The mountains of the American West have some major differences. For starters, only the Rockies stand firm—no Coast Range, no Grand Canyon and most certainly no Sierra Nevada. The Rockies on Great Lakes Earth have a different road from ours. If we use it on our map, we’d see the Rockies starting in the Canadian village of Chesterfield and meandering to the next point, Rapid City, South Dakota. Once there, it makes another meander through the eastern borders of Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico before making one last meander across the Texas-Mexico border.

enter image description here

While our Rockies stand no taller than 14,440 feet above sea level, the tallest peak in a Great Lakes Rockies is measured to be 14,505 feet.

From there, only two simple questions stand:

  • Will the Midwest still be prairie?
  • Will it, in any way, alter the danger zone called Tornado Alley?
  • $\begingroup$ It's not a typo. It's the height of the tallest peak in the US, Mount Mitchell. But Mitchell belonged to the Sierra Nevada, not the Rockies. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2016 at 3:57
  • $\begingroup$ Okay, then it just seems like a red herring. I don't know lots about meteorology, but I find it hard to believe that 65 more feet for the tallest peak will have observable weather effects hundreds of miles away. I suggest you edit it out for that reason. $\endgroup$
    – nitsua60
    May 25, 2016 at 3:59

1 Answer 1


I assume you are hypothesizing that the Rockies move further east, effectively splitting the North American continent into two. I am also assuming that this process is happening though the meeting of two tectonic plates as it is now. If this is the case, the answers to your question are:

  • Yes, but...
  • Yes

For the first question, yes the Midwest would still be prairie but there would be a key difference, namely it would be the short grass prairie of Montana and Western Dakotas and not the tallgrass prairie of Illinois and Iowa. Basically, mountains create what's known as a rain shadow. As moist air moves towards a mountain, it rises becoming cool. Condensation happens, rain happens. Rising higher and higher, more moisture condenses and falls as rain until there is barely any left in the air. As the rain passes the mountain, the leeward side gets barely any rain and is now quite arid and desert like. One can see this in the Pacific Northwest with the Cascade Mountians; Eastern Washington, Oregon, and BC and Idaho are significantly drier than western Washington, Oregon, and BC. So basically, as the rockies move east, so does its rain shadow and the great plain effectively begin to look like eastern Montana and the Dakotas: arid, high plateaus.

For the second question, I am less certain of the science of tornadoes so take my ideas lightly. Basically, two things could possibly happen. One the one hand, moving the Rockies east could destroy tornado alley. This is because tornadoes need warm moist air which comes from the Gulf, cool dry air which comes from Canada, and warm dry air which comes from SW USA and Mexico (link). enter image description here

Moving the Rockies east could cut off the supply of warm dry air from SW USA and Mexico, killing off Tornado Alley. On the other hand, if the Appalachians still remain and moving the Rockies east does not cut off the supply of warm dry air, it could potentially make things worse as the two mountain ranges could act as a funnel concentrating the air masses into an even smaller location.

Hope this helps!

  • $\begingroup$ 1) You assumed correctly. 2) Honestly, so long as the Midwest is still a home where the buffalo roam, I don't care which prairie northeastern Nebraska would have. 3) This is part of a larger scheme, but one-at-a-time scenarios are the best to go. That said, I have made some changes to the West to aid the mitigation process. I've also made some changes to the Appalachians, so I don't know how much funneling we'll be talking here. $\endgroup$ May 25, 2016 at 4:19

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