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(also known as the Northern Anatolian Mountains), a mountain system in northern Turkey, extending along the Black Sea from west to east for approximately 1,000 km with widths up to 130 km. The Pontic Mountains include the Western Pontic, Canik, and Eastern Pontic mountains. They consist of several parallel ranges, which are separated by longitudinal valleys and chains of intermontane basins and cut by numerous gorges and the water gaps of the Kizil, Ye§il, and other rivers. The elevations of the ranges increase from west to east from 2,000–2,500 to 3,000–3,500 m. The highest peak is Kaçkar Dağ (3,931 m). The relief in the area of the eastern crests is alpine.
The Pontic Mountains form a fold and block frame around the Asia Minor and, in part, Armenian highlands. In the west they are composed primarily of sandstones, limestones, andesites, and metamorphic rocks, and in the east, of granites, gneisses, schist, and volcanic rocks. The Zonguldak coal basin is in the west, and the Murgul deposit of copper ores and complex ores is in the east. On the northern, more humid slopes (precipitation in Lazistan is 2,000 -3,000 mm per year), broad-leaved forests of oak, beech, and hornbeam give way at higher elevations to mixed and coniferous forests and meadows; in the west, the vegetation is of the maquis type. On the southern slopes, mountain steppes and semideserts alternate with thickets of thorny shrubs and mixed forests. The plains at the foot of the mountains and the intermontane basins are extensively cultivated and densely populated.
IU. K. EFREMOV