Massif

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.[1]

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.

The Face on Mars is an example of an extraterrestrial massif.[2]

Massifs may also form underwater, as with the Atlantis Massif.[3]

List of massifs

Africa

Antarctica

Asia

Europe

North America

Oceania

Caribbean

South America

Submerged

Panoramic view of Mont Blanc massif, an example of a massif and also the highest summit in the Alps.
Panoramic view of Mont Blanc massif, an example of a massif and also the highest summit in the Alps.[4]

References

  1. ^ Allen, 2008, Time scales of tectonic landscapes and their sediment routing systems, Geol. Soc. Lon. Sp. Pub., v. 296, p. 7–28.
  2. ^ Britt, Robert Roy (2006-09-21). "Mars Face Makeover: Controversial Formation Observed from New Angles". Space.com. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  3. ^ Blackman, Donna (2002). "Geology of the Atlantis Massif (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30°N): Implications for the evolution of an ultramafic oceanic core complex". Marine Geophysical Researches. 23 (5): 443–469. Bibcode:2002MarGR..23..443B. doi:10.1023/b:mari.0000018232.14085.75.
  4. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2009". 2009-11-06.

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