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The Intermontane Basins and Plateaus, Natural Features
alluvial fans, Basaltic lava, Columbia Plateau, Colorado Plateau, range country
The geologic history within the Intermontane region varies by subregion. Basaltic lava covered the Columbia Plateau before a significant network of lakes deposited layers of silt. Faulting and warping created the present-day rugged and varied landscape. The Colorado Plateau features high plateaus and mesas dissected by extensive, steep-sided canyons. The remainder of the region consists of basin and range country, in which mountain ranges alternate with relatively flat basins. The mountain ranges are distinguished by block faulting, which gives them a rough, rectangular shape. The basins are characterized by features such as alluvial fans (soil or mineral deposits left by mountain streams that encountered flat terrain) and salt lakes. Perhaps the best known of these lakes is the Great Salt Lake.
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