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sky island

sky island
 n.— «As breezes from the Gulf of Mexico lift over the Chiricahua Mountains, an exceptional amount of rain falls on this desert region, which has bee aptly called a “sky island.” The volcanic soil among the rock and ample shade produce an ideal microclimate for lush vegetation. Birds, animals, insects and reptiles live exceedingly well in such salubrious surroundings.» —“The Nameless Rocks in Arizona’s ‘Sky Island’” in Wilcox, Arizona New York Times Nov. 2, 1969. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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