A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills
ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or
mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form,
structure and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually
Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological
processes, but most of the significant ones on
Earth are the result of
Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass
objects in the
Solar System and are likely a feature of most
Mountain ranges are usually segmented by highlands or mountain passes
and valleys. Individual mountains within the same mountain range do
not necessarily have the same geologic structure or petrology. They
may be a mix of different orogenic expressions and terranes, for
example thrust sheets, uplifted blocks, fold mountains, and volcanic
landforms resulting in a variety of rock types.
1 Major ranges
2 Divisions and categories
5 Extraterrestrial "Montes"
6 See also
8 External links
An 1865 lithograph showing the
High Tatras mountain range in Slovakia
Poland by Karel Kořistka appearing in a book by August Heinrich
Most geologically young mountain ranges on the Earth's land surface
are associated with either the
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire or the Alpide
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire includes the
Andes of South America,
extends through the
North American Cordillera
North American Cordillera along the Pacific Coast,
the Aleutian Range, on through Kamchatka, Japan, Taiwan, the
Philippines, Papua New Guinea, to New Zealand. The
Andes is 7,000
kilometres (4,350 mi) long and is often considered the world's
longest mountain system.
The Alpide belt includes
Indonesia and southeast Asia, through the
Himalaya, and ends in the Alps,
Spain and Atlas Mountains. The belt
also includes other European and Asian mountain ranges. The Himalayas
contain the highest mountains in the world, including Mount Everest,
which is 8,848 metres (29,029 ft) high and traverses the border
China and Nepal.
The Ocean Ridge, the world's longest mountain range (chain)
Mountain ranges outside these two systems include the Arctic
Cordillera, the Urals, the Appalachians, the Scandinavian Mountains,
Altai Mountains and the Hijaz Mountains. If the definition of a
mountain range is stretched to include underwater mountains, then the
Ocean Ridges form the longest continuous mountain system on Earth,
with a length of 65,000 kilometres (40,400 mi).
Divisions and categories
The mountain systems of the earth are characterized by a tree
structure, where mountain ranges can contain sub-ranges. The sub-range
relationship is often expressed as a parent-child relationship. For
example, the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Blue Ridge
Mountains are sub-ranges of the Appalachian Mountains. Equivalently,
the Appalachians are the parent of the White Mountains and Blue Ridge
Mountains, and the White Mountains and the
Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains are
children of the Appalachians.
The parent-child expression extends to the sub-ranges themselves: the
Sandwich Range and the
Presidential Range are children of the White
Mountains, while the
Presidential Range is parent to the Northern
Presidential Range and Southern Presidential Range.
The Andes, the world's longest mountain range on the surface of a
continent, seen from the air
The position of mountains influences climate, such as rain or snow.
When air masses move up and over mountains, the air cools producing
orographic precipitation (rain or snow). As the air descends on the
leeward side, it warms again (in accordance with the adiabatic lapse
rate) and is drier, having been stripped of much of its moisture.
Often, a rain shadow will affect the leeward side of a range.
Mountain ranges are constantly subjected to erosional forces which
work to tear them down. The basins adjacent to an eroding mountain
range are then filled with sediments which are buried and turned into
Erosion is at work while the mountains are being
uplifted until the mountains are reduced to low hills and plains.
Cenozoic uplift of the
Rocky Mountains of Colorado provides
an example. As the uplift was occurring some 10,000 feet
(3,000 m) of mostly
Mesozoic sedimentary strata were removed by
erosion over the core of the mountain range and spread as sand and
clays across the
Great Plains to the east. This mass of rock was
removed as the range was actively undergoing uplift. The removal of
such a mass from the core of the range most likely caused further
uplift as the region adjusted isostatically in response to the removed
Rivers are traditionally believed to be the principal cause of
mountain range erosion, by cutting into bedrock and transporting
sediment. Computer simulation has shown that as mountain belts change
from tectonically active to inactive, the rate of erosion drops
because there are fewer abrasive particles in the water and fewer
Norgay Montes on Pluto (14 July 2015)
Montes Apenninus on the
Moon was formed by an impact event.
Further information: List of tallest mountains in the Solar System
Mountains on other planets and natural satellites of the Solar System
are often isolated and formed mainly by processes such as impacts,
though there are examples of mountain ranges (or "Montes") somewhat
similar to those on Earth. Saturn's moon Titan and Pluto, in
particular exhibit large mountain ranges in chains composed mainly of
ices rather than rock. Examples include the
Mithrim Montes and Doom
Mons on Titan, and
Norgay Montes and
Hillary Montes on Pluto. Some
terrestrial planets other than
Earth also exhibit rocky mountain
ranges, such as
Maxwell Montes on
Venus taller than any on Earth
Tartarus Montes on Mars, Jupiter's moon Io has mountain ranges
formed from tectonic processes including Boösaule Montes, Dorian
Montes, Hi'iaka Montes and Euboea Montes.
Earth sciences portal
List of mountain ranges
List of mountain types
Lists of mountains
Ridge – an elongated mountain or hill, or chain of them
^ "Definition of mountain system". Mindat.org. Hudson Institute of
Mineralogy. Retrieved 26 August 2017.
^ Rosenberg, Matt. "Pacific Ring of Fire". About.com.
^ Thorpe, Edgar (2012). The Pearson General Knowledge Manual. Pearson
Education India. p. A-36.
^ Chester, Roy (2008). Furnace of Creation, Cradle of Destruction.
AMACOM Div American Mgmt Assn. p. 77.
China agree on Mount Everest's height". BBC. 8 April
^ "The mid-ocean ridge is the longest mountain range on Earth". US
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Service. 11 Jan 2013.
^ "A Guide to the Geology of Rocky
Mountain National Park, Colorado".
USGS. Archived from the original on 2012-10-24.
^ Egholm, David L.; Knudsen, Mads F.; Sandiford, Mike. "Lifespan of
mountain ranges scaled by feedbacks between landsliding and erosion by
rivers". Nature. 498 (7455): 475–478. doi:10.1038/nature12218.
^ Mitri, Giuseppe; Bland, Michael T.; Showman, Adam P.; Radebaugh,
Jani; Stiles, Bryan; Lopes, Rosaly M. C.; Lunine, Jonathan I.;
Pappalardo, Robert T. (2010). "Mountains on Titan: Modeling and
observations". Journal of Geophysical Research. 115 (E10).
doi:10.1029/2010JE003592. ISSN 0148-0227.
^ Gipson, Lillian (24 July 2015). "New Horizons Discovers Flowing Ices
on Pluto". NASA. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
^ Keep, Myra; Hansen, Vicki L. (1994). "Structural history of Maxwell
Montes, Venus: Implications for Venusian mountain belt formation".
Journal of Geophysical Research. 99 (E12): 26015.
doi:10.1029/94JE02636. ISSN 0148-0227.
^ Plescia, J.B. (2003). "Cerberus Fossae, Elysium, Mars: a source for
lava and water". Icarus. 164 (1): 79–95.
doi:10.1016/S0019-1035(03)00139-8. ISSN 0019-1035.
^ Jaeger, W. L. (2003). "Orogenic tectonism on Io". Journal of
Geophysical Research. 108 (E8): 12–1–12–18.
doi:10.1029/2002JE001946. ISSN 0148-0227.
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