Chapter 2 - Physical Features

Jefferson is located in a rugged area - the cascade and klamath mountain ranges as well as Klamath and Rogue river valleys effectively isolate it from the surrounding regions. Its large physical distance to other populated areas also isolates Jefferson. This isolation has played a crucial role in the regions history and development, and is described in the settlement section of this blog.

Below are some of the main physical features of Jefferson.

The coastal area

The coastal area can be classified as marine west coast (humid, with westerly winds, high precipitation, moderate temperature, and predictable fog). The coast itself is characterized by rocky terrain, steep cliffs, and cold, turbulent water.

The Southern Cascades

The Southern Cascades extend up from northern California to British Columbia. The Cascades are a portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is common (Mt. Saint Helens in 1921, Lassen Peak in 1980). Mt. Shasta is highest mountain in Jefferson state, reaching 14,179 FT (4,322 M), and is dormant. Soils include Alfisols, Andisols, Inceptisols, and Ultisols.

The Klamath Mountains

The Klamath Mountains are located west of the Cascade Range and extend as high as 9,002 FT (2,744 M) at Thompson Peak. These areas tend to have cold winters with heavy snowfall followed by warm summers with little rainfall. This climate, along with the highly diverse geology (large areas of serpentine and marble) allows for some unique flora. Endemic species such as Lawson's Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana), Brewer's Spruce (Picea breweriana) and Kalmiopsis (Kalmiopsis leachiana), are examples of species that have adapted to living only in the conditions that the Klamath Mountains help provide. Soil types include Alfisols, Entisols, Inceptisols, and Ultisols.

The Modoc Plateau

The Modoc Plateau is a strange, sometimes twisted looking landscape which includes features such as lava tube caves, ice caves, glass flows, lava flows, meadows, ponds, and cinder cones. Located in the southeastern part of Jefferson (north east California), the Modoc Plateau has seasonal lakes and is home to large herds of mule deer, rocky mountain elk, and wild horses. The climate in semiarid - it is in the rain shadow of the Cascades to its immediate west. Soil types include Alfisols, Andisols, Aridisols, Entisols, Inceptisols, Mollisols, and Vertisols.

The Rogue River

The Rogue River is of the the regions major waterways. Originating high in the Cascades near Crater Lake, the Rogue River winds its way through the mountains towards the Pacific Ocean.

The Klamath River

The Klamath River originates in southern Oregon near the city of Klamath Falls. This river flows through the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean, and provides a perfect habitat for Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, steelhead trout, and rainbow trout. However, due to the construction of six separate dams and the diversion of much of the water for human use, fish populations have declined drastically.