The western and eastern Sierra Nevada have substantially different species of plants and animals, because the east lies in the rain shadow of the crest.
Magma from the melting oceanic plate rose in plumes (plutons) deep underground, their combined mass forming what is called the Sierra Nevada batholith.
A unique peculiarity of the Sierra Nevada is that, under certain wind conditions, a large round tube of air begins to roll on the southeast side.
The Sierra Nevada (Spanish for "snowy mountain range") is a major mountain range of the western United States.
National Parks and Monuments within the Sierra Nevada include Yosemite National Park, Kings Canyon National Park, Sequoia National Park, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Devils Postpile National Monument.
By the time of non-Native exploration, the inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada were the Paiute tribe on the east side and the Mono and Sierra Miwok tribe on the western side.
By 1860, even though the California Gold Rush populated the flanks of the Sierra Nevada, most of the Sierra remained unexplored.
The Sierra Nevada is divided into a number of biotic zones.
Uplift of the Sierra Nevada continues today, especially along its eastern side.
King later recounted his adventures over the Kings-Kern divide in his book Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada.
The Sierra Nevada stretches 400 miles (650 km), from Fredonyer Pass in the north to Tehachapi Pass in the south.
The Sierra Nevada casts the valleys east of the Sierra in a rain shadow, which makes Death Valley and Owens Valley "the land of little rain.
The Sierra Nevada, home to the largest trees in the world—the Giant Sequoias—hosts four national parks, nine national forests, 32 state parks, and approximately 5,300 square miles (13,700 kmІ) of protected wilderness areas.
Wetlands in the Sierra Nevada occur in valley bottoms throughout the range, and are often hydrologically linked to nearby lakes and rivers through seasonal flooding and groundwater movement.
In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, sighting the Santa Cruz Mountains while off the peninsula of San Francisco, gave them the name Sierra Nevada meaning "snowy mountain range" in Spanish.
By 65 million years ago, the proto-Sierra Nevada was worn down to a range of rolling low mountains, a few thousand feet high.
About 4 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada started to form and tilt to the west.
Archaeological evidence suggests that petroglyphs found in the region of the Sierra Nevada were created by people of the Martis Complex.
Many recent world altitude records set in unpowered aircraft were set in the Sierra Nevada Wave, most flown from Mojave Airport.
The height of the mountains in the Sierra Nevada gradually increases from north to south.