Apennines

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Apennines

(ăp`ənīnz), Ital. Appennino, mountain system, running the entire length of the Italian peninsula. It extends south c.840 mi (1,350 km) from the Cadibona Pass in Liguria, NW Italy, where the Apennines join with the Ligurian Alps, to the Strait of Messina; the mountains of Sicily are a southwest continuation of the system. The Apennines are widest (c.80 mi/130 km) in the central section, which also contains the highest peaks, Mt. Corno (9,560 ft/2,914 m high) and Mt. Amaro (9,170 ft/2,795 m high). However, in general the peaks are much lower. The central and southern Apennines have mineral springs, crater lakes, fumaroles, and volcanoes (two, Vesuvius and Etna, are still active). The southern section also experiences many earthquakes. In 1980 one near CampaniaCampania
, region (1991 pop. 5,191,468), 5,249 sq mi (13,595 sq km), central Italy, extending from the Apennines W to the Tyrrhenian Sea and from the Garigliano River S to the Gulf of Policastro. It includes the islands of Capri, Ischia, and Procida.
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 left 4800 people dead. Of the many rivers rising in the Apennines, the few important ones (Arno, Tiber, and Volturno) all flow W into the Tyrrhenian Sea. The N and central Apennines are rich in a great variety of minerals. There are many hydroelectric plants in the mountains. The once heavily forested slopes of the system have been greatly reduced by humans through the centuries; attempts at conservation and reforestation have been made. The greatest population concentrations are found in the valleys and the fertile basins. Extensive pasturelands are used for sheep and goat grazing. The Apennines are pierced by many railroad tunnels and highway passes, and by the Appian, Cassian, Flaminian, and Salarian ways (see Roman roadsRoman roads,
ancient system of highways linking Rome with its provinces. Their primary purpose was military, but they also were of great commercial importance and brought the distant provinces in touch with the capital.
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).

Apennines

(ap -ĕ-nÿnz) (Montes Apenninus) See table at mountains, lunar.

Apennines

 

the Apennine Mountains (Appennino; from Celtic pen, “mountain top”), a mountain system on the Apennine peninsula in Italy. The Apennines stretch 1,200 km from the northwest to the southeast, from the border with the Alps (the Cadibona Pass) to the Strait of Messina. The Apennines are mountains of medium height, consisting of ranges and foothills that have a parallel or echelon structure. The highest point is Monte Corno (2,914 m). In terms of geological structure and topography the Apennines are divided into the Northern, Central, and Southern Apennines. The Northern Apennines (from Cadibona Pass to the headwaters of the Tiber River) have a sublatitudinal strike and include the Ligurian Apennines and the Tuscan (Tosco-Emiliano) Apennines (Monte Cimone, 2,165 m). The Central Apennines (to the valley of the Volturno and Sangro rivers) are the highest portion of the Apennines. In the north they are represented by the parallel ranges of the Roman Umbro-Marchigiano Apennines (Monte Vettore, 2,478 m). Further to the south rise the Abruzzi Apennines with the highest peak in the Apennines, the Gran Sasso d’ltalia (Monte Corno), which is crowned with a small glacier. The Southern Apennines include the Neapolitan (Campanian) Apennines, the Molise uplands, and the Lucanian Apennines (Monte Serra Dol-cedorme, 2,271 m). To the south of the Crati River, the Southern Apennines are joined to the Calabrian Apennines (the uplands of La Sila, Serra, Aspromonte with Montalto, 1,956 m). In the east the main chains of the Apennines are accompanied by a broad zone of foothills, beyond which, along the shores of the Adriatic Sea, rise the limestone plateaus of Gargano, Le Murge, and the Salentina peninsula. The western slope of the Apennines is steep and faulted; to the west of the Central Apennines lies a broad piedmont hilly zone with individual low ranges (the Apuanian Alps, the Monte Pisano, and others), extinct volcanoes, and broad tuffaceous plateaus.

The Apennines were formed as a result of the alpine orogeny. During the Neocene, the ranges were eroded and subjected to faulting and uplifting, but in the Anthropogenic there were major arched uplifts with the appearance of vol-canism along the western faults. The crest portions of the mountains experienced Anthropogene glaciation. Modern tectonic movements are manifested by uplifts and subsidences and by strong earthquakes. The Northern Apennines are composed of flysch deposits. In the southern part of the Northern Apennines the Eocene sandstones and conglomerates form mesas, in the crest zone of which are numerous corries. From the north there adjoins a zone of low hills composed of porous “imbricate” clays of the Pliocene and deeply cut valleys and ravines with frequent landslides. It was mostly limestone rock that was involved in the formation of the Central Apennines. Faults have broken the mountains up into individual ranges and basins. The ranges are rocky, with abrupt slopes and ancient glacial and karst landforms. The basins abound in springs, and they have been cultivated and populated. In the Southern Apennines the limestone zone narrows, forming the Neapolitan Apennines and the flysch zone forms the low ranges of the Lucanian Apennines. The Calabrian Apennines are domelike granite-gneiss median (Hercynian) mountains that descend to the sea in a series of terraces. The mineral resources of the Apennines include building and finishing stone, mercury, deposits of brown coal and lignite (the Central Apennines), oil shales and bauxites (Abruzzi), and natural gas and oil (in the western foothills). Natural steam from underground layers (Larderello in Tuscany) is also used.

The climate is of the mountain variety of the Mediterranean type (with a dry summer and rainy winter). On the eastern slopes the climate is more continental than on the western. Features of a continental climate are also inherent to the intramontane basins. The mean temperature along the Apen-nine foothills in January in the north is around 0°C and in the south, up to 11°C. The Central Apennines have the severest winters because of their great altitude, the massiveness of the mountains, and the abundance of enclosed basins. Cyclones, which bring in torrential rains causing flooding, have a powerful influence. Sometimes in the winter there are incursions of cold air from the north accompanied by a sharp drop in temperature and by snowfalls. In the foothills the summer is hot. The mean July temperature is from 24°C to 28°C. Most of the precipitation falls on the western slopes of the mountains (in the Ligurian Apennines, over 3,000 mm per year); in the enclosed basins annual precipitation is 600–4500 mm. In the upper zone (over 2,000 m) there is snow 180–190 days per year. The Apennines are the source of the Tiber, the Arno, the Sele, Volturno, and other rivers, which are high in the winter and autumn. During the summer they drop sharply or dry up. There are small corrie and volcanic lakes as well as karst springs.

The Apennines are characterized by an altitudinal zoning of the landscapes. On the lower slopes and foothills cultivated landscapes with olive groves, fields, vineyards, and orchards predominate. In places up to elevations of 500–600 m in the north and 700–800 m in the south, they are combined with surviving groves of holm and cork oak, Aleppo pine, stone pine, and evergreen brush (maauis) on cinnamonic soils. Drier areas are covered with gangues. At elevations of 500–800 to 1,000–1,400 m, in the better-watered zone, there grow forests of oak and chestnut with an admixture of maple, elm, and ash on brown and carbonate mountain forest soils. From 800–900 m in the north and 1,000–1,200 m in the south beech forests predominate; higher than that, coniferous forests predominate on podzolic soils (firs and pines). In the Apennines the mountain forests usually reach to the very peaks. Poor subalpine and alpine vegetation is encountered only in small areas above 2,000–2,500 m. The animal world is greatly depleted. Mammals are represented by the wolf, chamois, roe deer, marten, weasel, squirrel, hare, and polecat. Reptiles and birds abound.

N. A. SYSOEVA

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