Mountains (geography)


October 17, 2021

A mountain range is a collection of freely contiguous mountains that together form a topographical whole. The science that studies the mountains, whether comparative or not, is called orology. The highest mountains in the world are in the Himalayas. The Alps is a well-known mountain range in Europe.

Subdivision by origin

The rocks that are found in a mountain range, among other things, can say something about the formation of the mountain range. Mountains are created by the process of mountain building, or orogeny. Continental collisions, the collision of tectonic plates, can create areas where crustal thickening takes place. This provides, by means of the principle of isostasy, the topographical uplift of an area, in the sense of raising it to a higher mean elevation. Mountains can also form when two plates slide past each other, the Pyrenees are an example of this. Mountains can also be created by volcanism. Such a place is called a hotspot. From a geological point of view, this process can go many times faster than tectonic orogeny, but it still takes a very long time. Iceland is an example of this. Iceland formed on a mid-ocean ridge, on which volcanism occurred. The Andes was formed by back arc volcanism. In general, a mountain range formed by continental collision will show an asymmetrical structural geological structure, while a mountain range formed by volcanism will have a more symmetrical structure.

Geographical subdivision

Landscape forms are subdivided according to their average topographical elevation: high mountains > 1500 m. low mountain range 500 - 1500 m. low mountain range 200 - 500 m. hill country 200 - 500 m. lowland 0 - 200 m.


The geological concept of orogen includes not only mountain ranges, but also former mountain ranges that can no longer be identified topographically as mountains due to erosion, this is called a peneplain, and can only be recognized by patterns and structures in rocks. An example is the Caledonian orogeny in Northern Europe.

See also

Mountain range List of mountain ranges

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