A mountain is a large landform that rises above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak.[1] A mountain is generally steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism. These forces can locally raise the surface of the earth. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, and glaciers. A few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in huge mountain ranges.

High elevations on mountains produce colder climates than at sea level. These colder climates strongly affect the ecosystems of mountains: different elevations have different plants and animals. Because of the less hospitable terrain and climate, mountains tend to be used less for agriculture and more for resource extraction and recreation, such as mountain climbing.

The highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Asia, whose summit is 8,850 m (29,035 ft) above mean sea level. The highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars at 21,171 m (69,459 ft).

Monasterio Khor Virap, Armenia, 2016-10-01, DD 25
Mount Ararat, as seen from Armenia.


Batian Nelion and pt Slade in the foreground Mt Kenya
Peaks of Mount Kenya

There is no universally accepted definition of a mountain. Elevation, volume, relief, steepness, spacing and continuity have been used as criteria for defining a mountain.[1] In the Oxford English Dictionary a mountain is defined as "a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relatively to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable."[1]

Whether a landform is called a mountain may depend on local usage. Mount Scott outside Lawton, Oklahoma, USA, is only 251 m (823 ft) from its base to its highest point. Whittow's Dictionary of Physical Geography[2] states "Some authorities regard eminences above 600 metres (2,000 ft) as mountains, those below being referred to as hills."

In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, a mountain is usually defined as any summit at least 2,000 feet (or 610 metres) high,[3] whilst the official UK government's definition of a mountain, for the purposes of access, is a summit of 600 metres or higher.[4] In addition, some definitions also include a topographical prominence requirement, typically 100 or 500 feet (30 or 152 m).[5] At one time the U.S. Board on Geographic Names defined a mountain as being 1,000 feet (300 m) or taller,[6] but has abandoned the definition since the 1970s. Any similar landform lower than this height was considered a hill. However, today, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) concludes that these terms do not have technical definitions in the US.[7]

The UN Environmental Programme's definition of "mountainous environment" includes any of the following:[8]

  • Elevation of at least 2,500 m (8,200 ft);
  • Elevation of at least 1,500 m (4,900 ft), with a slope greater than 2 degrees;
  • Elevation of at least 1,000 m (3,300 ft), with a slope greater than 5 degrees;
  • Elevation of at least 300 m (980 ft), with a 300 m (980 ft) elevation range within 7 km (4.3 mi).

Using these definitions, mountains cover 33% of Eurasia, 19% of South America, 24% of North America, and 14% of Africa.[9] As a whole, 24% of the Earth's land mass is mountainous.[10]


There are three main types of mountains: volcanic, fold, and block.[11] All three types are formed from plate tectonics: when portions of the Earth's crust move, crumple, and dive. Compressional forces, isostatic uplift and intrusion of igneous matter forces surface rock upward, creating a landform higher than the surrounding features. The height of the feature makes it either a hill or, if higher and steeper, a mountain. Major mountains tend to occur in long linear arcs, indicating tectonic plate boundaries and activity.


Geologycal cross-section of Fuji
Geological cross-section of Fuji volcano

Volcanoes are formed when a plate is pushed below another plate, or at a mid-ocean ridge or hotspot.[12] At a depth of around 100 km, melting occurs in rock above the slab (due to the addition of water), and forms magma that reaches the surface. When the magma reaches the surface, it often builds a volcanic mountain, such as a shield volcano or a stratovolcano.[13] Examples of volcanoes include Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. The magma does not have to reach the surface in order to create a mountain: magma that solidifies below ground can still form dome mountains, such as Navajo Mountain in the US.

Fold mountains

Lewis overthrust fault nh10f
Illustration of mountains that developed on a fold that thrusted.

Fold mountains occur when two plates collide: shortening occurs along thrust faults and the crust is overthickened.[14] Since the less dense continental crust "floats" on the denser mantle rocks beneath, the weight of any crustal material forced upward to form hills, plateaus or mountains must be balanced by the buoyancy force of a much greater volume forced downward into the mantle. Thus the continental crust is normally much thicker under mountains, compared to lower lying areas.[15] Rock can fold either symmetrically or asymmetrically. The upfolds are anticlines and the downfolds are synclines: in asymmetric folding there may also be recumbent and overturned folds. The Balkan Mountains and the Jura Mountains are examples of fold mountains.

Block mountains

Vihren Pirin IMG 8898
Pirin Mountain, Bulgaria, part of the fault-block Rila-Rhodope massif

Block mountains are caused by faults in the crust: a plane where rocks have moved past each other. When rocks on one side of a fault rise relative to the other, it can form a mountain.[16] The uplifted blocks are block mountains or horsts. The intervening dropped blocks are termed graben: these can be small or form extensive rift valley systems. This form of landscape can be seen in East Africa, the Vosges, the Basin and Range Province of Western North America and the Rhine valley. These areas often occur when the regional stress is extensional and the crust is thinned.


Slide Mountain Catskills
The Catskills in Upstate New York represent an eroded plateau.

During and following uplift, mountains are subjected to the agents of erosion (water, wind, ice, and gravity) which gradually wear the uplifted area down. Erosion causes the surface of mountains to be younger than the rocks that form the mountains themselves.[17] Glacial processes produce characteristic landforms, such as pyramidal peaks, knife-edge arêtes, and bowl-shaped cirques that can contain lakes. Plateau mountains, such as the Catskills, are formed from the erosion of an uplifted plateau.

In earth science, erosion is the action of surface processes (such as water flow or wind) that removes soil, rock, or dissolved material from one location on the Earth's crust, and then transport it away to another location (not to be confused with weathering which involves no movement). The particulate breakdown of rock or soil into clastic sediment is referred to as physical or mechanical erosion; this contrasts with chemical erosion, where soil or rock material is removed from an area by its dissolving into a solvent (typically water), followed by the flow away of that solution. Eroded sediment or solutes may be transported just a few millimetres, or for thousands of kilometres.


Ural mountains 3 448122223 93fa978a6d b
A combination of high latitude and high altitude makes the northern Urals in picture to have climatic conditions that make the ground barren.

Climate in the mountains becomes colder at high elevations, due to an interaction between radiation and convection. Sunlight in the visible spectrum hits the ground and heats it. The ground then heats the air at the surface. If radiation were the only way to transfer heat from the ground to space, the greenhouse effect of gases in the atmosphere would keep the ground at roughly 333 K (60 °C; 140 °F), and the temperature would decay exponentially with height.[18]

However, when air is hot, it tends to expand, which lowers its density. Thus, hot air tends to rise and transfer heat upward. This is the process of convection. Convection comes to equilibrium when a parcel of air at a given altitude has the same density as its surroundings. Air is a poor conductor of heat, so a parcel of air will rise and fall without exchanging heat. This is known as an adiabatic process, which has a characteristic pressure-temperature dependence. As the pressure gets lower, the temperature decreases. The rate of decrease of temperature with elevation is known as the adiabatic lapse rate, which is approximately 9.8 °C per kilometre (or 5.4 °F per 1000 feet) of altitude.[18]

Note that the presence of water in the atmosphere complicates the process of convection. Water vapor contains latent heat of vaporization. As air rises and cools, it eventually becomes saturated and cannot hold its quantity of water vapor. The water vapor condenses (forming clouds), and releases heat, which changes the lapse rate from the dry adiabatic lapse rate to the moist adiabatic lapse rate (5.5 °C per kilometre or 3 °F per 1000 feet)[19] The actual lapse rate can vary by altitude and by location.

Therefore, moving up 100 metres on a mountain is roughly equivalent to moving 80 kilometres (45 miles or 0.75° of latitude) towards the nearest pole.[20] This relationship is only approximate, however, since local factors such as proximity to oceans (such as the Arctic Ocean) can drastically modify the climate.[21] As the altitude increases, the main form of precipitation becomes snow and the winds increase.[22]

The effect of the climate on the ecology at an elevation can be largely captured through a combination of amount of precipitation, and the biotemperature, as described by Leslie Holdridge in 1947.[23] Biotemperature is the mean temperature; all temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) are considered to be 0 °C. When the temperature is below 0 °C, plants are dormant, so the exact temperature is unimportant. The peaks of mountains with permanent snow can have a biotemperature below 1.5 °C (34.7 °F).


An alpine mire in the Swiss Alps

The colder climate on mountains affects the plants and animals residing on mountains. A particular set of plants and animals tend to be adapted to a relatively narrow range of climate. Thus, ecosystems tend to lie along elevation bands of roughly constant climate. This is called altitudinal zonation.[24] In regions with dry climates, the tendency of mountains to have higher precipitation as well as lower temperatures also provides for varying conditions, which enhances zonation.[25][26]

Some plants and animals found in altitudinal zones tend to become isolated since the conditions above and below a particular zone will be inhospitable and thus constrain their movements or dispersal. These isolated ecological systems are known as sky islands.[27]

Altitudinal zones tend to follow a typical pattern. At the highest elevations, trees cannot grow, and whatever life may be present will be of the alpine type, resembling tundra.[26] Just below the tree line, one may find subalpine forests of needleleaf trees, which can withstand cold, dry conditions.[28] Below that, montane forests grow. In the temperate portions of the earth, those forests tend to be needleleaf trees, while in the tropics, they can be broadleaf trees growing in a rain forest.

Mountains and humans

The silver-rich Cerro Rico in Potosí, Bolivia, was in colonial times an immerse source of wealth for the Spanish administration.

The highest known permanently tolerable altitude is at 5,950 metres (19,520 ft).[29] At very high altitudes, the decreasing atmospheric pressure means that less oxygen is available for breathing, and there is less protection against solar radiation (UV).[25] Above 8,000 metres (26,000 ft) elevation, there is not enough oxygen to support human life. This is known as the "death zone".[30] The summits of Mount Everest and K2 are in the death zone.

Mountain societies and economies

Mountains are generally less preferable for human habitation than lowlands, because of harsh weather and little level ground suitable for agriculture. While 7% of the land area of Earth is above 2,500 metres (8,200 ft),[9] only 140 million people live above that altitude[31] and only 20-30 million people above 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) elevation.[32] About half of mountain dwellers live in the Andes, Central Asia, and Africa.[10]

With limited access to infrastructure, only a handful of human communities exist above 4,000 metres (13,000 ft) of elevation. Many are small and have heavily specialized economies, often relying on industries such as agriculture, mining, and tourism. An example of such a specialized town is La Rinconada, Peru, a gold-mining town and the highest elevation human habitation at 5,100 metres (16,700 ft).[33] A counterexample is El Alto, Bolivia, at 4,150 metres (13,620 ft), which has a highly diverse service and manufacturing economy and a population of nearly 1 million.[34]

Traditional mountain societies rely on agriculture, with higher risk of crop failure than at lower elevations. Minerals often occur in mountains, with mining being an important component of the economics of some montane societies. More recently, tourism supports mountain communities, with some intensive development around attractions such as national parks or ski resorts.[35] About 80% of mountain people live below the poverty line.[10]

Most of the world's rivers are fed from mountain sources, with snow acting as a storage mechanism for downstream users.[36] More than half of humanity depends on mountains for water.[37]

In geopolitics mountains are often seen as preferable "natural boundaries" between polities.[38]


M Rainier
Mountain climbers ascending Mount Rainier

Mountaineering, mountain climbing, or alpinism is the sport, hobby or profession of hiking, skiing, and climbing mountains. While mountaineering began as attempts to reach the highest point of unclimbed big mountains it has branched into specializations that address different aspects of the mountain and consists of three areas: rock-craft, snow-craft and skiing, depending on whether the route chosen is over rock, snow or ice. All require experience, athletic ability, and technical knowledge to maintain safety.[39]


Mount Everest, the highest peak on Earth
Volcán Chimborazo, "El Taita Chimborazo"
Chimborazo, Ecuador. The point on Earth's surface farthest from its centre.[40]

Heights of mountains are typically measured above sea level. Using this metric, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft).[41] There are at least 100 mountains with heights of over 7,200 metres (23,622 ft) above sea level, all of which are located in central and southern Asia. The highest mountains above sea level are generally not the highest above the surrounding terrain. There is no precise definition of surrounding base, but Denali,[42] Mount Kilimanjaro and Nanga Parbat are possible candidates for the tallest mountain on land by this measure. The bases of mountain islands are below sea level, and given this consideration Mauna Kea (4,207 m (13,802 ft) above sea level) is the world's tallest mountain and volcano, rising about 10,203 m (33,474 ft) from the Pacific Ocean floor.[43]

The highest mountains are not generally the most voluminous. Mauna Loa (4,169 m or 13,678 ft) is the largest mountain on Earth in terms of base area (about 2,000 sq mi or 5,200 km2) and volume (about 18,000 cu mi or 75,000 km3).[44] Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest non-shield volcano in terms of both base area (245 sq mi or 635 km2) and volume (1,150 cu mi or 4,793 km3). Mount Logan is the largest non-volcanic mountain in base area (120 sq mi or 311 km2).

The highest mountains above sea level are also not those with peaks farthest from the centre of the Earth, because the figure of the Earth is not spherical. Sea level closer to the equator is several miles farther from the centre of the Earth. The summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador's tallest mountain, is usually considered to be the farthest point from the Earth's centre, although the southern summit of Peru's tallest mountain, Huascarán, is another contender.[45] Both have elevations above sea level more than 2 kilometres (6,600 ft) less than that of Everest.

See also


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    - Van Houtum, H. (2005). The geopolitics of borders and boundaries. Geopolitics, 10(4), 672-679.
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  42. ^ Helman, Adam (2005). The Finest Peaks: Prominence and Other Mountain Measures. Trafford. p. 9. ISBN 1-4122-3664-9. the base to peak rise of Denali is the largest of any mountain that lies entirely above sea level, some 18,000 feet.
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External links


The Alps (; French: Alpes [alp]; German: Alpen [ˈalpn̩]; Italian: Alpi [ˈalpi]; Romansh: Alps; Slovene: Alpe [ˈáːlpɛ]) are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, separating Southern from Central and Western Europe and stretching approximately 1,200 kilometres (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

The altitude and size of the range affects the climate in Europe; in the mountains precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m (11,155 ft), and plants such as Edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations. Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era. A mummified man, determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991.

By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal famously crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, and artists, in particular, the Romantics, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks.

The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity. The traditional culture of farming, cheesemaking, and woodworking still exists in Alpine villages, although the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded greatly after World War II to become the dominant industry by the end of the century. The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, Italian, Austrian and German Alps. At present, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors.


The Andes or Andean Mountains (Spanish: Cordillera de los Andes) are the longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of South America. This range is about 7,000 km (4,300 mi) long, about 200 to 700 km (120 to 430 mi) wide (widest between 18° south and 20° south latitude), and of an average height of about 4,000 m (13,000 ft). The Andes extend from north to south through seven South American countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Along their length, the Andes are split into several ranges, separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes are the location of several high plateaus – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Cali, Arequipa, Medellín, Sucre, Mérida and La Paz. The Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest after the Tibetan plateau. These ranges are in turn grouped into three major divisions based on climate: the Tropical Andes, the Dry Andes, and the Wet Andes.

The Andes Mountains are the world's highest mountain range outside Asia. The highest mountain outside Asia, Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6,961 m (22,838 ft) above sea level. The peak of Chimborazo in the Ecuadorian Andes is farther from the Earth's center than any other location on the Earth's surface, due to the equatorial bulge resulting from the Earth's rotation. The world's highest volcanoes are in the Andes, including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina border, which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft).

The Andes are also part of the American Cordillera, a chain of mountain ranges (cordillera) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica.

Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians first formed roughly 480 million years ago during the Ordovician Period. They once reached elevations similar to those of the Alps and the Rocky Mountains before experiencing natural erosion. The Appalachian chain is a barrier to east–west travel, as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in opposition to most highways and railroads running east–west.

Definitions vary on the precise boundaries of the Appalachians. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) defines the Appalachian Highlands physiographic division as consisting of thirteen provinces: the Atlantic Coast Uplands, Eastern Newfoundland Atlantic, Maritime Acadian Highlands, Maritime Plain, Notre Dame and Mégantic Mountains, Western Newfoundland Mountains, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Saint Lawrence Valley, Appalachian Plateaus, New England province, and the Adirondack areas. A common variant definition does not include the Adirondack Mountains, which geologically belong to the Grenville Orogeny and have a different geological history from the rest of the Appalachians.

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain is a 2005 American romantic drama film directed by Ang Lee and produced by Diana Ossana and James Schamus. Adapted from the 1997 short story of the same name by Annie Proulx, the screenplay was written by Ossana and Larry McMurtry. The film stars Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, and Michelle Williams, and depicts the complex emotional and sexual relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist in the American West from 1963 to 1983.The film received critical acclaim and commercial success. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, Best Picture and Best Director at the British Academy Film Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Producers Guild of America Awards, Critics' Choice Movie Awards, and Independent Spirit Awards, among others. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, the most nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, where it won three—Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Score—though it lost the Best Picture award to Crash in a controversial Oscars upset.In 2018, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It is currently the most recent film chosen to be in the Registry.


The cougar (Puma concolor), also commonly known by other names including catamount, mountain lion, panther, and puma, is a large felid of the subfamily Felinae native to the Americas.

Its range, from the Canadian Yukon to the southern Andes of South America, is the widest of any large wild terrestrial mammal in the Western Hemisphere. An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types. It is the biggest cat in North America, and the second-heaviest cat in the New World after the jaguar. Secretive and largely solitary by nature, the cougar is properly considered both nocturnal and crepuscular, although daytime sightings do occur. The cougar is more closely related to smaller felines, including the domestic cat (subfamily Felinae), than to any species of subfamily Pantherinae, of which only the jaguar is native to the Americas.

The cougar is an ambush predator that pursues a wide variety of prey. Primary food sources are ungulates, particularly deer. It also hunts species as small as insects and rodents. This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas. The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities. Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey. While large, it is not always the apex predator in its range, yielding prey it has killed to lone jaguars, American black bears, and grizzly bears, and to groups of gray wolves. It is reclusive and mostly avoids people. Fatal attacks on humans are rare, but have recently been increasing in North America as more people enter cougar territories.Intensive hunting following European colonization of the Americas and the ongoing human development of cougar habitat has caused populations to drop in most parts of its historical range. In particular, the North American cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for the isolated Florida panther subpopulation. Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois (where a cougar was shot in the city limits of Chicago), and in at least one instance, observed as far east as coastal Connecticut. Reports of eastern cougars (P. c. cougar) still surface, although it was declared extirpated in 2011.


The Himalayas, or Himalaya (), form a mountain range in Asia, separating the plains of the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. The range has many of the Earth's highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest. The Himalayas include over fifty mountains exceeding 7,200 m (23,600 ft) in elevation, including ten of the fourteen 8,000-metre peaks. By contrast, the highest peak outside Asia (Aconcagua, in the Andes) is 6,961 m (22,838 ft) tall.Lifted by the subduction of the Indian tectonic plate under the Eurasian Plate, the Himalayan mountain range runs west-northwest to east-southeast in an arc 2,400 km (1,500 mi) long. Its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of Indus river. Its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, is just west of the great bend of the Yarlung Tsangpo River (upper stream of the Brahmaputra River). The Himalayan range is bordered on the northwest by the Karakoram and the Hindu Kush ranges. To the north, the chain is separated from the Tibetan Plateau by a 50–60 km (31–37 mi) wide tectonic valley called the Indus-Tsangpo Suture. Towards the south the arc of the Himalaya is ringed by the very low Indo-Gangetic Plain. The range varies in width from 350 km (220 mi) in the west (Pakistan) to 150 km (93 mi) in the east (Arunachal Pradesh). The Himalayas are distinct from the other great ranges of central Asia, although sometimes the term 'Himalaya' (or 'Greater Himalaya') is loosely used to include the Karakoram and some of the other ranges.

The Himalayas are inhabited by 52.7 million people, and are spread across five countries: Nepal, India, Bhutan, China and Pakistan. Some of the world's major rivers – the Indus, the Ganges and the Tsangpo-Brahmaputra – rise in the Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to roughly 600 million people. The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of the region, helping to keep the monsoon rains on the Indian plain and limiting rainfall on the Tibetan plateau. The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of the Indian subcontinent; many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Hinduism and Buddhism.


K2 (Urdu: کے ٹو‎, Kai Ṭū), also known as Mount Godwin-Austen or Chhogori (Balti and Urdu: چھوغوری‎, Chinese: 乔戈里峰), at 8,611 metres (28,251 ft) above sea level, is the second highest mountain in the world, after Mount Everest at 8,848 metres (29,029 ft). It is located on the China–Pakistan border between Baltistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of northern Pakistan, and the Taxkorgan Tajik Autonomous County of Xinjiang, China. K2 is the highest point of the Karakoram range and the highest point in both Pakistan and Xinjiang.

K2 is known as the Savage Mountain due to the extreme difficulty of ascent. It has the second-highest fatality rate among the eight-thousanders, with around 300 successful summits and 77 fatalities; about one person dies on the mountain for every four who reach the summit. It is more difficult and hazardous to reach the peak of K2 from the Chinese side, so it is usually climbed from the Pakistani side. K2 has never been climbed during winter, unlike Annapurna, the mountain with the highest fatality-to-summit rate (191 summits and 61 fatalities), or the other eight-thousanders. Ascents have almost always been made in July and August, the warmest times of year; K2's more northern location makes it more susceptible to inclement and colder weather.

Mount Everest

Mount Everest, known in Nepali as Sagarmatha (सगरमाथा) and in Tibetan as Chomolungma (ཇོ་མོ་གླང་མ), is Earth's highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. The international border between Nepal (Province No. 1) and China (Tibet Autonomous Region) runs across its summit point.

The current official elevation of 8,848 m (29,029 ft), recognized by China and Nepal, was established by a 1955 Indian survey and subsequently confirmed by a Chinese survey in 1975. In 2005, China remeasured the rock height of the mountain, with a result of 8844.43 m (29,017 ft). There followed an argument between China and Nepal as to whether the official height should be the rock height (8,844 m, China) or the snow height (8,848 m, Nepal). In 2010, an agreement was reached by both sides that the height of Everest is 8,848 m, and Nepal recognizes China's claim that the rock height of Everest is 8,844 m.In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society, upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. As there appeared to be several different local names, Waugh chose to name the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest, despite Everest's objections.Mount Everest attracts many climbers, some of them highly experienced mountaineers. There are two main climbing routes, one approaching the summit from the southeast in Nepal (known as the "standard route") and the other from the north in Tibet. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather, and wind, as well as significant hazards from avalanches and the Khumbu Icefall. As of 2017, nearly 300 people have died on Everest, many of whose bodies remain on the mountain.The first recorded efforts to reach Everest's summit were made by British mountaineers. As Nepal did not allow foreigners into the country at the time, the British made several attempts on the north ridge route from the Tibetan side. After the first reconnaissance expedition by the British in 1921 reached 7,000 m (22,970 ft) on the North Col, the 1922 expedition pushed the north ridge route up to 8,320 m (27,300 ft), marking the first time a human had climbed above 8,000 m (26,247 ft). Seven porters were killed in an avalanche on the descent from the North Col. The 1924 expedition resulted in one of the greatest mysteries on Everest to this day: George Mallory and Andrew Irvine made a final summit attempt on 8 June but never returned, sparking debate as to whether or not they were the first to reach the top. They had been spotted high on the mountain that day but disappeared in the clouds, never to be seen again, until Mallory's body was found in 1999 at 8,155 m (26,755 ft) on the north face. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary made the first official ascent of Everest in 1953, using the southeast ridge route. Norgay had reached 8,595 m (28,199 ft) the previous year as a member of the 1952 Swiss expedition. The Chinese mountaineering team of Wang Fuzhou, Gonpo, and Qu Yinhua made the first reported ascent of the peak from the north ridge on 25 May 1960.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji (富士山, Fujisan, IPA: [ɸɯꜜdʑisaɴ] (listen)), located on Honshū, is the highest volcano in Japan at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft), 2nd-highest peak of an island (volcanic) in Asia, and 7th-highest peak of an island in the world. It is a dormant stratovolcano that last erupted in 1707–1708. Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometers (60 mi) south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped for about 5 months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers.Mount Fuji is one of Japan's "Three Holy Mountains" (三霊山, Sanreizan) along with Mount Tate and Mount Haku. It is also a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and one of Japan's Historic Sites. It was added to the World Heritage List as a Cultural Site on June 22, 2013. According to UNESCO, Mount Fuji has "inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries". UNESCO recognizes 25 sites of cultural interest within the Mount Fuji locality. These 25 locations include the mountain and the Shinto shrine, Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha, as well as the Buddhist Taisekiji Head Temple founded in 1290, later immortalized by Japanese ukiyo-e artist Katsushika Hokusai.

Mount Kilimanjaro

Mount Kilimanjaro or just Kilimanjaro ( ), with its three volcanic cones, "Kibo", "Mawenzi", and "Shira", is a dormant volcano in Tanzania. It is the highest mountain in Africa, with its summit about 4,900 metres (16,100 ft) from its base, and 5,895 metres (19,341 ft) above sea level. The first people known to have reached the summit of the mountain were Hans Meyer and Ludwig Purtscheller, in 1889. The mountain is part of Kilimanjaro National Park and is a major climbing destination. The mountain has been the subject of many scientific studies because of its shrinking glaciers and disappearing ice fields.

Mount Rushmore

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is centered around a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills in Keystone, South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum created the sculpture's design and oversaw the project's execution from 1927 to 1941 with the help of his son Lincoln Borglum. The sculpture features the 60-foot (18 m) heads of Presidents George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The four presidents were chosen, respectively, to represent the birth, the growth, the development, and the preservation of the United States. The memorial park covers 1,278.45 acres (2.00 sq mi; 5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. His initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from Native American groups. They settled on Mount Rushmore, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature American West heroes such as Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum decided that the sculpture should have broader appeal and chose the four presidents.

US Senator for South Dakota Peter Norbeck sponsored the project and secured federal funding; construction began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Gutzon Borglum died in March 1941, and his son Lincoln took over as leader of the construction project. Each president was originally to be depicted from head to waist, but lack of funding forced construction to end on October 31, 1941.Sometimes referred to as the "Shrine of Democracy", Mount Rushmore attracts more than two million visitors annually.

Mountain Dew

Mountain Dew (stylized as Mtn Dew) is a carbonated soft drink brand produced and owned by PepsiCo. The original formula was invented in 1940 by Tennessee beverage bottlers Barney and Ally Hartman. A revised formula was created by Bill Bridgforth in 1958. The rights to this formula were obtained by the Tip Corporation of Marion, Virginia. William H. "Bill" Jones of the Tip Corporation further refined the formula, launching that version of Mountain Dew in 1961. In August 1964, the Mountain Dew brand and production rights were acquired from Tip by the Pepsi-Cola company, and the distribution expanded across the United States and Canada.Between the 1940s and 1980s there was one variety of Mountain Dew, which was citrus-flavored and caffeinated in most markets. Diet Mountain Dew was introduced in 1988, followed by Mountain Dew Red, which was introduced and discontinued in 1988. In 2001, a cherry flavor called Code Red debuted. This product line extension trend has continued, with expansion into specialty, limited time production, region-specific, and retailer-specific (Taco Bell, 7-Eleven) variations of Mountain Dew.

Production was extended to the UK in 1996, but was phased out in 1998. A similarly named but different-tasting product has been sold in the UK under the name "Mountain Dew Energy" since 2010 and in Ireland since the spring of 2011. The product was renamed in 2014 to simply 'Mountain Dew'. As of 2017, Mountain Dew represented a 6.6% share of the carbonated soft drinks market in the US. Its competition includes The Coca-Cola Company's Mello Yello and Surge, and Dr Pepper Snapple Group's Sun Drop; Mountain Dew accounts for 80% of citrus soft drinks sold within the US.

Mountain Time Zone

The Mountain Time Zone of North America keeps time by subtracting seven hours from Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) when standard time is in effect, and by subtracting six hours during daylight saving time (UTC−06:00). The clock time in this zone is based on the mean solar time at the 105th meridian west of the Greenwich Observatory. In the United States, the exact specification for the location of time zones and the dividing lines between zones is set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations at 49 CFR 71.In the United States and Canada, this time zone is generically called Mountain Time (MT). Specifically, it is Mountain Standard Time (MST) when observing standard time, and Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) when observing daylight saving time. The term refers to how the Rocky Mountains, which range from northwestern Canada to the US state of New Mexico, are located almost entirely in the time zone. In Mexico, this time zone is known as the Zona Pacífico (Pacific Zone). In the US and Canada, the Mountain Time Zone is to the east of the Pacific Time Zone and to the west of the Central Time Zone.

In some areas, starting in 2007, the local time changes from MST to MDT at 2 am MST to 3 am MDT on the second Sunday in March and returns at 2 am MDT to 1 am MST on the first Sunday in November.

Sonora in Mexico and most of Arizona in the United States do not observe daylight saving time, and during the spring, summer, and autumn months they are on the same time as Pacific Daylight Time. The Navajo Nation, most of which lies within Arizona but extends into Utah and New Mexico (which do observe DST), does observe DST, although the Hopi Nation, as well as some Arizona state offices lying within the Navajo Nation, do not.

The largest city in the Mountain Time Zone is Phoenix, Arizona. The Phoenix metropolitan area is the largest metropolitan area in the zone; the next largest metropolitan area that observes Mountain Time is Denver, closely followed by the El Paso–Juárez area.

TV broadcasting in the Mountain Time Zone is typically tape-delayed one hour, so that shows match the broadcast times of the Central Time Zone (i.e. prime time begins at 7 pm MT following the same order of programming as the Central Time Zone).

Mountain range

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 an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.

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.


The Ozarks, also called the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Plateau, is a physiographic region in the U.S. states of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and extreme southeastern Kansas. The Ozarks cover a significant portion of northern Arkansas and most of the southern half of Missouri, extending from Interstate 40 in Arkansas to the Interstate 70 in central Missouri.

There are two mountain ranges within the Ozarks: the Boston Mountains of Arkansas and the St. Francois Mountains of Missouri. Buffalo Lookout, the highest point in the Ozarks, is located in the Boston Mountains. Geologically, the area is a broad dome with the exposed core in the ancient St. Francois Mountains, some of the oldest rocks in North America. The Ozarks cover nearly 47,000 square miles (120,000 km2), making it the most extensive highland region between the Appalachians and Rockies. Together with the Ouachita Mountains, the area is known as the U.S. Interior Highlands.

The Salem Plateau, named after Salem, Missouri, makes up the largest geologic area of the Ozarks. The second largest is the Springfield Plateau, named after Springfield, Missouri, nicknamed the “Queen City of the Ozarks”. On the northern Ozark border are the cities of St. Louis and Columbia, Missouri. Significant cities in Arkansas include Fayetteville. Near the Missouri-Arkansas border is Branson, Missouri, a tourist destination and popularizer of Ozark culture.

Phoenix, Arizona

Phoenix () is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,626,000 people (as of 2017). It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 11th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017. Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County and the largest city in the state at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.Phoenix was settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers and was incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889. It is located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with the original settler's crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" anchoring Phoenix's economy. These remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the state of Arizona.

Rocky Mountains

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch more than 4,800 kilometers (3,000 mi) from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are somewhat distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.

The Rocky Mountains formed 80 million to 55 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny, in which a number of plates began sliding underneath the North American plate. The angle of subduction was shallow, resulting in a broad belt of mountains running down western North America. Since then, further tectonic activity and erosion by glaciers have sculpted the Rockies into dramatic peaks and valleys. At the end of the last ice age, humans began inhabiting the mountain range. After Europeans, such as Sir Alexander Mackenzie, and Americans, such as the Lewis and Clark expedition, began exploring the range, minerals and furs drove the initial economic exploitation of the mountains, although the range itself never experienced dense population.

Public parks and forest lands protect much of the mountain range, and they are popular tourist destinations, especially for hiking, camping, mountaineering, fishing, hunting, mountain biking, skiing, and snowboarding.


A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. The topographic terms acme, apex, peak (mountain peak), and zenith are synonymous.

The term top (mountain top) is generally used only for a mountain peak that is located at some distance from the nearest point of higher elevation. For example, a big massive rock next to the main summit of a mountain is not considered a summit. Summits near a higher peak, with some prominence or isolation, but not reaching a certain cutoff value for the quantities, are often considered subsummits (or subpeaks) of the higher peak, and are considered part of the same mountain. A pyramidal peak is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion of a mountain top. Summit may also refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route.

The highest summit in the world is Everest with height of 8844.43 m above sea level (29,029 ft). The first official ascent was made by Tenzing Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary. They reached the mountain`s peak in 1953.Whether a highest point is classified as a summit, a sub peak or a separate mountain is subjective. The UIAA definition of a peak is that it has a prominence of 30 metres (98 ft) or more; it is a mountain summit if it has a prominence of at least 300 metres (980 ft). Otherwise, it's a subpeak.

In many parts of the western United States, the term summit refers to the highest point along a road, highway, or railroad. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80 in California is referred to as Donner Summit and the highest point on Interstate 5 is Siskiyou Mountain Summit.

Western Ghats

Western Ghats also known as Sahyadri (Benevolent Mountains) is a mountain range that covers an area of 140,000 km² in a stretch of 1,600 km parallel to the western coast of the Indian peninsula, traverse the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight "hottest hot-spots" of biological diversity in the world. It is sometimes called the Great Escarpment of India. It is a biodiversity hotspot that contains a large proportion of the country's flora and fauna; many of which are only found in India and nowhere else in the world. According to UNESCO, Western Ghats are older than Himalayan mountains. It also influences Indian monsoon weather patterns by

intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer. The range runs north to south along the western edge of the Deccan Plateau, and separates the plateau from a narrow coastal plain, called Konkan, along the Arabian Sea. A total of thirty-nine areas including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests were designated as world heritage sites - twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.The range starts near the Songadh town of Gujarat, south of the Tapti river, and runs approximately 1,600 km (990 mi) through the states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu ending at Marunthuvazh Malai, at Swamithope, near the southern tip of India. These hills cover 160,000 km2 (62,000 sq mi) and form the catchment area for complex riverine drainage systems that drain almost 40% of India. The Western Ghats block southwest monsoon winds from reaching the Deccan Plateau. The average elevation is around 1,200 m (3,900 ft).The area is one of the world's ten "Hottest biodiversity hotspots" and has over 7,402 species of flowering plants, 1,814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species, 6,000 insects species and 290 freshwater fish species; it is likely that many undiscovered species live in the Western Ghats. At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.

Continental plain
Oceanic and
coastal landforms

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