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a mountain range in the Western Alps on the Italo-Swiss border, between Simplon Pass in the west and the Lower Rhine in the East. Length, approximately 130 km; altitude, up to 3,578 m. The range is composed of granites, gneisses, and schists. The narrow ridges have sharp, alpine summits. There are small glaciers and perpetual snows. Broad-leaved and coniferous forests are found on the slopes; at heights exceeding 1,600–1,800 m there are mountain shrubs and meadows. Highways and railroad tunnels run through the St. Gotthard and Simplon passes.