Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V24, Page 612 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SELKIRK MOUNTAINS, a range in the S.E. of British Columbia, Canada, extending N. for about 200 M. from the American frontier with a breadth of about 8o m. and bounded E., W. and N. by the Columbia river. Though often spoken of as part of the Rocky Mountain system, they are really distinct, and belong to an older geological epoch; consisting mainly of crystalline or highly metamorphosed rocks, granites, gneiss, schists; their outline too is rounder and less serrated than that of the Rockies. On the S.E. is the Purcell range, with the main chain of the Rockies still farther E., and on the W. the Gold range, prolonged northward as the Cariboo Mountains. They do not rise much above to,000 ft., the highest peaks being Sir Donald (named after Lord Strathcona), 10,645 ft.; Macdonald (named after Sir John Macdonald), 9440 ft.; and Mount Tupper (after Sir Charles Tupper), 9030 ft. The scenery is wild and magnificent; below the snow-line, especially on the western side, the slopes are densely wooded, and enormous glaciers fill the upper valleys; of these the most celebrated is that of the Illecillewaet, near Glacier House, on the Canadian Pacific railway. The Selkirks are crossed by the railway at Rogers Pass, discovered in 1883. The engineering difficulties overcome are greater than at any other portion of the line, and the grades are in places very steep. A magnificent series of caverns, called the Nakimu Caves, occur in the Glacier Park Reserve not far from Glacier on the Canadian Pacific railway. These caves are formed by the Cougar Creek, and were first comprehensively surveyed in 1905-1906 (see the Canadian Surveyor-General's Report for that year).

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