Montana Earth Science Picture of the Week

Triple Divide Peak in Glacier National Park

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Like the Matterhorn . . .
The peaks shown in the photo are "glacial horns" located in Glacier National Park. These pyramid-shaped features are formed as three or more glaciers erode the sides of a single mountain. The larger peak in the background is Mt. Stimson and the smaller horn in the center is called Triple Divide Peak. Triple Divide Peak was so-named because runoff from each of its three sides drains to a different watershed. (Runoff is melted snow or other forms of precipitation that drain off the land.) Melted snow from the west slope (left side) flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, runoff from the northeast slope (right) flows toward the Hudson Bay, and the southwest slope (not shown) drains to the Pacific.

Dividing lines . . .
The photo was taken near a ridge separates the Gulf of Mexico and the Hudson Bay watersheds (drainage basins). Such areas are known as "divides". Divides are higher areas (not always distinct ridges) that separate drainage basins. The most famous divide, "The Continental Divide" (a.k.a. the Great Divide), is also shown in the photo.

More about Triple Divide Peak . . .
Click on the "Hot Link" below for a better look at Triple Divide Peak. Also, here is a more complete account of two hikes to the summit of Triple Divide Peak (including a linn to a photo tour).

Below: This is the divide between the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay watersheds. Click here to see a photo taken along the Gulf of Mexico-Hudson Bay divide, or here to see one taken along the Gulf of Mexico-Pacific divide (a.k.a. The Continental Divide).

Terms: erode, drainage basin


*A more detailed look at Triple Divide Peak
Next picture of the week

By Rod Benson
Earth Science Teacher at Helena high School

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