Mountains


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Vindhya Range

, Mountains
a mountain range in central India: separates the Ganges basin from the Deccan, marking the limits of northern and peninsular India. Greatest height: 1113 m (3651 ft.)

Mountains

 

(tectonic mountains), sections of the earth’s surface that are raised high above the adjacent plains and show within them considerable and abrupt variations in elevation. Mountains are confined to mobile areas of the earth’s crust having a folded structure. They extend for many hundreds and even thousands of kilometers in the form of comparatively narrow zones. the so-called geosynclinal belts. Because mountains are formed as the result of complex tectonic crystal disturbances, they are frequently called tectonic mountains.

Depending on the nature of crustal deformations. tectonic mountains are classified into the following types: folded, block, and folded-block. Folded mountains occur in geosynclinal systems that were initially sea basins with subsiding bottoms on which beds of sedimentary rock many kilometers thick accumulated. These beds are then collapsed into folds and penetrated by intrusions of magma. and the entire young folded zone experiences an uplift that leads to the formation of mountains. Usually in the early stages of development, and sometimes also in later stages. the relief of mountains corresponds to tectonic structures; mountain ranges correspond to anticlines and anticlinoria, and longitudinal valleys correspond to synclines and synclinoria. This correspondence may be disturbed later. Block mountains occur in the more ancient folded regions that have experienced repeated mountain-forming processes. These sectors of the earth’s crust are usually broken into individual blocks, some of which are uplifted in the form of horsts and form mountain ranges and massifs, while others sink in the form of grabens that develop into intermontane troughs and tectonic valleys. Most often, however, one encounters folded-block mountains in which folding and fractures are equally significant in the formation of the relief.

Mountains stretch in a straight line (the Pyrenees and the Greater Caucasus) or form arcs of various radii of curvature (the Carpathians. Alps, and Himalayas) and in some cases may reach elevations of 6,000 m, 7,000 m. 8.000 m, and more above sea level. The highest peak in the world, Chomolungma (Everest) in the Himalayas, has an elevation of 8.848 m. while the highest peak in the USSR. Communism Peak in the northwestern Pamir, is 7.495 m. The observed limitation on mountain elevations was first noted at the end of the 19th century by the German scientist A. Penck, who introduced the concept of the upper level of denudation, or the summit plain. However, the causes of this phenomenon still remain unclear.

Mountains are separated from the adjacent plains by a closed line formed by the foot of the mountains. This line is not always sharply expressed: sometimes a transitional zone develops between the plain and the mountains in the form of a rocky train composed of the products of mountain decomposition, and sometimes there is a zone of foothills. Tectonic processes, river erosion. and the action of glaciers dissect mountains into mountain chains and ranges, intermontane tectonic depressions and highly uplifted peneplanation planes, longitudinal valleys (coinciding with the strike of the chains) and transverse valleys, and peaks and saddle passes. On the basis of the pattern formed by these relief elements the following types of horizontal dissection of mountains are distinguished: parallel, feathered, radial, imbricate, branching (virgation). and lattice-like. By their morphology mountains are divided into three types: low mountains (or hills), medium-elevation mountains. and high (or alpine) mountains. In low mountains the amplitudes of elevations are so small that vertical zoning of vegetation is absent or weakly expressed (for example, the Badkhyz and Karabil’ in southern Turkmenia and the Kazakh Hills). Medium-elevation mountains are mountains that usually have not experienced glaciation; they have soft rounded profiles in the parts near the summits and marked vertical belts (the southern and middle Urals and the Carpathians). High mountains rise above the current snow line and have experienced more intensive glaciation in the past and are therefore characterized by pointed and sharp shapes in the summit parts, created by glacial action (the Caucasus and the Alps). The division of mountains into low. medium, and high does not. as one might think judging by the terminology, describe the absolute elevation of the mountains. There are no uniform and generally accepted elevation lines that would make possible the division of the mountains of the entire world into such categories because these elevation lines change depending on the geographical latitude and the climate. Therefore, for example, forms of glacial morphology (alpine relief) are developed in the Polar Urals despite the fact that elevations there do not exceed 1,500 m, whereas in the mountains of East Africa, where arid climatic conditions exist, glacial relief forms are located at elevations of about 5,000 m.

Mountain types depend on the relationships between antagonistic factors that change with time, such as tectonic uplifts and the combined action of exogenous processes (denudation). Ascending or descending development of the relief of mountains occurs depending on which of these groups of forces predominates. With ascending development the effect of tectonic uplift is greater than the effect of destructive forces: the mountains “grow,” the depth of erosional dissection increases, rivers are characterized by ungraded longitudinal profiles. steep and sharp relief forms are created, and the products of mountain decomposition are rapidly removed under the influence of gravity from the places in which they formed, resulting in a large degree of slope denudation. especially under the conditions of sharply continental desert climates. If exogenous factors predominate over the uplift, descending development begins: the mountains become lower, washdown processes are weakened, slopes become more gentle. the contrast of the relief is smoothed out, the longitudinal profile of rivers grows more level, and accumulative formations develop intensively. In this way mountains that had the alpine type of relief may be transformed into medium-elevation mountains, and medium-elevation mountains may be transformed into low ones. During a period of uplift mountains experience ascending development: then with the cessation or weakening of the uplift a period of descending development begins.

A large part in the morphology of some mountains is played by the results of volcanic activity, both in the current age and in earlier ages of earth history. This volcanic activity includes lava flows and sheets, volcanic cones, and the like. which sometimes occupy vast areas (for example, the Armenian Highland. the Columbia Plateau, and other highlands and plateaus).

The concept of the morphological age of mountains. which enables us to judge the history of the geological development of mountains. is linked with their morphology. Thus, the Tien-Shan. which arose as a folded mountain area mainly at the end of the Paleozoic, experienced a prolonged period of descending development during the Mesozoic and was virtually transformed into a plain (peneplain). This completed the first cycle of its morphological development. During the age of alpine orogenesis the Tien-Shan experienced a powerful secondary uplift. and broad. flat folds complicated by fractures were formed. A rejuvenation of the relief began. It ended in the Anthropogenic period when the forms of glacial morphogenesis were created in its summit parts. The Tien-Shan was transformed into a high-mountain area with alpine relief, and traces of the first morphological cycle are seen in it only in a few places where shreds of the Mesozoic peneplain (syrty-elevated watersheds), which was uplifted to 3,6004,000 m, are preserved. Thus, the Tien-Shan mountains in a morphological sense are young and still continue in the stage of ascending development, although geologically speaking they were formed long ago. Therefore, in addition to the morphological age of mountains, one should also distinguish the geological age, by which is meant the time of the first uplift of the mountains from the geosyncline and occurrence of folded structure in them. In accordance with the main mountain-forming ages that have occurred in earth history, mountains of Baikalian (end of the Proterozoic), Caledonian (first half of the Paleozoic), Hercynian (second half of the Paleozoic), Mesozoic, and Alpine (Cenozoic) geological age are distinguished.

Mountains that have been uplifted from geosynclines, epigeosynclinal mountains, are young in both the geological and morphological senses (for example, the Alps, Carpathians, and the Caucasus). In distinction from them, mountains that have gone through an age of breaking down and peneplain formation and have again been uplifted as the result of tectonic activation of the earth’s crust are called rejuvenated or epiplatform mountains (the Altai, Tien-Shan, and Rocky Mountains). Among the rejuvenated mountains some investigators (V. E. Khain, USSR) distinguish peri-geosynclinal mountains, which are located on the periphery of young folded mountains, and perioceanic, which are located along the periphery of oceanic troughs.

Table 1. Best-known mountain peaks and volcanoes in the world
Name, locationElevation (m)
EUROPE
Ai-Petri, Crimean Mountains....................1.233
Aletschhorn, Alps....................4,195
Aneto, Pico de, Pyrenees....................3,404
Ben Nevis, Great Britain....................1.343
Bernina Peak, Alps....................4,049
Blanc, Mount, Alps....................4,807
Bobotov Kuk, Dinaric Alps....................2,522
Botev Peak, Stara Planina (Balkan Mountains)....................2,376
Brocken, Harz....................1.142
Chasnachorr, Khibiny....................1,191
Cinto, Mount, Corsica....................2,710
Corno, Apennines....................2,914
Dore Mountains, French Central Massif....................1,886
Dufourspitze, Alps....................4,634
Etna, Sicily....................3,340
Finsteraarhorn, Alps....................4,274
Galdhøpiggen, Scandinavian Uplands....................2,469
Gerlachovka, Carpathians....................2,655
Goverla, Carpathians....................2,061
Gran Paradiso, Alps....................4.061
Grossglockner, Alps....................3,797
Hekla, Iceland....................1.491
Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland....................2,119
lamantau, Urals....................1.640
Ida, Crete....................2,456
Jungfrau, Alps....................4,158
Kebnekaise, Scandinavian Uplands....................2,123
Matterhorn, Alps....................4,477
Mulhacen, Sierra Nevada (Iberian Peninsula)....................3,478
Musala, Rlia Mountains (Bulgaria)....................2,925
Narodnaia, Urals....................1,894
Newton, Spitsbergen....................1.712
Olympus, Olympic Mountains (Balkan Peninsula)....................2,911
Parnassos, Parnassos Mountains (Balkan Peninsula)....................2,457
Perdido, Mount, Pyrenees....................3,355
Roman-Kosh, Crimean Mountains....................1,545
Snezka, Sudetes....................1.602
Stromboli, Lipari Islands....................926
Triglav, Alps....................2,863
Vesuvius, Apennine Peninsula....................1.277
Viso, Mount, Alps....................3,841
Vulcano, Lipari Islands....................499
Weisshorn, Alps....................4,505
ASIA
Alaid, Atlasov Island (Kuril Islands)....................2,339
Anai Mudi, Western Ghats....................2,698
Annapurna, Himalayas....................8,078
Apo, Mindanao (Philippines)....................2,965
Aragats, Lesser Caucasus....................4,090
Asahi, Hokkaido....................2,290
Avachinskaia Sopka, Kamchatka Peninsula....................2,741
Belukha, Altai....................4,506
Bogdo-Ula, Tien-Shan....................5,445
Broad, Karakoram....................8,047
Chomolungma (Everest), Himalayas....................8,848
Chong-Karlyktag (Monomakh’s Cap), Kunlun....................7,720
Cho Oyu, Himalayas....................8,189
Cilo Daği, Hakari Mountains....................4,168
Communism Peak, Pamir....................7,495
Dankov Peak, Tien-Shan....................5,982
Demavend, Elburz Mountains....................5,604
Demirkazik, Taurus....................3,726
Dhaulagiri, Himalayas....................8,221
Dykhtau, Greater Caucasus....................5,203
El’brus, Greater Caucasus....................5,633
Enkh-Taivan, Khangai....................3,905
Erciyes Daği, Anatolian Plateau....................3,770
Fuji, Mount, Honshu....................3,776
Gasherbrum, Karakoram....................8,035
Godwin Austen, Karakoram....................8,611
Gosainthan, Himalayas....................8,013
Great Ararat, Armenian Highland....................5,165
Hazar, Iranian Uplands....................4,420
Hidden (Gasherbrum I), Karakoram....................8,068
Hodür Shu’ayb, Arabian Peninsula....................3,600
Ikhe-Bogdo (Barun-Bogdo-Ula), Gobi Altai....................3,957
Kaçkar, Pontic Mountains....................3,937
Kamen’, Putorana Mountains (Central Siberian Plateau)....................1.701
Kanchenjunga, Himalayas....................8,585
Karakol’skii Peak, Tien-Shan....................5,216
Karl Marx Peak, Pamir....................6,726
Kazbek, Greater Caucasus....................5,047
Kerintji, Sumatra....................3,800
Khan-Tengri, Tien-Shan....................6,995
Kinabalu, Borneo....................4,101
Kliuchevskaia Sopka, Kamchatka Peninsula....................4,750
Kodar, Stanovoe Uplands....................2,999
Kontalakskii Golets, lablonovyi Range....................1.702
Koriakskaia Sopka, Kamchatka Peninsula....................3,456
Korzhenevskii Peak, Pamir....................7,105
Krakatoa, Malay Archipelago....................813
Kronotskaia Sopka. Kamchatka Peninsula....................3,528
Kuju, Kyushu....................1.788
Kungkashan (Minya Konka), Sino-Tibetan Mountains....................7,590
Kungur, Kunlun....................7,579
Kutang, Himalayas....................8,126
Kyzyl-Taiga, Zapadnyi Saian....................3,121
Lenin Peak, Pamir-Alai....................7,134
Lhotse, Himalayas....................8,545
Lopatin, Mount, Sakhalin Island....................1,609
Makalu, Himalayas....................8,470
Mayakovsky Peak, Pamir....................6,096
Mayon, Luzon (Philippines)....................2,421
Mihrabi, Turkmen-Khurasan Mountains....................3,314
Munkh-Khairkhan, Mongolian Altai....................4,362
Munku-Sardyk, Vostochnyi Saian....................3,491
Mus-Khaia, Suntar-Khaiata (Verkhoiansk Mountain Region)....................2,959
Muztagh Ata, Kunlun....................7,555
Nairamdal (Khyitun), Mongolian Altai....................4,356
Nanga Parbat, Himalayas....................8,126
Nyenchen Tanglha, Trans-Himalayas....................7,088
Pait’oushan, Manchurian-Korean Mountains....................2,744
Pidurutalagala, Ceylon....................2,524
Pobeda, Cherskii Mountains............3,147
Pobeda Peak, Tien-Shan...............7,439
Pulog, Luzon (Philippines)..............2,928
Qurnet es Sauda, Lebanon Mountains.................3,083
Rantekombola, Celebes (Malay Archipelago).......................3,455
Revolution Peak, Pamir..............6,974
Saramati, Patkai Range (southern Asia)......................3,824
Savalan, Iranian Uplands................................4,821
Semeru, Java (Malay Archipelago).........................3,676
Shiveluch, Kamchatka Peninsula..............................3,283
Shkhara, Greater Caucasus.............................5,058
Skalistii Golets, Stanovoi Range...........................2,412
Suphan, Armenian Highland...........................4,434
Taftan, Iranian Uplands..........................4,042
Taipaishan, Tsinling Mountains.........................4,107
Talgar, Tien-Shan......................4,973
Tambora, Sumbawa (Malay Archipelago).................2,821
Tirich Mir, Hindu Kush.............................7,690
Topko, Dzhugdzhur........................1,906
Tordoki-lani, Sikhote-Alin’.............................2,077
Ulugh Muztagh, Kunlun....................................7,723
Ushba, Greater Caucasus .........................4,695
Yüshan, Taiwan.................................3,997
Zardeh Kuh, Zagros................................4,548
AFRICA
Cameroon, West Africa ......................4,070
Elgon, East African Plateau.....................4,321
Fogo, Cape Verde Islands................................2,829
Karisimbi, Virunga Range................................4,507
Kenya, East African Plateau...................................5,199
Kilimanjaro, East African Plateau ...........................5,895
Margherita, Ruwenzori Massif............................5,109
Meru, East African Plateau.............................4,567
Neiges, Piton des, Réunion Island...................3,069
Nyiragongo, Virunga Range.................................3,470
Ras Dashan, Ethiopian Highlands...........................4,620
Teide, Canary Islands...................................3,718
thabana Ntlenyana, Drakensberg..............................3,482
Toubkal, Atlas Mountains.............................4,165
NORTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA
Acatenango, Cordilleras................................3,975
Blanca Peak, Cordilleras.............................4,363
Chiriqui, Panama....................................3,478
Duarte, Hispaniola...................................3,175
Gunnbjorn, Greenland..................................3,700
Irazú, Cordilleras..................................3,432
Izalco, Cordilleras..............................1,965
Katmai, Alaskan Peninsula...................................2,047
Kennedy, Cordilleras..................................4,237
Lassen Peak Cordilleras.................................3,187
Logan Cord.Meras.....................................6,050
Longs Peak, Cordilleras............................4,345
McKinley Cord-lleras..............................6,193
Mitchell, Appalachians.................................2,037
Orizaba, Mexican Plateau................................5,700
Paricutin, Mexican Plateau..............................3,292
Pelée, Mount, Martinique.............................1,397
Popocatepetl, Mexican Plateau..............................5,452
Rainier, Cordilleras..............................4,392
Robson, Cordilleras.....................................3,954
St Elias, Mount, Cordilleras.......................5,488
Sanford, Cordilleras.................................4,939
Shasta, Cordilleras.........................................4,317
Soufrière, Guadeloupe Island............................1,467
Tajumulco, Cordilleras..............................4,217
Whitney, Cordilleras...................................4,418
SOUTH AMERICA
Aconcagua, Andes...................................6,960
Ancohuma Andes.................................6,550
Antisana, Andes...........................5,705
Ausangate Andes..............................6,384
Azufre, Andes......................................5,680
Bohvar, Andes...............................5,007
Chlmborazo, Andes...............................6,262
Coropuna, Andes.............................6,425
Cotopaxi, Andes.................................5,897
cristobal,colon, Andes................................5,800
El Libertador, Andes................................6,720
Guallatiri, Andes..................................6,060
Huascaran, Andes.............................6,768
Huila, Andes.......................................5,750
Illampú, Andes.....................................6,485
Illimani, Andes...............................6,462
Llaima, Andes.....................................3,060
Llullaillaco, Andes...............................6,723
Maipo, Andes...................................5,323
Mercedario, Andes...............................6,770
Misti, Andes...................................5,821
Ojos del Salado, Andes.........................6,880
Osorno, Andes.................................2,660
Ruiz, Andes...............................5,400
Sajama, Andes................................6,780
Sangay, Ecuador.................................5,230
San Pedro. Andes...................................6,165
Tupungato, Andes................................6,800
Yerupaja, Andes.....................................6,632
AUSTRALIA AND OCEANIA
Cook, New Zealand.........................3,756
Jaja, New Guinea............................5,029
Kosciusko, Australian Alps.........................2,230
Mauna Kea, Hawaiian Islands...........................4,205
Mauna Loa, Hawaiian Islands...........................4,170
Ruapehu, New Zealand....................................2,796
Trikora, New Guinea.....................................4,750
Wilhelm. New Guinea................................4,694
ANTARCTICA
Amundsen, Mount, eastern Antarctica.....................................1,445
Erebus, eastern Antarctica......................................3,794
Fridtjof Nansen, eastern Antarctica...............................4,070
Jackson, western Antarctica...........................................4,191
Kirkpatrick, eastern Antarctica.....................................4,530
Markham, eastern Antarctica...............................4,350
Minto, eastern Antarctica......................................4,163
Sidley western Antarctica..................................4,281
Vinson, Ellsworth Mountains (western Antarctica).................................5,140

The relief of mountains has a great influence on the differentiation of landscapes in a horizontal direction. Because mountain ranges frequently stand in the path of prevailing moist air currents and passing atmospheric fronts, they are sharply marked climatic dividers: on the windward slope they create a humid climate rich in atmospheric precipitation, and on the leeward side they create a dry climate with frequent foehns. Mountains have a screening effect on the climatic conditions of territories lying in their “wind shadow.” Because of the influence of the Altai, which intercepts moist western air currents, deserts in the Mongolian People’s Republic occur to almost 50° N lat. Rising high above sea level, mountains are located in various layers of the atmosphere and, therefore, it is possible to observe on their slopes rapid and abrupt climatic changes on the vertical, which explains vertical landscape zoning. The structure of the landscape zoning of each mountain area depends on the elevation of the mountains, the location of the mountain area in the system of latitudinal landscape and climatic zones, location in conditions of a marine or continental climate, exposure of the slopes, and numerous other factors.

REFERENCES

Markov, K. K. Osnovnye problemy geomorfologii. Moscow, 1948.
Shchukin, I. S., and O. E. Shchukina. Zhizn’ gor: Opyt analiza gornvkh stran kak kompleksa poiasnykh landshaftov. Moscow, 1959.
Penck, W. Morfologicheskii analiz. Moscow. 1961. (Translated from German.)
Shchukin. I. S. Obshchaia geomorfologiia, vol 2. Moscow. 1964. Chapter 9.
Rel’ef Zemli (morfostruktura i morfoskul’plura). Edited by I. P. Gerasimov and lu. A. Meshcheriakov. Moscow. 1967.
Troll, K. Ökologische Landschaftsforschung und vergleichende Hochgebirgsforschung. Wiesbaden. 1966.

I. S. SHCHUKIN


Mountains

 

(1) Isolated summits, massifs, ridges, or ranges (usually with a height of at least 200 m above sea level) of various origins.

(2) The same as tectonic mountains—vast territories of folded or folded-block formations of the earth’s crust that have been uplifted to altitudes of several thousands of meters above sea level and that are characterized within their boundaries by extreme variations in height. They are formed by the intense uplifting of strongly dislocated sections of the earth’s crust, chiefly of geosynclinal systems (at later stages of their development) and sometimes platforms. As a result, epigeosynclinal (young) and epiplatform (rejuvenated) mountains, respectively, are created.

(3) Erosional mountains are high plateau-like regions of the earth’s surface with a horizontal geological structure, which have been sharply and deeply dissected by erosional valleys (for example, the region near the Colorado River canyon in North America).

(4) Volcanic mountains are volcanic cones, lava flows, and tuffaceous covers distributed over a wide area, usually on a tectonic base—either on a young mountainous region (for example, the Armenian Highland) or on ancient platform formations (the volcanoes of Africa).

The division of mountains into tectonic, erosional, and volcanic types is conditional inasmuch as the appearance of erosional and volcanic mountains is also predetermined by tectonic processes: by ascending vertical movements in the case of erosional mountains and by the appearance of tectonic fractures in the case of volcanic mountains.

(5) Mountains on the ocean floor (reef-like midoceanic ranges, underwater volcanic mountains, guyots, and so on).

References in classic literature ?
Their observations inform us that Abyssinia, where the Nile rises and waters vast tracts of land, is full of mountains, and in its natural situation much higher than Egypt; that all the winter, from June to September, no day is without rain; that the Nile receives in its course all the rivers, brooks, and torrents which fall from those mountains; these necessarily swell it above the banks, and fill the plains of Egypt with the inundation.
After breakfast, about ten o'clock, we went down on to the mountain.
The story has been told far and wide, and will forever be a legend of these mountains.
The house occupied by the family was on the slope of a mountain, and after a long drought there was a terrible tempest which not only raised the river to a great height but loosened the surface of the mountain so that a great landslide took place.
1822, and in the following year pushed a resolute band of trappers across the mountains to the banks of the Green River or Colorado of the West, often known by the Indian name of the Seeds-ke-dee Agie.
Its length was about five hundred and fifty miles, and its breadth, from the mountains to the Pacific, from three hundred to three hundred and fifty geographic miles.
A mile away, a grove-plumed promontory juts far into the lake and glasses its palace in the blue depths; in midstream a boat is cutting the shining surface and leaving a long track behind, like a ray of light; the mountains beyond are veiled in a dreamy purple haze; far in the opposite direction a tumbled mass of domes and verdant slopes and valleys bars the lake, and here indeed does distance lend enchantment to the view--for on this broad canvas, sun and clouds and the richest of atmospheres have blended a thousand tints together, and over its surface the filmy lights and shadows drift, hour after hour, and glorify it with a beauty that seems reflected out of Heaven itself.
The next time Michael barked was when Harley, on the same hot- blood mount, strove to close a poorly hung gate on the steep pitch of a mountain wood-road.
world-- everything to a dead world, where avalanches, rolling from the summits of the mountains, would disperse noiselessly at the bottom of the abyss, retaining the motion, but wanting the sound.
The ruins of a house burnt by fire do not tell their tale more plainly, than do the mountains of Scotland and Wales, with their scored flanks, polished surfaces, and perched boulders, of the icy streams with which their valleys were lately filled.
But, on the other hand, when listening to the rattling noise of these torrents, and calling to mind that whole races of animals have passed away from the face of the earth, and that during this whole period, night and day, these stones have gone rattling onwards in their course, I have thought to myself, can any mountains, any continent, withstand such waste?
So when Zarathustra thus ascended the mountain, he thought on the way of his many solitary wanderings from youth onwards, and how many mountains and ridges and summits he had already climbed.

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