Banana Belt In the Pacific Northwest

We live in Idaho’s Treasure Valley, more specifically, Boise. Len flies out of the Nampa Municipal Airport—just a hop, skip, and a jump from home. So it was with eye-popping interest that I read an article stating the following:

The Treasure Valley area around Nampa is known as Idaho’s Banana Belt.

The article defined a banana belt as, “Any segment of a larger geographic region that enjoys warmer weather conditions than the region as a whole, especially in the wintertime.” That’s certainly true for the area we live in.

Kari Prassack, a paleontologist at Hagerman Fossil Beds, elaborated: “It’s called a “banana belt” because it is an area that receives warmer weather and less snowfall than the areas surrounding it—like a belt of the ‘tropics’ in Idaho. 

“This happens because warm air lifts upwards over the mountains, expands and cools, producing rain. And then, as drier air, it descends along the other side—in this case into the valley here where the air compresses and warms.”

I was surprised to learn that we live in the banana belt of the Pacific Northwest. Furthering my flummox, I learned that we live relatively close to a fossiliferous Pliocene-aged site!

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve discovered about your geographic location?

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