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(also Transylvanian Alps), the part of the Carpathians in Rumania between the Predeal Pass and the Iron Gate on the Danube. The Southern Carpathians are approximately 300 km long. They consist of high massifs, notably in the Făgăraş and Retezat ranges, that are composed of granites, gneisses, limestones, and sandstones. The highest peaks have alpine-type landforms. The maximum elevation occurs at Mount Moldoveanu (2,543 m). The mountains are dissected by the valleys of the Jiu, Olt, and Cerna rivers, along which railroads and highways run. The region is a seismic area. In the west the Southern Carpathians adjoin the mountains of the Banat.
Beech and oak forests occur at the foot of the Southern Carpathians and on the lower slopes to elevations of 900–1,000 m. At higher elevations, the forests are primarily coniferous to 1,700 m; as elevations increase, the forests give way to shrubs and sub-alpine and alpine meadows.
Petroleum deposits occur along the southern foot of the mountains at such locations as Floresti and Pitesti. Coal is mined at Petroşani. The region is also known for the mining of common salt.
The mountain climatic health resort of Sinaia is located in the Southern Carpathians, as are the balneological resorts of Călimăneşti, Băile-Herculane, Băile-Govora, and Băile-Olăneşti.