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The Massif
Massif
Central (French pronunciation: ​[masif sɑ̃tʁal]) is an elevated region in the middle of southern France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers approximately 15 percent of the country. Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps
Alps
by a deep north-south cleft created by the Rhône
Rhône
and known in French as the sillon rhodanien (literally "the furrow of the Rhône"). The region was a barrier to transport within France until the opening of the A75 motorway, which not only made north-south travel easier, but also opened up the Massif
Massif
Central itself.

Contents

1 Geography and geology 2 Mountains 3 Plateaus 4 Administration 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

Geography and geology[edit] Main article: Massif
Massif
Central (geology) The Massif
Massif
Central is an old massif, formed during the Variscan orogeny, consisting mostly of granitic and metamorphic rocks. It was powerfully raised and made to look geologically younger in the eastern section by the uplift of the Alps
Alps
during the Paleogene period and in the southern section by the uplift of the Pyrenees. The massif thus presents a strongly asymmetrical elevation profile with highlands in the south and in the east (Cévennes) dominating the valley of the Rhône
Rhône
and the plains of Languedoc
Languedoc
and by contrast, the less elevated region of Limousin
Limousin
in the north-west. These tectonic movements created faults and are maybe at the origin of the volcanism in the Massif
Massif
Central (but the hypothesis is not proved yet). In fact, above the crystalline foundation, we can observe many volcanoes of many different types and ages : volcanic plateaus (Aubrac, Cézallier), stratovolcanoes (Mounts of Cantal, Monts Dore), and small, very recent monogenic volcanoes (Chaîne des Puys, Vivarais). The entire region contains a large concentration of approximately 450 extinct volcanoes. The strip of "Chaîne des Puys", running north to south and less than 160 km2 (60 sq mi) long, contains 115 of them.[citation needed] The Auvergne
Auvergne
Volcanoes National Park is in the massif. In the south, one remarkable region, made up of features called causses in French, consists of raised calcareous plateaus cut by very deep canyons. The most famous of these is the canyon of Tarn. Mountains[edit] Mountain
Mountain
ranges, with notable individual mountains, are (roughly north-to-south):

Chaîne des Puys

Puy de Dôme
Puy de Dôme
(1,464 m, 4,803 ft) Puy de Pariou (1,210 m, 3,970 ft) Puy de Lassolas
Puy de Lassolas
(1,187 m, 3,894 ft) Puy de la Vache (1,167 m, 3,829 ft)

Monts Dore

Puy de Sancy
Puy de Sancy
(1,886 m, 6,188 ft)

Monts du Lyonnais Pilat massif

Crêt de la Perdrix (1,431 m, 4,695 ft)

Mounts of Cantal

Plomb du Cantal
Plomb du Cantal
(1,855 m, 6,086 ft) Puy Mary
Puy Mary
(1,787 m, 5,863 ft)

Forez

Pierre-sur-Haute
Pierre-sur-Haute
(1,634 m, 5,361 ft)

L'Aubrac

Le Signal de Mailhebiau (1,469 m, 4,820 ft)

Monts de La Margeride

Signal de Randon (1,551 m, 5,089 ft)

Monts du Vivarais (Ardèche)

Mont Mézenc
Mont Mézenc
(1,753 m, 5,751 ft) Mont Gerbier de Jonc
Mont Gerbier de Jonc
(1,551 m, 5,089 ft)

Cévennes

Mont Lozère
Mont Lozère
(1,699 m, 5,574 ft), the highest non-volcanic summit Mont Aigoual
Mont Aigoual
(1,567 m, 5,141 ft), near Le Vigan, Florac

Monts de Lacaune

Montgrand (1,267 m, 4,157 ft)

Monts de L'Espinouse

Sommet de L'Espinouse (1,124 m, 3,688 ft)

Montagne Noire

Pic de Nore
Pic de Nore
(1,211 m, 3,973 ft)

Chaine des Puys
Chaine des Puys
in Auvergne

Puy de Sancy
Puy de Sancy
(1,886 m, 6,188 ft)

The Cévennes
Cévennes
range

Gorges du Tarn
Gorges du Tarn
canyon

Plateaus[edit]

Causse Méjean

Causse du Larzac Plateau
Plateau
de Millevaches Plateau
Plateau
de Lévézou Causse du Comtal Causse de Sauveterre Causse de Sévérac Causse Méjean Causse Noir Causse de Blandas

Administration[edit] The following departments are generally considered as part of the Massif
Massif
Central: Allier, Ardèche, Aude, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Gard, Haute-Loire, Haute-Vienne, Hérault, Loire, Lot, Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, and Tarn. The following regions are part of the Massif
Massif
Central: Auvergne, Limousin. Part of the following regions are in the Massif
Massif
Central: Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, and Rhône-Alpes. The largest cities in the region are Clermont-Ferrand, Limoges, and Saint-Étienne. See also[edit]

Geography of France

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Massif
Massif
Central at Wikimedia Commons

v t e

Mountain
Mountain
ranges of France

Alps Armorican Massif Ardennes Corsica Jura Mountains Massif
Massif
Central Morv

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