In geology, a massif ( /mæˈsiːf/ or /ˈmæsɪf/) is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole. The term also refers to a group of mountains formed by such a structure.
In mountaineering and climbing literature, a massif is frequently used to denote the main mass of an individual mountain. The massif is a smaller structural unit of the crust than a tectonic plate and is considered the fourth largest driving force in geomorphology.
The word is taken from French (in which the word also means "massive"), where it is used to refer to a large mountain mass or compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a range. One of the most notable European examples of a massif is the Massif Central of the Auvergne region of France.
Annapurna (Sanskrit, Nepali, Newar: अन्नपूर्णा) is a massif in the Himalayas in north-central Nepal that includes one peak over 8,000 metres (26,000 ft), thirteen peaks over 7,000 metres (23,000 ft), and sixteen more over 6,000 metres (20,000 ft). The massif is 55 kilometres (34 mi) long, and is bounded by the Kali Gandaki Gorge on the west, the Marshyangdi River on the north and east, and by Pokhara Valley on the south. At the western end the massif encloses a high basin called the Annapurna Sanctuary. Annapurna I Main is the tenth highest mountain in the world at 8,091 metres (26,545 ft) above sea level, and was the first of the Eight-thousanders to be climbed.
The entire massif and surrounding area are protected within the 7,629 square kilometres (2,946 sq mi) Annapurna Conservation Area, the first and largest conservation area in Nepal. The Annapurna Conservation Area is home to several world-class treks, including Annapurna Sanctuary and Annapurna Circuit.
Historically, the Annapurna peaks are among the world's most dangerous mountains to climb, although in more recent history, using only figures from 1990 and after, Kangchenjunga has a higher fatality rate. By March 2012, there had been 191 summit ascents of Annapurna I Main, and 61 climbing fatalities on the mountain. This fatality-to-summit ratio (32%) is the highest of any of the eight-thousanders. In particular, the ascent via the south face is considered, by some, the most difficult of all climbs. In October 2014, at least 43 people were killed as a result of snowstorms and avalanches on and around Annapurna, in Nepal's worst ever trekking disaster.Annapurna is a female Sanskrit name that literally means "(She who is) Replete with food", but is normally translated as Goddess of the Harvests. According to Devdutt Pattanaik, Annapoorna devi is "... the universal and timeless kitchen-goddess ... the mother who feeds. Without her there is starvation, a universal fear: This makes Annapurna a universal goddess ... Her most popular shrine is located in Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges River." Her association with the giving of food (wealth) led her in time to be transformed into Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth.Ardennes
The Ardennes (; French: L'Ardenne; Dutch: Ardennen; Walloon: L'Årdene; Luxembourgish: Ardennen; also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes) is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges formed by the geological features of the Ardennes mountain range and the Moselle and Meuse River basins. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel, and both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian (387.7 to 382.7 million years ago) as were several other named ranges of the same greater range.
Located primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, but stretching as well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region), and geologically into the Eifel—the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany, most of the Ardennes proper consists of southeastern Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of the Kingdom of Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing over half of the kingdom's total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called "Oesling" (Luxembourgish: Éislek), and on the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate.
The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world, after England. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.
Allied generals in World War II felt the region was impenetrable to massed vehicular traffic and especially armor, so the area was effectively "all but undefended" during the war, leading to the German Army's twice using the region as an invasion route into Northern France and Southern Belgium, via Luxembourg in the Battle of France and the later Battle of the Bulge.Aïr Mountains
The Aïr Mountains or Aïr Massif (Tamashek: Ayăr; Hausa: Eastern Azbin, Western Abzin) is a triangular massif, located in northern Niger, within the Sahara Desert. Part of the West Saharan montane xeric woodlands ecoregion, they rise to more than 1,800 m (5,900 ft) and extend over 84,000 km2 (32,000 sq mi). Lying in the midst of desert north of the 17th parallel, the Aïr plateau, with an average altitude between 500 and 900 m (1,600 and 3,000 ft), forms an island of Sahel climate which supports a wide variety of life, many pastoral and farming communities, and dramatic geological and archaeological sites. There are notable archaeological excavations in the region that illustrate the prehistoric past of this region. The endangered painted hunting dog (Lycaon pictus) once existed in this region, but may now be extirpated due to human population pressures in this region.Ennedi Plateau
For the current region of Chad, see Ennedi Region.The Ennedi Plateau, located in the northeast of Chad, in the regions of Ennedi-Ouest and Ennedi-Est, is a sandstone bulwark in the middle of the Sahara. It covers an area of approximately 60,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi), and its highest point is approximately 1,450 m (4,760 ft) above sea level. The landscape has geological structures like towers, pillars, bridges and arches, which are big tourist attractions.French Alps
The French Alps are the portions of the Alps mountain range that stand within France, located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur regions. While some of the ranges of the French Alps are entirely in France, others, such as the Mont Blanc massif, are shared with Switzerland and Italy.
At 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), Mont Blanc (Italian: Monte Bianco), on the French-Italian border, is the highest mountain in the Alps, and the highest Western European mountain.Notable towns in the French Alps include Grenoble, Chamonix, Annecy, Chambéry, Évian-les-Bains and Albertville.Geography of Madagascar
Madagascar is a large island in the Indian Ocean off the eastern coast of southern Africa, east of Mozambique. It is the fourth largest island in the world. The highest point is Maromokotro, in the Tsaratanana Massif region in the north of the island, at 2,876 metres (9,436 ft). The capital Antananarivo is in the Central Highlands near the centre of the island. Madagascar has a total area of 587,040 square kilometres (226,660 sq mi) with 581,540 square kilometres (224,530 sq mi) of land and 5,500 square kilometres (2,100 sq mi) of water. Madagascar is 400 kilometres (250 miles) east of mainland Africa.Madagascar originated as part of the Gondwana supercontinent. Its west coast was formed when Africa broke off from Gondwana around 165 million years ago. Madagascar eventually broke off from India about 88 million years ago. It is geologically located within the Somali plate.Gildea Glacier
Gildea Glacier is a glacier 10 kilometres (6 mi) long and 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide flowing southwestward from Craddock Massif between Mount Slaughter and Mount Atkinson into Nimitz Glacier, in the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains, Antarctica. The upper portion of the glacier also receives ice from Hammer Col and southern Vinson Massif.
It was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names in 2006 after Damien Gildea, the Australian leader of several Omega Foundation expeditions to the Sentinel Range and Livingston Island in 2000–07. He made an ascent of Mount Craddock from the Bender Glacier in 2005, and directed the preparation of a 1:50,000-scale map of the Vinson Massif area for publication by the Omega Foundation in 2006.Jura Mountains
The Jura Mountains (French: [ʒyʁa]; German: [ˈjuːra], locally [ˈjuːɾa]; French: Massif du Jura; German: Juragebirge; Italian: Massiccio del Giura) are a sub-alpine mountain range located north of the Western Alps, mainly following the course of the France–Switzerland border.
The Jura separates the Rhine and Rhône basins, forming part of the watershed of each.
The name "Jura" is derived from juria, a Latinized form of a Celtic stem jor- "forest".
The mountain range gives its name to the French department of Jura, the Swiss Canton of Jura, the Jurassic period of the geologic timescale, and the Montes Jura of the Moon.List of lakes of France
This list of lakes in France roughly distinguishes three categories: the mountain lakes, sorted first by massif, and then by départements; the lakes in plains, sorted by river basin; and the coastal lakes.
Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), the largest in western Europe with 582 km2 (225 sq mi), partly in France, partly in Switzerland, is listed in Haute-Savoie for its French part.Longs Peak
Longs Peak (Arapaho: Neníisótoyóú’u) is a high and prominent mountain summit in the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 14,259-foot (4346 m) fourteener is located in the Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, 9.6 miles (15.5 km) southwest by south (bearing 209°) of the Town of Estes Park, Colorado, United States. Longs Peak is the northmost "fourteener" in the Rocky Mountains and the highest point in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. The mountain was named in honor of explorer Stephen Harriman Long and is featured on the Colorado state quarter.Massif Central
The Massif Central (French pronunciation: [masif sɑ̃tʁal]; Occitan: Massís Central) is a highland region in the middle of Southern France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers about 15% of mainland France.
Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north–south cleft created by the Rhône River and known in French as the sillon rhodanien (literally "Rhône furrow"). 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 itself.Mont Blanc massif
The Mont Blanc massif (French: Massif du Mont-Blanc; Italian: Massiccio del Monte Bianco) is a mountain range in the Alps, located mostly in France and Italy, but also straddling Switzerland at its northeastern end. It contains eleven major independent summits, each over 4,000 metres (13,123 ft) in height. It is named after Mont Blanc (4,808 metres (15,774 ft)), the highest point in western Europe and the European Union. Because of its considerable overall altitude, a large proportion of the massif is covered by glaciers, which include the Mer de Glace and the Miage Glacier – the longest glaciers in France and Italy, respectively.
Not only does the massif form a watershed between the vast catchments of the rivers Rhône and Po, as well as a tripoint between France, Italy and Switzerland, it also marks the border between two climate regions by separating the northern and western Alps from the southern Alps. The mountains of the massif consist mostly of granite and gneiss rocks, and at high altitudes the vegetation is an arctic-alpine flora.
The valleys that delimit the massif were used as communication routes by the Romans until they left around the 5th century AD. The region has remained of some military importance through to the mid-20th century. A peasant farming economy operated within these valleys for many centuries until the glaciers and mountains were "discovered" by the outside world in the 18th century. Word of these impressive sights began to spread, and Mont Blanc was finally climbed in 1786, marking the start of the sport of mountaineering. The region is now a major tourist destination, drawing in over six million visitors per year. It provides a wide range of opportunities for outdoor recreation and activities such as sight-seeing, hiking, rock climbing, mountaineering and skiing. Around one hundred people a year die across its mountains and, occasionally, bodies have been lost and entombed in its glaciers for decades.
Access into the mountains is facilitated by cable cars, mountain railways and mountain huts which offer overnight refuge to climbers and skiers. The long-distance Tour du Mont Blanc hiking trail circumnavigates the whole massif in an 11-day trek of 170 kilometres (110 mi). The Mont Blanc Tunnel connects the French town of Chamonix on the northern side with the Italian town of Courmayeur in the south. The high mountains have provided many opportunities for scientific research, including neutrino measurements within the Tunnel and impacts of climate change on its highest slopes. Recent rises in average temperatures have led to significant glacial retreat across the massif and an awareness of the need for better environmental protection, including a call for World Heritage Site status.Monte Rosa
Monte Rosa (Italian: massiccio del Monte Rosa; German: Monte Rosa-Massiv; French: massif du Mont Rose) is a mountain massif located in the eastern part of the Pennine Alps. It is located between Italy (Piedmont and Aosta Valley) and Switzerland (Valais). Monte Rosa is the second highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe, after Mont Blanc.Five faces are in Italy: Breuil-Cervinia very small portion, Champoluc, Gressoney-La-Trinité, Alagna Valsesia with the Valsesian wall and Macugnaga with the East wall; two in Switzerland, Zermatt and Saas-Fee. Such a great variety of valleys reflects the great variety of shapes: in Italy (Alagna Valsesia and Macugnaga), rocks and cliffs dominate, among the wildest and highest in the Alps. The Italian faces of Gressoney and Champoluc are less steep with great glaciers. In Switzerland huge glaciers dominate. The group is located on the watershed between central and southern Europe. Its main summit, named Dufourspitze in honor of the surveyor Guillaume-Henri Dufour, culminates at 4,634 m (15,203 ft) above sea level and is followed by the five nearly equally high subsidiary summits of Dunantspitze, Grenzgipfel, Nordend, Zumsteinspitze and Signalkuppe. Some other over 4000 m peaks such as Piramide Vincent, Punta Giordani, and Corno Nero are wholly in Italy. Monte Rosa is the highest mountain of both Switzerland and the Pennine Alps and is also the second-highest mountain of the Alps and Europe outside the Caucasus.The north-west side of the central Monte Rosa massif, with its enormous ice slopes and seracs, constitutes the boundary and upper basin of the large Gorner Glacier, which descends towards Zermatt and merges with its nowadays much larger tributary, the Grenzgletscher (English: Border Glacier), right below the Monte Rosa Hut on the lower end of the visible western wing. The Grenzgletscher is an impressive glacier formation between the western wing of the mountain and Liskamm, a ridge on its southwestern side on the Swiss-Italian border. On the eastern side, in Italy, the mountain falls away in an almost vertical 2,400-metre-high (7,900 ft) wall of granite and ice, the biggest in Europe, overlooking Macugnaga and several smaller glaciers.
Monte Rosa was studied by pioneering geologists and explorers, including Leonardo da Vinci in the late fifteenth century and Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late eighteenth century. Following a long series of attempts beginning in the early nineteenth century, Monte Rosa's summit, then still called Höchste Spitze (English: Highest Peak), was first reached in 1855 from Zermatt by a party of eight climbers led by three guides. The great east wall was first climbed in 1872, from Macugnaga.
Each summer a large number of climbers set out from the Monte Rosa Hut on the mountain's west wing for one of its summits via the normal route or for the Margherita Hut on the Signalkuppe (Italian: Punta Gnifetti), used as a research station. Many tourists and hikers also come each year to the Gornergrat on the north-west side of the massif, to see the panorama that extends over the giants of the Alps, from Monte Rosa to the Matterhorn.Mount Elbert
Mount Elbert is the highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the highest point in the U.S. state of Colorado and the entire Mississippi River drainage basin. The ultra-prominent 14,440-foot (4401.2 m) fourteener is the highest peak in the Sawatch Range and the second-highest summit in the contiguous United States after Mount Whitney. Mount Elbert is located in San Isabel National Forest, 12.1 miles (19.4 km) southwest (bearing 223°) of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado.The mountain was named in honor of a Colorado statesman, Samuel Hitt Elbert, who was active in the formative period of the state and Governor of the Territory of Colorado from 1873 to 1874. Henry W. Stuckle of the Hayden Survey was the first to record an ascent of the peak, in 1874. The easiest and most popular climbing routes are categorized as Class 1 to 2 or A+ in mountaineering parlance. Mount Elbert is therefore often referred to as the "gentle giant" that tops all others in the Rocky Mountains.Mount Massive
Mount Massive is the second-highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,428-foot (4,398 m) fourteener of the Sawatch Range is located in the Mount Massive Wilderness of San Isabel National Forest, 10.6 miles (17.1 km) west-southwest (bearing 247°) of the City of Leadville in Lake County, Colorado, United States. Mount Massive edges out the third-highest summit of the Rockies, Mount Harvard, by 7 feet (2.1 m), but falls short of Mount Elbert by 12 feet (3.7 m). It ranks as the third-highest peak in the contiguous United States after Mount Whitney and Mount Elbert.Mount Meager massif
The Mount Meager massif is a group of volcanic peaks in the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. Part of the Cascade Volcanic Arc of western North America, it is located 150 km (93 mi) north of Vancouver at the northern end of the Pemberton Valley and reaches a maximum elevation of 2,680 m (8,790 ft). The massif is capped by several eroded volcanic edifices, including lava domes, volcanic plugs and overlapping piles of lava flows; these form at least six major summits including Mount Meager which is the second highest of the massif.
The Garibaldi Volcanic Belt (GVB) has a long history of eruptions and poses a threat to the surrounding region. Any volcanic hazard ranging from landslides to eruptions could pose a significant risk to humans and wildlife. Although the massif has not erupted for more than 2,000 years, it could produce a major eruption; if this were to happen, relief efforts would be quickly organized. Teams such as the Interagency Volcanic Event Notification Plan (IVENP) are prepared to notify people threatened by volcanic eruptions in Canada.
The Mount Meager massif produced the largest volcanic eruption in Canada in the last 10,000 years. About 2,400 years ago, an explosive eruption formed a volcanic crater on its northeastern flank and sent avalanches of hot ash, rock fragments and volcanic gases down the northern flank of the volcano. Evidence for more recent volcanic activity has been documented at the volcano, such as hot springs and earthquakes. The Mount Meager massif has also been the source of several large landslides in the past, including a massive debris flow in 2010 that swept down Meager Creek and the Lillooet River.North Twin Peak
North Twin (Peak) is one of the two peaks that comprise The Twins massif located at the northeast corner of the Columbia Icefield in Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada. The other lower peak is named South Twin (3,566 m). North Twin is the third-highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, after Mount Robson and Mount Columbia.
The massif was named The Twins in 1898 by J. Norman Collie and Hugh M. Stutfield. The decision to name the peaks separately was approved February 28, 1980.
In addition to North Twin and South Twin, the massif contains a northern subpeak of North Twin known as Twins Tower, 3,627 m (11,900 ft). This sits atop the famed north face of the massif (see below), and was named in 1984.Pikes Peak
Pikes Peak is the highest summit of the southern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, in North America. The ultra-prominent 14,115-foot (4,302.31 m) fourteener is located in Pike National Forest, 12 miles (19 km) west of downtown Colorado Springs, Colorado. The mountain is named in honor of American explorer Zebulon Pike, who was unable to reach the summit. The summit is higher than any point in the United States east of its longitude.Vinson Massif
Vinson Massif () is a large mountain massif in Antarctica that is 21 km (13 mi) long and 13 km (8.1 mi) wide and lies within the Sentinel Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. It overlooks the Ronne Ice Shelf near the base of the Antarctic Peninsula. The massif is located about 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) from the South Pole. Vinson Massif was discovered in January 1958 by U.S. Navy aircraft. In 1961, the Vinson Massif was named by the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN), after Carl G. Vinson, United States congressman from the state of Georgia, for his support for Antarctic exploration. On November 1, 2006, US-ACAN declared Mount Vinson and Vinson Massif to be separate entities.Mount Vinson is the highest peak in Antarctica, at 4,892 metres (16,050 ft). It lies in the north part of Vinson Massif's summit plateau in the south portion of the main ridge of the Sentinel Range about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) north of Hollister Peak. It was first climbed in 1966 by an American team led by Nicholas Clinch. An expedition in 2001 was the first to climb via the Eastern route, and also took GPS measurements of the height of the peak. As of February 2010, 1,400 climbers have attempted to reach the top of Mount Vinson.