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  • The Sierra Nevada is a mountain range in the western United States, between the Central Valley of California and the Basin and Range Province. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Carson Range spur lies primarily in Nevada. The Sierra runs 400 miles north-to-south, and is approximately 70 miles across east-to-west. Notable Sierra features include Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America; Mount Whitney at 14,505 ft, the highest point in the contiguous United States; and Yosemite Valley sculpted by glaciers out of 100-million-year-old granite. The Sierra is home to three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments. These areas include Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks; and Devils Postpile National Monument. The character of the range is shaped by its geology and ecology. More than 100 million years ago during the Nevadan orogeny, granite formed deep underground. The range started to uplift 4 Ma ago, and erosion by glaciers exposed the granite and formed the light-colored mountains and cliffs that make up the range. Wikipedia

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