Western Carpathians


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Western Carpathians

 

the western, highest, and broadest part of the Carpathians in Czechoslovakia, Poland, and Hungary. Length, approximately 400 km; width, over 200 km. They consist of several ranges and isolated massifs, generally south west-northeast. The middle-altitude ranges of the West Beskids extend to the north. The central part of the Western Carpathians consists of a number of high and middle-altitude massifs (the High Tatra, the Low Tatra, the Vel’ka Fatra), which are composed mainly of granite, gneiss, and other crystalline rocks, as well as of limestone, and are separated by deep hollows. The upper part of the mountains have alpine forms of terrain and glacial lakes. Mount Gerlachovka (2,655 m), the highest in the Carpathians, is in the High Tatra. The southern part of the Western Carpathians is formed of middle-altitude, flattop massifs composed of crystalline rock, volcanic rock, and limestone (the Slovak Ore Mountains, the Stiavnicke Mountains, Biikk, Matra). The lower slopes have broad-leaved and mixed forests (primarily oak and beech), the northern slopes and the middle mountain zone have mixed and coniferous forests, and the upper mountain regions have alpine meadows. The forest flora and fauna are protected in preserves and national parks (there are bears, red deer, roe, wild boar, wolves, lynx, and other animals), the largest of which is the Tatra National Park in Czechoslovakia and Poland.

N. N. RYBIN

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