Wind River Basin - Physiography and topography
The Wind River Basin as defined for this memorandum (Figure 3-2) covers an area of approximately 7,900 square miles; it is approximately 150 miles east-west and approximately 100 miles north-south. The structural basin is bordered on the southwest by the Wind River Range, on the northwest by the Absaroka Range and Washakie Range, on the north by the Owl Creek and Bridger Mountains, on the east by the Casper Arch and Rattlesnake Hills, and on the southeast by the Beaver Divide (Beaver Rim) section of the Casper Arch. Drainage from the basin is to the north where the Wind River transects the Owl Creek Mountains (Figure 3-2).
The topography within the interior of the basin is characterized by gently rolling plains broken by broad river valleys, narrow terraces, and badlands. Elevations within the basin interior range from 5,400 to 6,000 feet above sea level. The lowest elevation within the Wind River Basin is 4,336 feet, at the base of Boysen Dam where the Wind River enters Wind River Canyon. The bounding mountain ranges rise steeply on the western and northwestern sides of the basin and more gradually on the eastern and southern sides. Elevations in the mountains commonly exceed 10,000 feet, reaching a maximum of 13,804 feet at Gannet Peak in the Wind River Range. Total topographic relief in the Wind River Basin is approximately 9,500 feet.
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