto.com/images/large/yosemite080510.jpg

Smiling Ted
11-13-2008, 11:14 PM
There are even what they call sky islands. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sky_island)

Fern
11-14-2008, 08:17 AM
Google mesa

Kathie Freeman
11-14-2008, 08:19 PM
Tuolomne obviously is not above the treeline, as trees are quite visible next to and above the meadow in the photo.

StephanieFox
11-14-2008, 11:23 PM
Mountain meadow:
http://www.blueridgeparkway.org/directory.htm


and

http://www.virginiawind.com/virginia_travel/big_meadows.asp

One of my favorite places!