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Altai Mountains 1
Himalayas 6
Atlas Mountains 20
Andes 25
Appalachian Mountains 39
Cordillera 52
Hindu Kush 53
Caucasus 58
Alps 64
Carpathian Mountains 72
Pyrenees 78

Article Sources and Contributors 87
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 90

Article Licenses
License 94
Altai Mountains 1

Altai Mountains
The Altai Mountains (Russian: Алтай, Altay;
Mongolian: Алтай or Алтайн нуруу; Kazakh: Алтай
таулары; Chinese: 阿尔泰山脉) are a mountain range
in central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and
Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh
and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are
known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic[1]
as well as other members of the proposed Altaic
language group. The northwest end of the range is at
52° N and between 84° and 90° E (where it merges
with the Sayan Mountains to the east), and extends
Belukha mountain
southeast from there to about 45°N 99°E, where it
gradually becomes lower and merges into the high
plateau of the Gobi Desert.

The name, in Turkic Alytau or Altai, means Al (gold), tau (mount); in Mongolian Алтайн нуруу Altain nuruu, the
"Mountains of Gold". The proposed Altaic language family takes its name from the mountain range.

(For the area north of the Altai, see
Geography of South-Central Siberia.)
In the north of the region is the Sailughem
Mountains, also known as Kolyvan Altai,
which stretch northeast from 49° N and 86°
E towards the western extremity of the
Sayan Mountains in 51° 60' N and 89° E.
Their mean elevation is 1,500 to 1,750 m.
The snow-line runs at 2,000 m on the
northern side and at 2,400 m on the
southern, and above it the rugged peaks
tower up some 1,000 m more. Mountain
passes across the range are few and difficult,
Map of the Altai mountain range the chief being the Ulan-daban at 2,827 m
(2,879 m according to Kozlov), and the
Chapchan-daban, at 3,217 m, in the south and north respectively. On the east and southeast this range is flanked by
the great plateau of Mongolia, the transition being effected gradually by means of several minor plateaus, such as
Ukok 2380 m with Pazyryk valley, Chuya 1,830 m, Kendykty 2,500 m, Kak 2,520 m, Suok 2,590 m, and Juvlu-kul
2,410 m.

This region is studded with large lakes, e.g. Uvs Nuur 720 m above sea level, Kirghiz-nor, Durga-nor and Khovd
Nuur 1,170 m, and traversed by various mountain ranges, of which the principal are the Tannu-Ola Mountains,
running roughly parallel with the Sayan Mountains as far east as the Kosso-gol, and the Khan-khu Mountains, also
stretching west and east.
Altai Mountains 2

The north western and northern slopes of the

Sailughem Mountains are extremely steep and difficult
to access. On this side lies the highest summit of the
range, the double-headed Belukha, whose summits
reach 4,506 and 4,440 m respectively, and give origin
to several glaciers (30 square kilometeres in aggregate
area, as of 1911). Altaians call it Kadyn Bazhy, but is
also called Uch-Sumer.[2] The second highest peak of
the range is in Mongolian part named Khüiten Peak.
This massive reaches 4374 m. Numerous spurs, striking
in all directions from the Sailughem mountains, fill up
the space between that range and the lowlands of
Tomsk. Such are the Chuya Alps, having an average Belukha - highest mountain in Altay and Siberia

altitude of 2,700 m, with summits from 3,500 to 3,700

m, and at least ten glaciers on their northern slope; the
Katun Alps, which have a mean elevation of about
3,000 m and are mostly snow-clad; the Kholzun range;
the Korgon 1,900 to 2,300 m, Talitskand Selitsk
ranges; the Tigeretsk Alps.

Several secondary plateaus of lower altitude are also

distinguished by geographers, The Katun valley begins
as a wild gorge on the south-west slope of Belukha;
then, after a big bend, the river (600 km long) pierces Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan
the Katun Alps, and enters a wider valley, lying at an
altitude of from 600 to 1,100 m, which it follows until
it emerges from the Altai highlands to join the Biya in a
most picturesque region. The Katun and the Biya
together form the Ob.

The next valley is that of the Charysh, which has the

Korgon and Tigeretsk Alps on one side and the Talitsk
and Bashalatsk Alps on the other. This, too, is very
fertile. The Altai, seen from this valley, presents the
most romantic scenes, including the small but deep
Kolyvan lake (altitude 360 m), which is surrounded by Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan
fantastic granite domes and towers.

Farther west the valleys of the Uba, the Ulba and the Bukhtarma open south-westwards towards the Irtysh. The
lower part of the first, like the lower valley of the Charysh, is thickly populated; in the valley of the Ulba is the
Riddersk mine, at the foot of the Ivanovsk Peak (2,060 m), clothed with alpine meadows. The valley of the
Bukhtarma, which has a length of 320 km, also has its origin at the foot of the Belukha and the Kuitun peaks, and as
it falls some 1,500 m in about 300 km,
Altai Mountains 3

from an alpine plateau at an elevation of 1,900 m to the

Bukhtarma fortress (345 m), it offers the most striking
contrasts of landscape and vegetation. Its upper parts
abound in glaciers, the best known of which is the
Berel, which comes down from the Byelukha. On the
northern side of the range which separates the upper
Bukhtarma from the upper Katun is the Katun glacier,
which after two ice-falls widens out to 700 to 900
metres. From a grotto in this glacier bursts
tumultuously the Katun river.

The middle and lower parts of the Bukhtarma valley Markakol reserve, Altay Mountains, Kazakhstan
have been colonized since the 18th century by runaway
Russian peasants, serfs and religious schismatics
(Raskolniks), who created a free republic there on
Chinese territory; and after this part of the valley was
annexed to Russia in 1869, it was rapidly colonized.
The high valleys farther north, on the same western
face of the Sailughem range, are but little known, their
only visitors being Kyrgyz shepherds.

Those of Bashkaus, Chulyshman, and Chulcha, all

three leading to the alpine lake of Teletskoye (length,
80 km; maximum width, 5 km; altitude, 520 m; area,
230.8 square kilometeres; maximum depth, 310 m;
mean depth, 200 m), are inhabited by Telengit people.
The shores of the lake rise almost sheer to over 1,800 Katun River in the Altai Mountains

m. From this lake issues the Biya, which joins the

Katun at Biysk, and then meanders through the prairies
of the north-west of the Altai.

Farther north the Altai highlands are continued in the

Kuznetsk district, which has a slightly different
geological aspect, but still belongs to the Altai system.
But the Abakan River, which rises on the western
shoulder of the Sayan mountains, belongs to the system
of the Yenisei. The Kuznetsk Ala-tau range, on the left
bank of the Abakan, runs north-east into the
government of Yeniseisk, while a complexus of
mountains (Chukchut, Salair, Abakan) fills up the
Altai, Valley Kutsherla in the Altai Mountains
country northwards towards the Trans-Siberian
Railway and westwards towards the Ob.

The Ek-tagh or Mongolian Altai, which separates the Khovd basin on the north from the Irtysh basin on the south, is
a true border-range, in that it rises in a steep and lofty escarpment from the Dzungarian depression
Altai Mountains 4

(470–900 m), but descends on the north by a relatively

short slope to the plateau (1,150 to 1,680 m) of
north-western Mongolia. East of 94° E the range is
continued by a double series of mountain chains, all of
which exhibit less sharply marked orographical features
and are at considerably lower elevations. The slopes of
the constituent chains of the system are inhabited
principally by nomadic Kyrgyz.

Altai Mountains (Lake Kucerla)
The Altai Mountains have been identified as being the
point of origin of a cultural enigma termed the
Seima-Turbino Phenomenon[3] which arose during the Bronze Age around the start of the 2nd millennium BC and
led to a rapid and massive migration of peoples from the region into distant parts of Europe and Asia.

World Heritage site

A vast area of 16,178 km² - Altai and Katun Natural Reserves, Lake Teletskoye, Mount Belukha and the Ukok
Plateau - comprise a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site entitled Golden Mountains of Altai. As stated in the
UNESCO description of the site, "the region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in
central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation". While making its
decision, UNESCO also cited Russian Altai's importance for preservation of the globally endangered mammals, such
as snow leopard and the Altai argali. Siberian Ibex also live in these mountains.[4] The Uvs Nuur basin is also a
protected site.
Violations of the protection status of Argali sheep and other species have been alleged, together with accusations of
corruption, in the Altaigate Scandal. The incident arose from the death of several Russian VIPs in a helicopter crash
early in 2009, purportedly on a poaching excursion.

The Siberian Altai represents the northern most region
affected by the tectonic collision of India into Asia.
Massive fault systems run through the area, including
the Kurai fault zone and the recently identified
Tashanta fault zone. These fault systems are typically
thrusts or right lateral strike-slip faults, some of which
are tectonically active. Rock types in the mountains are
typically granites and metamorphic schists, and some
are highly sheared near to fault zones.

Seismic activity Altai, Lake Kutsherla in the Altai Mountains

On 27 September 2003 a massive earthquake,

measuring MW 7.3, occurred in the Chuya Basin area to the south of the Altai region. Seismic activity is however a
rare occurrence. This earthquake and its aftershocks devastated much of the region, causing $10.6 million in damage
(USGS) and wiping out the village of Beltir.
Altai Mountains 5

[1] http:/ / www. turkishlanguage. co. uk/ about. htm
[2] http:/ / eng. altai-republic. ru/ modules. php?op=modload& name=Sections& file=index& req=viewarticle& artid=57& page=1
[3] Keys, David (January 2009). "Scholars crack the code of an ancient enigma". BBC History Magazine 10 (1): 9.
[4] "Greater Altai – Altai Krai, Republic of Altai, Tyva (Tuva), and Novosibirsk - Crossroads" (http:/ / www. pacificenvironment. org/ article.
php?id=934). . Retrieved 2006-11-30.

•  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911).
Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.

External links
• Photos of Mountain Altai ( - Altai-Photo
• Altai-Project of the Technical University of Dresden ( - Institute
of Cartography
• Golden Mountains of Altai ( at Natural Heritage Protection
Fund (
• UNESCO's evaluation of Altai ( (PDF file)
Himalayas 6


The north face of Mount Everest as seen from the path to the base camp in Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China.

Countries  Bhutan,  People's Republic of China,  India,  Nepal,  Pakistan,  Burma,  Afghanistan

Highest point Mount Everest

 - elevation 8848 m (29029 ft)

 - coordinates 27°59′17″N 86°55′31″E

The Himalaya Range or Himalaya Mountains ( /ˌhɪməˈleɪ.ə/ or /hɪˈmɑːlᵊjə/;[1] [2] Sanskrit: Devanagari: हिमालय,
literally "abode of snow"), usually called the Himalayas or Himalaya for short, is a mountain range in Asia,
separating the Indian subcontinent from the Tibetan Plateau. By extension, it is also the name of a massive mountain
system that includes the Karakoram, the Hindu Kush, and other, lesser, ranges that extend out from the Pamir Knot.
Together, the Himalayan mountain system is the planet's highest, and home to the world's highest peaks, the
Eight-thousanders, which include Mount Everest and K2. To comprehend the enormous scale of this mountain
range, consider that Aconcagua, in the Andes, at 6962 metres (22841 ft) is the highest peak outside Asia, whereas the
Himalayan system includes over 100 mountains exceeding 7200 m (23622 ft).[3]
Some of the world's major rivers, the Ganges, Indus, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Red River (Asia),
Xunjiang, Chao Phraya, Irrawaddy River, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Tarim River and Yellow River, rise in the
Himalayas, and their combined drainage basin is home to some 3 billion people (almost half of Earth's population) in
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, People's Republic of China, India, Nepal, Burma, Cambodia, Tajikistan,
Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia and Pakistan.
The Himalayas have profoundly shaped the cultures of South Asia; many Himalayan peaks are sacred in Hinduism,
Buddhism and Sikhism. The main Himalaya range runs west to east, from the Indus river valley to the Brahmaputra
river valley, forming an arc 2400 km (1491 mi) long, which varies in width from 400 km (249 mi) in the western
Kashmir-Xinjiang region to 150 km (93 mi) in the eastern Tibet-Arunachal Pradesh region. The range consists of
three coextensive sub-ranges, with the northernmost, and highest, known as the Great or Inner Himalayas.
Himalayas 7

The general location of the Himalayas mountain range. NASA Landsat-7 Imagery of Himalayas

Everest, the highest peak of the Himalayas (left) and K2, on the border of Pakistan and People's Republic of Kangchenjunga, on the border of Nepal and Sikkim,
Lhotse (right), no. 5 China

The flora and fauna of the Himalayas vary with climate, rainfall, altitude, and soils. The climate ranges from tropical
at the base of the mountains to permanent ice and snow at the highest elevations. The amount of yearly rainfall
increases from west to east along the front of the range. This diversity of climate, altitude, rainfall and soil conditions
generates a variety of distinct plant and animal communities. In fact the extrema of high altitude (low atmospheric
pressure) and very cold at the most elevated reaches allow extremophile organisms to survive.[4]

Lowland forests
On the Indo-Gangetic plain at the base of the mountains, an alluvial plain drained by the Indus and
Ganges-Brahmaputra river systems, vegetation varies from west to east with rainfall. The xeric Northwestern thorn
scrub forests occupy the plains of Pakistan and the Indian Punjab. Further east lie the Upper Gangetic plains moist
deciduous forests of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh and Lower Gangetic plains moist deciduous forests of Bihar and
West Bengal. These are monsoon forests, with drought-deciduous trees that lose their leaves during the dry season.
The moister Brahmaputra Valley semi-evergreen forests occupy the plains of Assam.
Himalayas 8

The Terai belt

Above the alluvial plain lies the Terai strip, a seasonally marshy zone of sand and clay soils. The Terai has higher
rainfall than the plains, and the downward-rushing rivers of the Himalaya slow down and spread out in the flatter
Terai zone, depositing fertile silt during the monsoon season and receding in the dry season. The Terai has a high
water table due to groundwater percolating down from the adjacent zone. The central part of the Terai belt is
occupied by the Terai-Duar savanna and grasslands, a mosaic of grasslands, savannas, deciduous and evergreen
forests that includes some of the world's tallest grasslands. The grasslands of the Terai belt are home to the Indian
rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis).

Bhabhar belt
Above the Terai belt is an upland zone known as the Bhabhar, a zone of porous and rocky soils made up of debris
washed down from the higher ranges. The Bhabhar and the lower Shiwalik ranges have a subtropical climate. The
Himalayan subtropical pine forests occupy the western end of the subtropical belt, with forests dominated by Chir
Pine (Pinus roxburghii). The central part of the range is home to the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests,
dominated by the sal tree (Shorea robusta). They are at the foot of the Himalayas where the Himalayan streams
descend on to the plains.

Shiwalik Hills
Also called Churia or Margalla Hills, Sivalik Hills is an intermittent outermost range of foothills extending across
the Himalayan region through Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bhutan. This region consists of many sub-ranges. Summits
are generally 600 to 1200 metres (2000 to 3900 ft). Steeper southern slopes form along a fault zone called
Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT); northern slopes are gentler. Permeable conglomerates and other rocks allow
rainwater to percolate downslope into the Bhabhar and Terai, supporting only scrubby forests upslope. The
Himalayan subtropical pine and broadleaf forests continue here.

Inner Terai or Dun Valleys

The Inner Terai valleys are open valleys north of Shiwalik Hills or nestled between Shiwalik subranges. Examples
include Dehra Dun in India and Chitwan in Nepal. Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests grow here.

Lesser Himalaya
Also called Mahabharat Range, the Lesser Himalayas is a prominent range 2000 to 3000 metres (6600 to 9800 ft)
high formed along the Main Boundary Thrust fault zone, with a steep southern face and gentler northern slopes.
They are nearly continuous except for river gorges, where rivers from to the north gather like candelabra in a handful
of places to break through the range.
At these elevations and above the biogeography of the Himalayas is generally divided by the Kali Gandaki Gorge in
central Nepal, one of the deepest canyons in the world.
At the middle elevations of the range, the subtropical forests yield to a belt of temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
growing between 1500 and 3000 metres (4900 and 9800 ft), with the western Himalayan broadleaf forests to the
west of the Gandaki River, and the eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests to the east. The western broadleaf forests
stretch from the Kashmir Valley, across Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, and through western Nepal. The eastern
broadleaf forests stretch across eastern Nepal, through Sikkim and Bhutan, and through much of Arunachal Pradesh.
Himalayas 9

This 'hilly' region (Pahad), averaging about 1000 metres (3300 ft) immediately north of the Mahabharat Range, rises
over about 100 kilometres ( ft) to about 4000 metres (13000 ft) at the Main Central Thrust fault zone, where the
Greater Himalaya begin.
Above the broadleaf forests, between 3000 and 4000 metres (9800 and 13000 ft), are temperate coniferous forests,
likewise split by the Gandaki River. The western Himalayan subalpine conifer forests are found below treeline in
northern Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and western Nepal. The eastern Himalayan
subalpine conifer forests are found in eastern Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh. Along the border
between Arunachal Pradesh and Tibet, the eastern subalpine conifer forests mix with the northeastern Himalayan
subalpine conifer forests. East Himalayan Fir, West Himalayan Spruce, and Himalayan Hemlock are some important
trees of these forests. Rhododendrons are exceptionally diverse here, with over 60 species recorded in the
northeastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests.

Greater Himalaya
North of the Main Central Thrust, the highest ranges rise abruptly as much as 4000 metres (13000 ft) into the realm
of perpetual snow and ice. As the Himalayan system becomes wider from east to west, the number of parallel high
ranges increases. For example, the Kagmara and Kanjiroba ranges both reach well over 6000 metres (20000 ft) north
of the Dhaulagiri Himalaya in central Nepal.
Montane grasslands and shrublands grow above treeline. The northwestern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows are
found in the high elevations of northern Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh. To the east, the
western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows cover extensive areas along the Tibetan border with Uttarakhand and
western Nepal. The eastern Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows grow above the eastern and northeastern subalpine
conifer forests, along the Tibetan border with eastern Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan, and Arunachal Pradesh. The
shrublands are composed of junipers as well as a wide variety of rhododendrons. They also possess a remarkable
variety of wildflowers: Valley of Flowers National Park in the western Himalayan alpine shrub and meadows
contains hundreds of species. The upper limit of the grasslands increases from west to east, rising from 3500 metres
(11500 ft) to 5500 metres (18000 ft). The grasslands are the summer habitat of the endangered snow leopard (Uncia
Himalayas 10

The watershed between rivers flowing south into the Ganges or Indus and rivers flowing north into the Brahmaputra
or mainstem Indus that flow around the ends of the entire range often follows somewhat lower, less rugged
mountains tens of kilometers north of the highest ranges. South-flowing rivers form valleys in this region, often
semi-arid due to rainshadow effects. These valleys hold some of the highest permanent villages on earth.

Origins and growth

The Himalayas are among the youngest mountain ranges on the planet
and consist mostly of uplifted sedimentary and metamorphic rock.
According to the modern theory of plate tectonics, their formation is a
result of a continental collision or orogeny along the convergent
boundary between the Indo-Australian Plate and the Eurasian Plate.
This is referred to as a fold mountain.

The collision began in the Upper Cretaceous period about 70 million

years ago, when the north-moving Indo-Australian Plate, moving at
about 15 cm per year, collided with the Eurasian Plate. About 50
million years ago, this fast moving Indo-Australian plate had
completely closed the Tethys Ocean, the existence of which has been
determined by sedimentary rocks settled on the ocean floor, and the
volcanoes that fringed its edges. Since these sediments were light, they
crumpled into mountain ranges rather than sinking to the floor. The
Indo-Australian plate continues to be driven horizontally below the
Tibetan plateau, which forces the plateau to move upwards. The
Arakan Yoma highlands in Myanmar and the Andaman and Nicobar
Islands in the Bay of Bengal were also formed as a result of this

The Indo-Australian plate is still moving at 67 mm per year, and over The 6,000 km plus journey of the India landmass
the next 10 million years it will travel about 1,500 km into Asia. About (Indian Plate) before its collision with Asia
20 mm per year of the India-Asia convergence is absorbed by thrusting (Eurasian Plate) about 40 to 50 million years ago

along the Himalaya southern front. This leads to the Himalayas rising
by about 5 mm per year, making them geologically active. The movement of the Indian plate into the Asian plate
also makes this region seismically active, leading to earthquakes from time to time.

Glaciers and river systems

The Himalayan range encompasses about 15,000 glaciers, which store about 12,000 km3 of freshwater. The
70 km-long Siachen Glacier at the India-Pakistan border is the second longest glacier in the world outside the polar
region. Some of the other more famous glaciers include the Gangotri and Yamunotri (Uttarakhand), Nubra, Biafo
and Baltoro (Karakoram region), Zemu (Sikkim) and Khumbu glaciers (Mount Everest region).
The higher regions of the Himalayas are snowbound throughout the year, in spite of their proximity to the tropics,
and they form the sources for several large perennial rivers, most of which combine into two large river systems:
• The western rivers combine into the Indus Basin, of which the Indus River is the largest. The Indus begins in
Tibet at the confluence of Sengge and Gar rivers and flows southwest through India and then through Pakistan to
the Arabian Sea. It is fed by the Jhelum, the Chenab, the Ravi, the Beas, and the Sutlej rivers, among others.
Himalayas 11

• Most of the other Himalayan rivers drain the Ganges-Brahmaputra Basin. Its two main rivers are the Ganges and
the Brahmaputra and the Yamuna, among other tributaries. The Brahmaputra originates as the Yarlung Tsangpo
River in western Tibet, and flows east through Tibet and west through the plains of Assam. The Ganges and the
Brahmaputra meet in Bangladesh, and drain into the Bay of Bengal through the world's largest river delta.[5]
The eastern-most Himalayan rivers feed the Ayeyarwady River, which originates in eastern Tibet and flows south
through Myanmar to drain into the Andaman Sea.
The Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and the Huang He (Yellow River) all originate from parts of the Tibetan plateau that
are geologically distinct from the Himalaya mountains, and are therefore not considered true Himalayan rivers. Some
geologists refer to all the rivers collectively as the circum-Himalayan rivers.[6] In recent years, scientists have
monitored a notable increase in the rate of glacier retreat across the region as a result of global climate change.[7]
Although the effect of this will not be known for many years, it potentially could mean disaster for the hundreds of
millions of people who rely on the glaciers to feed the rivers of northern India during the dry seasons.[8]

Glaciers near K2 in the People's This image shows the termini of the glaciers Snow-capped peaks and
Republic of China and Pakistan. in the Bhutan-Himalaya. Glacial lakes have ridges of the eastern
been forming rapidly on the surface of the Himalaya Mountains
debris-covered glaciers in this region during create an irregular
the last few decades. white-on-red patchwork
between major rivers in
south-western China.

The Himalaya region is dotted with hundreds of lakes.
Most lakes are found at altitudes of less than 5,000 m,
with the size of the lakes diminishing with altitude.
Pangong Tso, which is spread across the border
between India and China, and Yamdrok Tso, located in
central Tibet, are amongst the largest with a surface
area of (700 km²), respectively (638 km²). Other
notable lakes include Gurudogmar lake in North
Sikkim, Tsongmo lake, near the Indo-China border in
Sikkim, and Tilicho lake in Nepal in the Annapurna
A high Himalayan lake at an altitude of around 5,000 metres Sikkim,
The mountain lakes are known to geographers as tarns India

if they are caused by glacial activity. Tarns are found

mostly in the upper reaches of the Himalaya, above 5,500 metres.[9]
Himalayas 12

Impact on climate
The Himalayas have a profound effect on the climate of
the Indian subcontinent and the Tibetan plateau. They
prevent frigid, dry Arctic winds blowing south into the
subcontinent, which keeps South Asia much warmer
than corresponding temperate regions in the other
continents. It also forms a barrier for the monsoon
winds, keeping them from traveling northwards, and
causing heavy rainfall in the Terai region. The
Himalayas are also believed to play an important part
in the formation of Central Asian deserts, such as the
Taklamakan and Gobi. Pass in Ladakh with the typical Buddhist prayer flags and chorten

The mountain ranges also prevent western winter

disturbances in Iran from traveling further, resulting in snow in Kashmir and rainfall for parts of Punjab and northern
India. Despite being a barrier to the cold, northernly winter winds, the Brahmaputra valley receives part of the frigid
winds, thus lowering the temperature in the North East India and Bangladesh.
The Himalayas, which are often called "The Roof of the World", contain the greatest area of glaciers and permafrost
outside of the poles. Ten of Asia’s largest rivers flow from here, and more than a billion people’s livelihoods depend
on them. To complicate matters, temperatures are rising more rapidly here than the global average. In Nepal, the
temperature has risen 0.6 degree C over the last decade, whereas the global warming has been around 0.7 degree C
over the last hundred years.[10]

Mountain passes
The rugged terrain makes few routes through the
mountains possible. Some of these routes include:
• Banihal is an important pass connecting the hill
areas of Jammu to the Kashmir Valley.
• Zoji La lies between the vale of Kashmir and the
Kargil district, and is the only Western entrance to
the highlands of Ladakh.
• Rohtang Pass in Himachal Pradesh, India. The Himalayan range at Yumesongdong in Sikkim, in the Yumthang
River valley
• Mohan Pass is the principal pass in the Siwalik
Hills, the southern most and geologically youngest
foothills running parallel to the main Himalayas in Sikkim.
• Kora La at 4594 metres (15072 ft) elevation on the Nepal-Tibet border at the upper end of Mustang. The Kali
Gandaki Gorge (a graben), transects the main Himalaya and Transhimalayan ranges. Kora La is the lowest pass
through both ranges between K2 and Everest, but some 300 metres (980 ft) higher than Nathula and Jelepla
passes further east between Sikkim and Tibet.
• Arniko Rajmarg/Friendship Highway route from Kathmandu, Nepal crossing into Tibet at Kodari/Zhangmu, to
Nyalam, Lalung-La pass (5,050m/16,570'), Tingri, Xêgar, Lakpa La pass (5,250m/17,225'), to Lhatse on the
Yarlung Tsangpo/Brahmaputra River about 460 road kilometers west of Lhasa.
• Gangtok in Sikkim to Lhasa in Tibet, via the Nathula Pass and Jelepla Passes (offshoots of the ancient Silk Road).
Himalayas 13

Impact on politics and culture

It should be noted that almost half of the humans and
livestock of India live on one-third of the landscape
within 500 km of the Himalayan range.
The Himalayas, due to their large size and expanse,
have been a natural barrier to the movement of people
for tens of thousands of years. In particular, this has
prevented intermingling of people from the Indian
subcontinent with people from China and Mongolia,
causing significantly different languages and customs
between these regions. The Himalayas have also
hindered trade routes and prevented military Mountain sheds like these are used by the rural populace as shelter
expeditions across its expanse. For instance, Genghis for cattle in summer months as they take them for grazing in higher
Khan could not expand his empire south of the altitudes.

Himalayas into the subcontinent.

Notable peaks of the Himalayan system (includes outlying ranges)

Peak Name Other names and meaning Elevation Elevation First Notes
(m) (ft) Rank Western

Everest 8,848 29,035.44 1 1953 East of Kathmandu on Nepal-China (Tibet)

Sagarmatha (Nepali), "Head
[11] border.
of the World",
Chomolangma Feng
(Tibetan), "Goddess mother
of the snows"

K2 Chogo Gangri, Qogir Feng, 8,611 28,251 2 1954 On border between Xinjiang, China and
Mount Godwin Austen, Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

Kangchenjunga Kangchen Dzö-nga, "Five 8,586 28,169 3 1955 On Nepal's far eastern border with Sikkim,
Treasures of the Great Snow" India.

Lhotse "South Peak" 8,516 27,940 4 1956 On Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Part of Everest

Makalu "The Great Black" 8,462 27,765 5 1955 On Nepal-China (Tibet) border, east of Mt.

Cho Oyu Qowowuyag, "Turquoise 8,201 26,905 6 1954 On Nepal-China (Tibet) border, west of Mt.
Goddess" Everest.

Dhaulagiri "White Mountain" 8,167 26,764 7 1960 Central Nepal, west of Kaligandaki River.

Manaslu Kutang, "Mountain of the 8,156 26,758 8 1956 Central Nepal, east of Pokhara.

Nanga Parbat Diamir, "Naked Mountain" 8,126 26,660 9 1953 Northern of Pakistan. East end of Himalaya,
overlooking Indus River.

Annapurna "Goddess of the Harvests" 8,091 26,545 10 1950 Central Nepal, north of Pokhara.

Gasherbrum I "Beautiful Mountain" 8,080 26,509 11 1958 Pakistan Karakoram

Broad Peak Faichan Kangri 8,047 26,401 12 1957 Pakistan Karakoram

Gasherbrum II - 8,035 26,362 13 1956 Pakistan Karakoram

Himalayas 14

Shishapangma Xixiabangma, "Crest Above 8,013 26,289 14 1964 Tibet Autonomous Region, People's Republic of
The Grassy Plains", China, about 10km north of Nepal border.

Gyachung Kang unknown 7,952 26,089 15 1964 On Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Highest
mountain under 8,000 meters.

Gasherbrum IV - 7,925 26,001 17 1958 Pakistan Karakoram

Masherbrum unknown 7,821 25,660 22 1960 Pakistan Karakoram

Nanda Devi "Bliss-giving Goddess" 7,817 25,645 23 1936 Uttarakhand, India. Highest peak entirely within

Rakaposhi "Shining Wall" 7,788 25,551 1958 Pakistan Karakoram

Tirich Mir "King of Shadows" or "King 7,708 25,289 1950 Pakistan near Chitral. Highest peak in Hindu
of Tirich Valley" Kush

Gangkhar Gankar Punzum, "Three 7,570 24,836 Unclimbed Bhutan. World's highest unclimbed peak.
Puensum Mountain Siblings" Off-limits to mountaineers.

Ismoil Somoni "Stalin Peak" 1933-1962 7,495 24,590 50 1933 Tajikistan Pamir, highest in former USSR
Peak "Communism Peak"

Machapuchare "Fish Tail" 6,993 22,943 1957 (short of In Annapurna range, appearing Matterhorn-like
actual from Pokhara, Nepal. Considered sacred to Lord
summit.) Shiva, currently off-limits.

Ama Dablam "Mother And Her Necklace" 6,848 22,467 1961 Considered by some to be one of the most
beautiful peaks in the Himalayas. In Khumbu
region, Nepal.

Kailash Sanskrit: Kailāsa Parvata, 6,638 21,778 Unclimbed Located in western Tibet near sources of Indus,
Tibetan: Kang Rinpoche Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej Rivers. Sacred
(Precious Snow Peak), to Bön, Buddhist, Hindu and Jain religions.
Chinese: Gāngrénbōqí fēng Circumambulated by many pilgrims.


2004 photo mosaic the Himalayas with Makalu and Mount Everest from the International Space Station, Expedition

A panorama of Garhwal Himalaya from Dhanaulti, India

Himalayas 15

Notable Himalayan mountaineers

• George Mallory (1886–1924) Attempted first ascent of Mount Everest in 1922 and 1924; died on North Face
along with Sandy Irvine.
• Noel Odell (1890–1987) British. First ascent, in 1936, of Nanda Devi, which remained the highest summitted
peak until 1950. Last person to see Mallory and Irvine high up on Everest in 1924.
• Bill Tilman (1898–1977) British. First ascent of Nanda Devi in 1936. In 1934, first person to penetrate Nanda
Devi sanctuary
• Frank Smythe (1900–1949) British. Kamet, and early attempt on Kangchenjunga.
• Eric Shipton (1907–1977) British. With Bill Tilman, first to penetrate Nanda Devi sanctuary. Discovered route to
Everest over Khumbu Glacier.
• John Hunt (1910–1998) British. Leader of 1953 expedition of Mount Everest.
• Tenzing Norgay (1914–1986) Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer. First man on Everest's summit along with Edmund
• Maurice Herzog (b. 1919) First person to summit an Eight-thousander, Annapurna, in 1950. Lost all toes and
most fingers due to frostbite. Peak not climbed again until 1970.
• Sir Edmund Hillary (1919–2008) New Zealand mountaineer and explorer, the first man on Everest's summit
along with Tenzing Norgay.
• Tom Bourdillon (1924–1956) member of British Everest expeditions 1951, 1952, and 1953, reached 300 feet
(90 m) from summit of Everest three days before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay finally conquered it.
• Hermann Buhl (1924–1957) First ascent of Nanga Parbat in 1953 (feat accomplished solo and without oxygen).
First ascent of Broad Peak. Died in fall on Chogolisa, body never found.
• Willi Unsoeld (1926–1979) United States. First ascent of Everest from West Face and first major traverse of a
Himalayan peak, with Tom Hornbein 1963. Daughter Nanda Devi Unsoeld killed during Nanda Devi expedition
1976. Died during avalanche on Mount Rainier, 1979.
• Chris Bonington (b. 1934) First ascent of Annapurna (South Face), 4 ascents of Everest.
• Nawang Gombu (b. 1936) Indian mountaineer. First person to climb Everest twice: 1963 and 1965.
• Jim Whittaker (b. 1936) United States. First American to summit Everest.
• Reinhold Messner (born 1944) Italian mountaineer. First man to climb all fourteen mountains over 8000 metres
(collectively known as the eight-thousanders).
• Jerzy Kukuczka (1948–1989) Polish mountaineer. Ascended all fourteen eight-thousanders faster than anybody
else, establishing ten new routes.
• Erhard Loretan Swiss climber Ascended all 14 8000ers
• Nazir Sabir Pakistani mountaineer. First ascent of two eight thousanders (Broad Peak & Gasherbrum II) in a
single attempt.
• Swami Sundaranand (b. 1926 India) Climbed 25 mountains with little or no equipment from 1950-1990 to
experience open eyed Samādhi using the ancient techniques of the Himalayan yogis. Noted also for his extensive
photography of the Indian Himalayas.[13] [14] [15]
• Casey Mackins An English mountaineer who climbed Mt Everest by a new route without oxygen from Tibet in
1984 and then again from Nepal in 1990 during his famous Sea to Summit expedition where he became the first
person to climb Everest starting from sea level
• José Antonio Delgado Sucre(1965–2006) was the first Venezuelan mountaineer to reach the summit of five
eight-thousanders. He was one of the most experienced climbers in Latin America.
• Ed Viesturs (b. June 22, 1959) is the first American, and 12th person overall, to summit all fourteen
eight-thousanders, and the sixth climber to do it without bottled oxygen.
• Pemba Dorjie (born c. 1977) a Sherpa who currently holds the world record for the quickest climb to the summit
of Mount Everest from camp. On May 21, 2004 Dorjie set that record, with a total time of 8 hours and 10
Himalayas 16

• Apa Sherpa (born c. 1960) On May 21, 2009, successfully summited Mt. Everest for the 19th time, breaking his
own record for most successful ascents.
• Krzysztof Wielicki (born 1950) Polish mountaineer, the fifth man to climb all fourteen eight-thousanders. Three
of them (Mount Everest, Kangchenjunga and Lhotse) he ascended as the first man ever to do it in winter.

Several places in the Himalaya are of religious
significance in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. In
Hinduism, the Himalaya have also been personified as
the god Himavat, the father of Shiva's consort, Parvati.
Some of the important religious places in the
Himalayas are:-
• Haridwar, the place where the river Ganges enters
the plains.
• Badrinath, a temple dedicated to Vishnu.
• Kedarnath, where one of the 12 Jyotirlingas is
• Gaumukh, the source of the Bhagirathi (and hence, The Taktshang Monastery, also known as the "Tiger's Nest"
by extension, the Ganges), located a few miles
above the town of Gangotri.
• Devprayag, where the Alaknanda and Bhagirathi
merge to form the Ganges.
• Rishikesh, has a temple of Lakshmana.
• Mount Kailash, a 6,638 m high peak which is the
abode of the Hindu Gods Shiva and Uma and is also
venerated by Buddhists. The peak is forbidden to
climb, it is so sacred it is circled at its base. Lake
Manasarowar lies at the base of Mount Kailash, and
is the source of the Brahmaputra.
• Amarnath, has a natural Shiva linga of ice which
forms for a few weeks each year. Thousands of
people visit this cave during these few weeks. The Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu & Kashmir, India.
• The Vaishno Devi is a popular shrine among Durga
• Sri Hemkund Sahib - Sikh gurudwara where Guru Gobind Singh is claimed to have meditated and achieved
enlightenment in a previous incarnation.
In addition to the above, a number of Tibetan Buddhist sites are situated in the Himalaya, including the residence of
the Dalai Lama. There were over 6,000 monasteries in Tibet.[16] The Tibetan Muslims had their own mosques in
Lhasa and Shigatse.[17]
The following mystic entities are associated with the Himalayas:
• The Yeti is one of the most famous creatures in cryptozoology. It is a large primate-like creature that is supposed
to live in the Himalaya. Most mainstream scientists and experts consider current evidence of the Yeti's existence
unpersuasive, and the result of hoaxes, legend or misidentification of mundane creatures.
• Shambhala is a mystical city with various legends associated with it, it is one of twenty-four Himalayan hidden
realms, or beyul, in Vajrayana Buddhism.[18] While some legends consider it to be a real city where secret
Himalayas 17

Buddhist doctrines are being preserved, other legends believe that the city does not physically exist, and can only
be reached in the mental realm.

The Himalayas in art,

literature, and film
• Kim, by Rudyard Kipling, is the
signature account of life in 19th
century India as seen through British
eyes and is based on the exploits of a
young boy in the Himalayas and
plains of India while engaged in the
Great Game.
• Shangri-La is a fictional utopia
situated somewhere in the
Himalayas, based on the legendary
«Tibet. Himalayas», 1933 Nicholas Roerich
Shambhala. It is described in the
novel Lost Horizon, written by the
British writer James Hilton in 1933.
• Tintin in Tibet is one of the series of classic comic-strip albums, written and illustrated by Belgian writer and
illustrator Hergé, featuring the young reporter Tintin investigating a plane crash in the Gosain Than massif in the
Himalayas. (1960)
• The Hollywood movie Vertical Limit (2000), is set in the K2 peak of the Himalayas, in Pakistan.
• Several levels of Tomb Raider II and one level in Tomb Raider: Legend of the Tomb Raider series are situated in
the Himalayas.
• The Inheritance of Loss written by Kiran Desai is partly set in the Himalaya Mountains.
• Rumer Godden's novel Black Narcissus (1939) is about an order of nuns who set up a convent in the Himalayas.
The film, released in 1947 by Powell and Pressburger and starring Deborah Kerr, was not actually shot in the
Himalayas and relied primarily on matte paintings to evoke the mountains.
• Isabel Allende's novel, Kingdom of the Golden Dragon takes place mostly in the Forbidden Kingdom, a fictional
country in the Himalayas.
• Dragon Rider is authored by Cornelia Funke and tells the story of an epic journey that a small boy, a brownie,
and a dragon take to the "Rim of Heaven," a place in the Himalayas where dragons reside.
• Expedition Everest - Legend of the Forbidden Mountain is an elaborately themed roller coaster located at Disney's
Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World that takes riders through a yeti-guarded Mount Everest.
• Seven Years in Tibet is an autobiographical travel book written by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer based on
his real life experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951 during the Second World War and the interim period
before the Communist Chinese People's Liberation Army invaded Tibet in 1950. Heinrich Harrer took part in a
German mountaineering expedition to the Himalayas, intending to climb Nanga Parbat, the ninth-highest
mountain in the world.
• Seven Years in Tibet (1997 film) is a 1997 film based on the book of the same name written by Austrian
mountaineer Heinrich Harrer.
• Journey of a Red Fridge [19] (2007), directed by Lucian and Natasa Muntean (Lunam Docs), is an award-winning
documentary that tells the story of child porters working in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal.
• G.I. Joe: The Movie is a 1987 animated feature in which an ancient civilization known as Cobra La has taken
refuge deep within the Himalayas after the Ice Age that nearly wiped them off the face of the Earth.
Himalayas 18

[1] (http:/ / oxforddictionaries. com/ view/ entry/ m_en_gb0378930#m_en_gb0378930)
[2] (http:/ / encyclopedia2. thefreedictionary. com/ Himalayas)
[3] Yang, Qinye (2004). Himalayan Mountain System (http:/ / books. google. com/ ?id=4q_XoMACOxkC& pg=PA25& lpg=PA23&
dq="South+ Tibet+ Valley"). ISBN 9787508506654. . Retrieved 2007-08-07.
[4] C.Michael Hogan. 2010. Archaea. eds. E.Monosson & C.Cleveland, Encyclopedia of Earth. National Council for Science and the
Environment, Washington DC. (http:/ / www. eoearth. org/ article/ Archaea?topic=49496)
[5] "Sunderbans the world’s largest delta" (http:/ / www. gits4u. com/ wb/ wb6a. htm). .
[6] Gaillardet, J; Métivier, Lemarchand, Dupré, Allégre, Li, Zhao (2003). "Geochemistry of the Suspended Sediments of Circum-Himalayan
Rivers and Weathering Budgets over the Last 50 Myrs" (http:/ / www. cosis. net/ abstracts/ EAE03/ 13617/ EAE03-J-13617. pdf) (PDF).
Geophysical Research Abstracts 5 (13617). . Retrieved 2006-11-04.
[7] "Vanishing Himalayan Glaciers Threaten a Billion" (http:/ / www. planetark. com/ dailynewsstory. cfm/ newsid/ 42387/ story. htm). Planet
Ark. June 5, 2007. . Retrieved 2009-04-17.
[8] "Glaciers melting at alarming speed" (http:/ / english. peopledaily. com. cn/ 90001/ 90781/ 90879/ 6222327. html). People's Daily Online.
July 24, 2007. . Retrieved 2009-04-17.
[9] Drews, Carl. "Highest Lake in the World" (http:/ / www. highestlake. com/ highest-lake-world. html). . Retrieved 2010-11-14.
[10] Gravgaard, Anna-Katarina (2009-12-13). "Nepalis note climate change" (http:/ / www. globalpost. com/ dispatch/ asia/ 091208/
nepal-glaciers-climate-change). Global Post. .
[11] Unsworth, Walt (2000). Everest - The Mountaineering History (3rd ed.). Bâton Wicks. p. 584. ISBN 978-1898573401.
[12] "No Longer Everest but Mount Qomolangma" (http:/ / english. people. com. cn/ 200211/ 19/ eng20021119_107017. shtml). People's Daily
Online. 2002-11-20. . Retrieved 2005-06-09.
[13] United Nations, May 2007, Our Planet magazine
[14] Personal Time with Swami-ji, 157 mins Film, The Center for Healing Arts (http:/ / thecenterforhealingarts. com/ swamiji. php)
[15] Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sudu Published August 2001 ISBN 81-901326-0-1
[16] Tibetan monks: A controlled life (http:/ / news. bbc. co. uk/ 2/ hi/ asia-pacific/ 7307495. stm). BBC News. March 20, 2008.
[17] Mosques in Lhasa, Tibet (http:/ / english. peopledaily. com. cn/ 200510/ 27/ eng20051027_217176. html). People's Daily Online. October
27, 2005.
[18] Levine, Norma (1993). Blessing Power of the Buddhas: Sacred Objects, Secret Lands. Element Books. p. 132. ISBN 1-85230-305-0.
[19] http:/ / www. lunamdocs. com/

Further reading
• Aitken, Bill, Footloose in the Himalaya, Delhi, Permanent Black, 2003. ISBN 81-7824-052-1
• Berreman, Gerald Duane, Hindus of the Himalayas: Ethnography and Change, 2nd rev. ed., Delhi, Oxford
University Press, 1997.
• Bisht, Ramesh Chandra, Encyclopedia of the Himalayas, New Delhi, Mittal Publications, c2008.
• Everest, the IMAX movie (1998). ISBN 0-7888-1493-1
• Fisher, James F., Sherpas: Reflections on Change in Himalayan Nepal, 1990. Berkeley, University of California
Press, 1990. ISBN 0-520-06941-2
• Gansser, Augusto, Gruschke, Andreas, Olschak, Blanche C., Himalayas. Growing Mountains, Living Myths,
Migrating Peoples, New York, Oxford: Facts On File, 1987. ISBN 0-8160-1994-0 and New Delhi: Bookwise,
• Gupta, Raj Kumar, Bibliography of the Himalayas, Gurgaon, Indian Documentation Service, 1981
• Hunt, John, Ascent of Everest, London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1956. ISBN 0-89886-361-9
• Isserman, Maurice and Weaver, Stewart, Fallen Giants: The History of Himalayan Mountaineering from the Age
of Empire to the Age of Extremes. Yale University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-300-11501-7
• Ives, Jack D. and Messerli, Bruno, The Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling Development and Conservation.
London / New York, Routledge, 1989. ISBN 0-415-01157-4
• Lall, J.S. (ed.) in association with Moddie, A.D., The Himalaya, Aspects of Change. Delhi, Oxford University
Press, 1981. ISBN 0-19-561254-X
• Nandy, S.N., Dhyani, P.P. and Samal, P.K., Resource Information Database of the Indian Himalaya, Almora,
GBPIHED, 2006.
• Palin, Michael, Himalaya, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson Illustrated, 2004. ISBN 0-297-84371-0
Himalayas 19

• Swami Sundaranand, Himalaya: Through the Lens of a Sadhu. Published by Tapovan Kuti Prakashan (August
2001). ISBN 81-901326-0-1
• Swami Tapovan Maharaj, Wanderings in the Himalayas, English Edition, Madras, Chinmaya Publication Trust,
1960. Translated by T.N. Kesava Pillai.
• Tilman, H. W., Mount Everest, 1938, Cambridge University Press, 1948.
• ‘The Mighty Himalaya: A Fragile Heritage,’ National Geographic, 174:624-631(November 1988).

External links
• The making of the Himalaya and major tectonic subdivisions (
• Geology of the Himalayan mountains (
• Birth of the Himalaya (
• Some notes on the formation of the Himalaya (
• Pictures from a trek in Annapurna (film by Ori Liber) (
• Geology of Nepal Himalaya (
• South Asia's Troubled Waters ( Journalistic project at
the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting

Image gallery

Mount Everest Nanga Parbat, Pakistan Nanga Parbat, Manaslu North Sikkim,
north face from Pakistan Kangchengyao
Rongbuk in Tibet satellite, India

Atlas Mountains 20

Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains

Jbel Toubkal in Toubkal National Park in the High Atlas

Countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia

Highest point Jbel Toubkal

 - elevation 4167 m (13671 ft)

 - coordinates 31°03′43″N 07°54′58″W

Period Precambrian

Location of the Atlas Mountains (colored red) across North Africa

The Atlas Mountains (Berber: idurar n Watlas, Arabic: ‫سلطألا لابج‬‎) is a mountain range across a northern stretch
of Africa extending about 2,500 km (1,500 miles) through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is the
Toubkal mountain, with an elevation of 4167 metres (13671 ft) in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate
the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. The population of the Atlas Mountains are mainly
Berbers. The terms for 'mountain' in some Berber languages are adrar and adras, believed to be cognate with the
The mountains have been home to a number of plant and animal species unique in Africa, often more like those of
Europe; many of them are endangered and some have already gone extinct. Examples include the Barbary Macaque,
the Atlas Bear (Africa's only species of bear; now extinct), the Barbary Leopard, the Barbary stag, Barbary Sheep,
the Barbary Lion (extinct in the wild), the Atlas Mountain Badger, the North African Elephant (extinct), the African
Aurochs (extinct), Cuvier's Gazelle, the Northern Bald Ibis, Dippers, the Atlas mountain viper, the Atlas Cedar, the
European Black Pine, and the Algerian Oak.
Atlas Mountains 21

The basement rock of most of Africa
was formed in the Precambrian
(approximately 4.5 billion years ago)
and is much older than the Atlas
mountains lying in Africa. The Atlas
formed during three subsequent phases
of Earth's history.

The first tectonic deformation phase

involves only the Anti-Atlas, which
was formed in the Paleozoic Era (~300
Map showing the location of the Atlas Mountains across North Africa million years ago) as the result of
continental collisions. North America,
Europe and Africa were connected millions of years ago.

The Anti-Atlas mountains are believed to have originally been

formed as part of Alleghenian orogeny. These mountains were
formed when Africa and America collided, and were once a chain
rivaling today's Himalayas. Today, the remains of this chain can be
seen in the Fall line in the eastern United States. Some remnants can
also be found in the later formed Appalachians in North America.

A second phase took place during the Mesozoic Era (before ~65 My)
and consisted of a widespread extension of the Earth's crust that The tectonic boundary.
rifted and separated the continents mentioned above. This extension
was responsible for the formation of many thick intracontinental sedimentary basins including the present Atlas.
Most of the rocks forming the surface of the present High Atlas were deposited under the ocean at that time.
Finally, in the Tertiary Period (~65 million to ~1.8 million years ago), the mountain chains that today comprise the
Atlas were uplifted as the land masses of Europe and Africa collided at the southern end of the Iberian peninsula.
Such convergent tectonic boundaries occur where two plates slide towards each other forming a subduction zone (if
one plate moves underneath the other) and/or a continental collision (when the two plates contain continental crust).
In the case of the Africa-Europe collision, it is clear that tectonic convergence is partially responsible for the
formation of the High Atlas, as well as for the closure of the Strait of Gibraltar and the formation of the Alps and the
Pyrenees. However, there is a lack of evidence for the nature of the subduction in the Atlas region, or for the
thickening of the Earth's crust generally associated with continental collisions. In fact, one of the most striking
features of the Atlas to geologists is the relative small amount of crustal thickening and tectonic shortening despite
the important altitude of the mountain range. Recent studies suggest that deep processes rooted in the Earth's mantle
may have contributed to the uplift of the High and Middle Atlas.[1] [2]
Atlas Mountains 22

Natural resources
The Atlas are rich in natural resources. There are deposits of iron ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt,
phosphate, marble, anthracite coal, and gas among other resources.

Subranges of the Atlas Mountains

The range can be divided into three general regions from west to
• Middle Atlas, High Atlas, and Anti-Atlas (Morocco).
• Saharan Atlas (Algeria).
• Tell Atlas (Algeria, Tunisia).
• Aurès Mountains (Algeria, Tunisia).

Middle Atlas range

The Middle Atlas is a portion of the Atlas mountain range lying

completely in Morocco. The Middle Atlas is the westernmost of
three Atlas Mountains chains that define a large, plateaued basin
extending eastward into Algeria. South of the Middle Atlas and
separated by the Moulouya and Oum Er-Rbia rivers, the High
Atlas stretches for 700 kilometres (430 mi) with a succession of
peaks among which ten reach above 4000 metres (13000 ft). North
of the Middle Atlas and separated by the Sebou River, the Rif
mountains are an extension of the Baetic Cordillera (Baetic High Atlas.

mountains, which include the Sierra Nevada) in the south of Spain.

High Atlas
The High Atlas in central Morocco rises in the west at the Atlantic coast and stretches in an eastern direction to the
Moroccan-Algerian border. At the Atlantic and to the southwest the range drops abruptly and makes an impressive
transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range. To the north, in the direction of Marrakech, the range descends less
On the heights of Ouarzazate the massif is cut through by the Draa valley which opens southward. In this chaos of
rocks the contrasts are astonishing: water runs in some places, forming clear basins. It is mainly inhabited by Berber
people, who live in small villages and cultivate the high plains of Ourika Valley.
Near Barrage Cavagnac, there is a
hydroelectric dam that has created the
artificial lake Lalla Takerkoust. The
lake serves also as a source for fish for Panoramic picture of the artificial lake of Lalla Takerkoust near Barrage Cavagnac, with
the hydroelectric dam (far right)
the local fishermen.
The largest villages and towns of the
area are Tahanaoute, Amizmiz, Asni, Tin Mal, Ijoukak, and Oukaïmden.
Atlas Mountains 23

Anti-Atlas ranges
The Anti-Atlas extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest of Morocco toward the northeast to the heights of
Ouarzazate and further east to the city of Tafilalt (altogether a distance of approximately 500 kilometres / 310 miles).
In the south it borders the Sahara. The easternmost point of the anti-Atlas is the Djebel Sarhro mountains and its
eastern boundary is set by sections of the High Atlas range.

Saharan Atlas range

The Saharan Atlas of Algeria is the eastern portion of the Atlas mountain range. Not as high as the Grand Atlas they
are far more imposing than the Tell Atlas range that runs to the north of them and closer to the coast. The tallest peak
in the range is the 2236 m (7336 ft) high Djebel Aissa. They mark the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. The
mountains see some rainfall and are better suited to agriculture than the plateau region to the north. Today most of
the population of the region are Berbers.

Tell Atlas range

The Tell Atlas is a mountain chain
over 1500 kilometres (930 mi) in
length, belonging to the Atlas
mountain ranges and stretching from
Morocco, through Algeria to Tunisia.
It parallels the Mediterranean coast. Panoramic view of typical Berber village (Morocco - High Atlas Mountains).
Together with the Saharan Atlas to the
south it forms the northernmost of two more or less parallel ranges which gradually approach one another towards
the east, merging in Eastern Algeria. At the western ends at the Middle Atlas range in Morocco. The area
immediately to the south of this range is high plateau, with lakes in the wet season and salt flats in the dry.

Aurès mountain range

The Aurès Mountains of Algeria and
Tunisia are the furthest eastern portion
of the Atlas mountain range.

References and notes

[1] (http:/ / einstein. uab. es/
c_geotectonica/ WebAtlas/ AtlasLitho. htm)
Potential field modelling of the Atlas
[2] (http:/ / einstein. uab. es/
c_geotectonica/ WebAtlas/ MaterialAtlas/
Ayarzaetal2005. pdf) Crustal structure under
the central High Atlas Mountains (Morocco)
from geological and gravity data, P. Ayarza,
et al., 2005, Tectonophysics, 400, 67-84

Aures Mountains
Atlas Mountains 24

Aures localisation
Andes 25

Andes (Quechua: Anti(s/kuna))

Aerial photo of a portion of the Andes between Argentina and Chile

Countries Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela

Cities Bogotá, Santiago, Medellín, La Paz, Cali, Quito, Pasto, Bucaramanga, Arequipa, Mendoza, Cuenca, Cochabamba,
Pereira, Ibagué, Salta, Manizales

Highest point Mt. Aconcagua

 - location Las Heras Department, Mendoza, Argentina

 - elevation 6962 m (22841 ft)

 - coordinates 32°39′10″S 70°0′40″W

Length 7000 km (4350 mi)

Width 500 km (311 mi)

Composite satellite image of the southern Andes

The Andes is the world's longest continental mountain range. It is a continual range of highlands along the western
coast of South America. This range is about 7000 km (4300 mi) long, about 200 km (120 mi) to 700 km (430 mi)
wide (widest between 18 degrees South and 20 degrees South latitude), and of an average height of about 4000 m
(13000 ft).
Along its length, the Andes is split into several ranges, which are separated by intermediate depressions. The Andes
is the location of several high plateaux – some of which host major cities such as Quito, Bogotá, Arequipa, Medellín,
Sucre, and La Paz.
The so-called Altiplano plateau is the world's second-highest plateau following the Tibetan plateau. The Andes
extends to seven countries, in alphabetical order: Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and
Venezuela, some of which are known as the Andean States.
Andes 26

The Andes range is the world's highest mountain range outside of the continent of Asia. The highest peak, Mt.
Aconcagua, rises to an elevation of about 6962 m (22841 ft) above sea level. The peak of Mt. Chimborazo in the
Ecuadorean Andes is located at the point on the surface of the Earth that is the most distant one from its centre. This
is because of the Earth's equatorial bulge that results from its rotation. The world's highest volcanos are in the Andes,
including Ojos del Salado on the Chile-Argentina frontier which rises to 6,893 m (22,615 ft), and over 50 other
volcanos that rise above 6,000 m.

The etymology of the word Andes has been debated. The major consensus is that it derives from the Quechua word
anti, which means "high crest". Others believe that Andes comes from Anti Suyu, one of the four regions of the Inca
empire. It is more likely however that the word Antisuyo derives from the use of Anti to designate mountain chains.
Derivation from the Spanish andén (in the sense of cultivation terrace) has also been proposed, yet considered very

The Andes can be divided into three sections:
I. The Southern Andes in Argentina and Chile;
II. The Central Andes, including the Chilean and Peruvian cordilleras
and parts of Bolivia;
III. The Northern Andes in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador that
consists of two parallel ranges, the Cordillera Occidental and the
Cordillera Oriental. In Colombia, north its the border with Ecuador, the
Andes split in three parallel ranges, the western, central, and eastern
ranges. (The cordillera occidental, central, and oriental).
Aerial view of Aconcagua.
In the northern part of the Andes, the isolated Sierra Nevada de Santa
Marta range is often considered to be part of the Andes. The eastern range of Colombia is the only one that extends
to Venezuela.[1] The term cordillera comes from the Spanish word meaning "cuerda", meaning "rope". The Andes
range is about 200 km (124 mi) wide throughout its length, except in the Bolivian flexure where it is about
640 kilometres (398 mi) wide. The islands of the Dutch Caribbean Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, which lie in the
Caribbean Sea off the coast of Venezuela, were thought to represent the submerged peaks of the extreme northern
edge of the Andes range, but ongoing geological studies indicate that such a simplification does not do justice to the
complex tectonic boundary between the South-American and Caribbean plates. [2]

Andes 27

Geology of the Andes


Pampean orogeny
Famatinian orogeny

Gondwanide orogeny

Andean orogeny
Fold-thrust belts

Central Andean | Patagonian


Peruvian Coastal | North Patagonian | South Patagonian

Subducted structures

Antarctic Plate | Carnegie Ridge | Chile Rise | Farallon Plate (formerly) | Juan Fernández Ridge | Nazca Plate |
Nazca Ridge

Gastre | Liquiñe-Ofqui | Magallanes-Fagnano

Andean Volcanic Belt

Northern Zone| Peruvian flat-slab | Central Zone | Pampean flat-slab | Southern Zone | Patagonian Gap | Austral
Paleogeographic terminology

Arequipa-Antofalla Terrane | Chilenia | Chiloé Block | Cuyania | Iapetus Ocean | Madre de Dios Terrane |
Mejillonia | Pampia

The Andes are a Mesozoic – Tertiary orogenic belt of mountains along the Pacific Ring of Fire, a zone of volcanic
activity that encompasses the Pacific rim of the Americas as well as the Asia-Pacific region. The Andes are the result
of plate tectonics processes, caused by the subduction of oceanic crust beneath the South American plate. The main
cause of the rise of the Andes is the compression of western rim of the South American Plate due to the subduction
of the Nazca Plate and the Antarctic Plate. To the east, the Andes range is bounded by several sedimentary basins
such as Orinoco, Amazon Basin, Madre de Dios and Gran Chaco which separates the Andes from the ancient cratons
in eastern South America. In the south the Andes shares a long boundary with the former Patagonia Terrane. To the
west the Andes ends at the Pacific Ocean, although the Peru-Chile trench can be considerated its ultimate western
limit. From a geographical approach the Andes are considered to have their western boundaries marked by the
appearance of coastal lowlands and a less rugged topography.

The western rim of the South American Plate has been the place of several pre-Andean orogenies since at least the of
the late Proterozoic and early Paleozoic when several terranes and microcontinents collided and amalgamated with
the ancient cratons of eastern South America, by then the South American part of Gondwana.
The formation of the modern Andes began with the events of the Triassic when Pangea begun to break up and
several rifts developed. It continued through the Jurassic Period. It was during the Cretaceous Period that the Andes
began to take its present form, by the uplifting, faulting and folding of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks of the
ancient cratons to the east. The rise of the Andes has not been constant and different regions have had different
degrees of tectonic stress, uplift, and erosion.
Andes 28

Tectonic forces above the subduction zone along the entire west coast of South America where the Nazca Plate and a
part of the Antarctic Plate are sliding beneath the South American Plate continue to produce an ongoing orogenic
event resulting in minor to major earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to this day. In the extreme south a major
transform fault separates Tierra del Fuego from the small Scotia Plate. Across the 1000 km (620 mi) wide Drake
Passage lie the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula south of the Scotia Plate which appear to be a continuation of
the Andes chain.

The Andes range has many active volcanoes, which are distributed in
four volcanic zones separated by areas of inactivity. The Andean
volcanism is a result of subduction of the Nazca Plate and Antarctic
Plate underneath the South American Plate. The belt is subdivided into
four main volcanic zones that are separated from each other by
volcanic gaps. The volcanoes of the belt are diverse in terms of activity Rift valley near Quilotoa, Ecuador.
style, products and morphology. While some differences can be
explained by which volcanic zone a volcano belongs to, there are
significant differences inside volcanic zones and even between
neighboring volcanoes. Despite being a type location for calc-alkalic
and subduction volcanism, the Andean Volcanic Belt has a large range
of volcano-tectonic settings, such as rift systems and extrensional
zones, transpressional faults, subduction of mid-ocean ridges and
seamount chains apart from a large range on crustal thicknesses and
magma ascent paths, and different amount of crustal assimilations.

Ore deposits and evaporites

The Andes mountains host large ore and salt deposits and some of its
eastern fold and thrust acts as traps for commercially exploitable
amounts of hydrocarbons. In the forelands of the Atacama desert some
of the largest porphyry copper mineralizations occurs making Chile
and Peru the 1st and 2nd largest exporters of copper in the world.
Porphyry copper in the western slopes of the Andes has been generated
by fluids (mostly water) during the cooling of plutons. The porphyry
Astronaut photograph with the high plains of the
mineralization further benefited from the dry climate that let them
Andes Mountains in the foreground, with a line
largely out of the disturbing actions of meteoric water. The dry climate of young volcanoes facing the much lower
in the central western Andes have also led to the creation of extensive Atacama Desert.
saltpeter deposits which were extensively mined until the invention of
synthetic nitrates. Yet another result of the dry climate are the salars of Atacama and Uyuni, the first one being the
largest source of lithium at present day and the second the world’s largest reserve of the element. Early Mesozoic and
Neogene plutonism in Bolivias Cordillera Central created the Bolivian tin belt as well as the famous, now depleted,
deposits of Cerro Rico de Potosí.
Andes 29

Climate and hydrology

The climate in the Andes varies greatly depending on location, altitude,
and proximity to the sea. Temperature, atmospheric pressure and
humidity decrease in higher elevations. The southern section is rainy
and cool, the central Andes are dry. The northern Andes are typically
rainy and warm, with an average temperature of 18 °C (64 °F) in
Colombia. The climate is known to change drastically in rather short
distances. Rainforests exist just miles away from the snow covered
peak Cotopaxi. The mountains have a large effect on the temperatures
of nearby areas. The snow line depends on the location. It is at between
Central Andes
4,500 and 4,800 m (14,800–15,800 ft) in the tropical Ecuadorian,
Colombian, Venezuelan, and northern Peruvian Andes, rising to
4,800–5,200 m (15,800–17,060 ft) in the drier mountains of southern
Peru south to northern Chile south to about 30°S, then descending to
4500 m (14760 ft) on Aconcagua at 32°S, 2000 m (6600 ft) at 40°S,
500 m (1640 ft) at 50°S, and only 300 m (980 ft) in Tierra del Fuego at
55°S; from 50°S, several of the larger glaciers descend to sea level.[3]

The Andes of Chile and Argentina can be divided in two climatic and
glaciological zones; the Dry Andes and the Wet Andes. Since the Dry
Andes extends from the latitudes of Atacama Desert to the area of Astronaut photograph of the Central Andes
Maule River, precipitation is more sporadic and there are strong
temperature oscillations. The line of equilibrium may shift drastically over short periods of time, leaving a whole
glacier in the ablation area or in the accumulation area.

In the high Andes of central Chile and Mendoza Province rock glaciers are larger and more common than glaciers;
this is due to the high exposure to solar radiation.[4]

Rainforests used to encircle much of the northern Andes but are now greatly diminished, especially in the Chocó and
inter-Andean valleys of Colombia. As a direct opposite of the humid Andean slopes are the relatively dry Andean
slopes in most of western Peru, Chile and Argentina. Along with several Interandean Valles, they are typically
dominated by deciduous woodland, shrub and xeric vegetation, reaching the extreme in the slopes near the virtually
lifeless Atacama Desert.
About 30,000 species of vascular plants live in the Andes with roughly half being endemic to the region, surpassing
the diversity of any other hotspot.[5] The small tree Cinchona pubescens, a source of quinine which is used to treat
malaria, is found widely in the Andes as far south as Bolivia. Other important crops that originated from the Andes
are tobacco and potatoes. The high-altitude Polylepis forests and woodlands are found in the Andean areas of
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. These trees, by locals referred to as Queñua, Yagual and other names,
can be found at altitudes of 4500 m (14760 ft) above sea level. It remains unclear if the patchy distribution of these
forests and woodlands is natural, or the result of clearing which began during the Incan period. Regardless, in
modern times the clearance has accelerated, and the trees are now considered to be highly endangered, with some
believing that as little as 10% of the original woodland remains.[6]
Andes 30

The Andes is rich in fauna: With almost 1,000 species, of which
roughly 2/3 are endemic to the region, the Andes is the most important
region in the world for amphibians.[5] The diversity of animals in the
Andes is high, with almost 600 species of mammals (13% endemic),
more than 1,700 species of birds (about 1/3 endemic), more than 600
species of reptile (about 45% endemic), and almost 400 species of fish
(about 1/3 endemic).[5]

The Vicuña and Guanaco can be found living in the Altiplano, while
A male Andean Cock-of-the-rock, a species
the closely related domesticated Llama and Alpaca are widely kept by found in humid Andean forests.
locals as pack animals and for their meat and wool. The nocturnal
chinchillas, two threatened members of the rodent order, inhabit the
Andes' alpine regions. The Andean Condor, the largest bird of its kind
in the Western Hemisphere, occurs throughout much of the Andes but
generally in very low densities. Other animals found in the relatively
open habitats of the high Andes include the huemul, cougar, foxes in
the genus Pseudalopex, and, for birds, certain species of tinamous
(notably members of the genus Nothoprocta), Andean Goose, Giant
Coot, flamingos (mainly associated with hypersaline lakes), Lesser
Rhea, Andean Flicker, Diademed Sandpiper-plover, miners, Herds of llamas (alpacas) on the mountain
sierra-finches and diuca-finches. Ausangate hillside.

Lake Titicaca hosts several endemics, among them the highly

endangered Titicaca Flightless Grebe and Titicaca Water Frog. A few species of hummingbirds, notably some
hillstars, can be seen at altitudes above 4000 m (13100 ft), but far higher diversities can be found at lower altitudes,
especially in the humid Andean forests ("cloud forests") growing on slopes in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and
far northwestern Argentina. These forest-types, which includes the Yungas and parts of the Chocó, are very rich in
flora and fauna, although few large mammals exists, exceptions being the threatened Mountain Tapir, Spectacled
Bear and Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey.

Birds of humid Andean forests include mountain-toucans, quetzals and the Andean Cock-of-the-rock, while mixed
species flocks dominated by tanagers and Furnariids commonly are seen - in contrast to several vocal but typically
cryptic species of wrens, tapaculos and antpittas.
A number of species such as the Royal Cinclodes and White-browed Tit-spinetail are associated with Polylepis, and
consequently also threatened.
Andes 31

Human activity
The Andes mountains form a north-south axis of cultural influences. A
long series of cultural development culminated in the expansion of the
Inca civilization and Inca Empire in the central Andes during the 15th
century. The Incas formed this civilization through imperialistic
militarism as well as careful and meticulous governmental
management.[7] The government sponsored the construction of
aqueducts and roads in addition to preexisting installations. Some of
these constructions are still in existence today.

Devastated by European diseases to which they had no immunity, and

civil wars, in 1532 the Incas were defeated by an alliance composed of
tens of thousands allies from nations they had subjugated (e.g.
Huancas, Chachapoyas, Cañaris) and a small army of 180 Spaniards
led by Francisco Pizarro. One of the few Inca sites the Spanish never
found in their conquest was Machu Picchu, which lay hidden on a peak
on the eastern edge of the Andes where they descend to the Amazon.
The main surviving languages of the Andean peoples are those of the
Quechua and Aymara language families. Woodbine Parish and Joseph
Barclay Pentland surveyed a large part of the Bolivian Andes from
1826 to 1827.

In modern times, the largest Andean cities are Bogota, Colombia, with
a population of about eight million, La Paz, Bolivia, and Quito,
Ecuador. Map showing cultural influence in the Andes.

Several major cities exist either in the Andes or in the foothills, among
which are Bogotá and Cali, Colombia; Quito, Ecuador; Mérida,
Venezuela; La Paz, Bolivia; Santiago, Chile, and Cusco, Peru. These
and most other cities and large towns are now connected with
asphalt-paved roads, while smaller towns are often connected by dirt
roads, which may require a four-wheel-drive vehicle.[1]

Highways and railroads that cross the Andes are quite rare, even with
modern civil engineering practices. For example, there is not one
highway that crosses over the Andes between Argentina and Chile, Troncal 7 (Trans-Andes Highway) in the
though the ends of some highways come rather close to one another Venezuelan Andes.
from the east and the west. By using tunnels, etc., there are one or two
railroads that connect Argentina and Chile. Much of the transportation of passengers is done via airline.

For decades, Chile claimed ownership of land on the eastern side of the Andes. However, these claims were given up
in about 1870 during the War of the Pacific between Chile, and the allied Bolivia and Peru, in a diplomatic deal to
keep Argentina out of the war. The Chilean Army and Chilean Navy defeated the combined forces of Bolivia and
Peru, and Chile took over Bolivia's only province on the Pacific Coast, and some land from Peru, also - that was
returned to Peru later. Bolivia has been a landlocked country ever since then.
Andes 32

However, if Chile had kept some land to the east, the difficulties in transportation between east and west would have
been enormous. There has also been bad blood between Bolivia and Chile ever since 1870, and these two countries
have not had diplomatic relations since about 1974.
Because of the tortuous terrain in places, villages and towns in which motorized vehicles are of little use are still
present. Locally, the relatives of the camel, the llama and the alpaca continue to carry out important uses as pack
animals, but this use has generally diminished in modern times.

The ancient peoples of the Andes such as the Incas have practised
irrigation techniques for over 6,000 years. Because of the mountain
slopes, terracing has been a common practice. Terracing, however, was
only extensively employed after Incan imperial expansions to fuel their
expanding realm. The potato holds a very important role as an
internally consumed staple crop. Maize was also an important crop for
these people. However, they were mainly used for the production of
the culturally important chicha. Currently, tobacco, cotton and coffee
are the main export crops. Coca, despite eradication programmes in
Photograph of young Peruvian farmers sowing
some countries, remains an important crop for legal local use in a
maize and beans.
mildly stimulating herbal tea, and, both controversially and illegally,
for the production of cocaine.

The Andes rose to fame for its mineral wealth during the Spanish conquest of South America. Although Andean
Amerindian peoples crafted ceremonial jewelry of gold and other metals the mineralizations of the Andes were first
mined in large scale after the Spanish arrival. Potosí in present-day Bolivia was one of the principal mines of the
Spanish Empire in the New World. Río de la Plata and Argentina derive their names from the silver of Potosí.
Currently, mining in the Andes of Chile and Peru place these countries as the 1st and 3rd major producers of copper
in the world. The Bolivian Andes produce principally tin although historically silver mining had a huge impact on
the economy of 17th century Europe.
There is a long history of mining in the Andes, from the Spanish silver mines in Potosí in the 16th century to the vast
current porphyry copper deposits of Chuquicamata and Escondida in Chile and Toquepala in Peru. Other metals
including iron, gold and tin in addition to non-metallic resources are also important.

This list contains some of the major peaks in the Andes mountain range. The highest peak is Aconcagua of
Argentina (see below).

• Aconcagua, 6962 m (22841 ft)
• Cerro Bonete, 6759 m (22175 ft)
• Galán, 5912 m (19396 ft)
• Mercedario, 6720 m (22047 ft)
• Pissis, 6795 m (22293 ft)
Andes 33

Aconcagua, Argentina Tronador, Argentina/Chile

Border between Argentina and Chile

• Cerro Bayo, 5401 m (17720 ft)
• Cerro Chaltén, 3375 m (11073 ft) or 3,405 m, Patagonia, also known as Cerro Fitz Roy
• Cerro Escorial, 5447 m (17871 ft)
• Cordón del Azufre, 5463 m (17923 ft)
• Falso Azufre, 5890 m (19324 ft)
• Incahuasi, 6620 m (21719 ft)
• Lastarria, 5697 m (18691 ft)
• Llullaillaco, 6739 m (22110 ft)
• Maipo, 5264 m (17270 ft)
• Marmolejo, 6110 m (20046 ft)
• Ojos del Salado, 6893 m (22615 ft)
• Olca, 5407 m (17740 ft)
• Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas, 6127 m (20102 ft)
• Socompa, 6051 m (19852 ft)
• Nevado Tres Cruces, 6,749 m (south summit) (III Region)
• Tronador, 3491 m (11453 ft)
• Tupungato, 6570 m (21555 ft)
• Nacimiento, 6492 m (21299 ft)

Torres del Paine, Chile Llullaillaco, Argentina/Chile Camino de Alta

Andes 34

• Ancohuma, 6427 m (21086 ft)
• Cabaray, 5860 m (19226 ft)
• Chacaltaya, 5421 m (17785 ft)
• Huayna Potosí, 6088 m (19974 ft)
• Illampu, 6368 m (20892 ft)
• Illimani, 6438 m (21122 ft)
• Macizo de Larancagua, 5520 m (18110 ft)
• Macizo de Pacuni, 5400 m (17720 ft)
• Nevado Anallajsi, 5750 m (18865 ft)
• Nevado Sajama, 6542 m (21463 ft)
• Patilla Pata, 5300 m (17390 ft)
• Tata Sabaya, 5430 m (17815 ft)

Sajama Huayna Potosí

Border between Bolivia and Chile

• Acotango, 6052 m (19856 ft)
• Cerro Minchincha, 5305 m (17405 ft)
• Irruputuncu, 5163 m (16939 ft)
• Licancabur, 5920 m (19423 ft)
• Olca, 5407 m (17740 ft)
• Parinacota, 6348 m (20827 ft)
• Paruma, 5420 m (17782 ft)
• Pomerape, 6282 m (20610 ft)
Andes 35

Licancabur, Bolivia/Chile Parinacota

• Monte San Valentin, 4058 m (13314 ft)
• Cerro Paine Grande, c.2750 m (9022 ft)
• Cerro Macá, c.2300 m (7546 ft)
• Monte Darwin, c.2500 m (8202 ft)
• Volcan Hudson, c.1900 m (6234 ft)
• Cerro Castillo Dynevor, c.1100 m (3609 ft)
• Mount Tarn, c.825 m (2707 ft)
• Polleras, 5993 m (19662 ft)

Santiago de Chile on the western slopes of a snowcapped Andes View of Cuernos del Paine in Torres del Paine National Park

• Pico Cristóbal Colón, 5775 m (18947 ft)
• Nevado del Huila, 5365 m (17602 ft)
• Nevado del Ruiz, 5321 m (17457 ft)
• Nevado del Tolima, 5205 m (17077 ft)
• Pico Pan de Azucar, 5200 m (17060 ft)
• Ritacuba Negra, 5320 m (17454 ft)
• Nevado del Cumbal, 4764 m (15630 ft)
• Cerro Negro de Mayasquer, 4445 m (14583 ft)
• Ritacuba Blanco, 5410 m (17749 ft)
Andes 36

• Nevado del Quindío, 5215 m (17110 ft)

• Purace, 4655 m (15272 ft)
• Santa Isabel, 4955 m (16257 ft)
• Doña Juana, 4150 m (13615 ft)
• Galeras, 4276 m (14029 ft)
• Azufral. 4070 m (13353 ft)

Ritacuba blanco the highest peak of Cordillera Oriental, Colombia. Nevado del Ruiz, Colombia

• Antisana, 5752 m (18871 ft)
• Cayambe, 5790 m (18996 ft)
• Chimborazo, 6268 m (20564 ft)
• Corazón, 4790 m (15715 ft)
• Cotopaxi, 5897 m (19347 ft)
• El Altar, 5320 m (17454 ft)
• Illiniza, 5248 m (17218 ft)
• Pichincha, 4784 m (15696 ft)
• Quilotoa, 3914 m (12841 ft)
• Reventador, 3562 m (11686 ft)
• Sangay, 5230 m (17159 ft)
• Tungurahua, 5023 m (16480 ft)
• Titicacha, 5035 m (16519 ft)

Chimborazo near Riobamba, Tungurahua Ecuador. Cayambe, Ecuador. Zumbahua, Ecuador.

Andes 37

• Alpamayo, 5947 m (19511 ft)
• Artesonraju, 6025 m (19767 ft)
• Carnicero, 5960 m (19554 ft)
• El Misti, 5822 m (19101 ft)
• El Toro, 5830 m (19127 ft)
• Huandoy, 6395 m (20981 ft)
• Huascarán, 6768 m (22205 ft)
• Jirishanca, 6094 m (19993 ft)
• Nevado de Huaytapallana, 5557 m (18232 ft)
• Pumasillo, 5991 m (19656 ft)
• Rasac, 6040 m (19816 ft)
• Rondoy, 5870 m (19259 ft)
• Sarapo, 6127 m (20102 ft)
• Seria Norte, 5860 m (19226 ft)
• Siula Grande, 6344 m (20814 ft)
• Yerupaja, 6635 m (21768 ft)
• Yerupaja Chico, 6089 m (19977 ft)

Alpamayo, Peru El Misti, Peru Huandoy, Peru

• Pico Bolívar, 4981 m (16342 ft)
• Pico Humboldt, 4940 m (16207 ft)
• Pico Bonpland, 4880 m (16010 ft)
• Pico La Concha, 4870 m (15978 ft)
• Pico Piedras Blancas, 4740 m (15551 ft)
Andes 38

Pico Bolívar, Venezuela Pico Humboldt, Venezuela

[1] Andes travel map (http:/ / andes. zoom-maps. com/ )
[2] "Upper mantle structure beneath the Caribbean-South American plate boundary from surface wave tomography" (http:/ / www. gseis. rice.
edu/ Reprints/ 047_MillerEL09JGR. pdf). JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 114, B01312, 13 PP., 2009
doi:10.1029/2007JB005507. . Retrieved 2010-11-21.
[3] "Climate of the Andes" (http:/ / www. blueplanetbiomes. org/ andes_climate_page. htm). . Retrieved 2007-12-09.
[4] Jan-Christoph Otto, Joachim Götz, Markus Keuschnig, Ingo Hartmeyer, Dario Trombotto, and Lothar Schrott (2010). Geomorphological and
geophysical investigation of a complex rock glacier system - Morenas Coloradas valley (Cordon del Plata, Mendoza, Argentina)
[5] Tropical Andes (http:/ / www. biodiversityhotspots. org/ xp/ hotspots/ andes/ Pages/ biodiversity. aspx) -
[6] "Plants of the Andes" (http:/ / www. blueplanetbiomes. org/ andes_plant_page. htm). . Retrieved 2007-12-09.
[7] D'Altroy, Terence N. The Incas. Blackwell Publishing, 2003

• John Biggar, The Andes: A Guide For Climbers, 3rd. edition, 2005, ISBN 0-9536087-2-7
• Tui de Roy, The Andes: As the Condor Flies. 2005, ISBN 1-55407-070-8
• Fjeldså, J., & N. Krabbe (1990). The Birds of the High Andes. Zoological Museum, University of Copenhagen,
Copenhagen. ISBN 87-88757-16-1
• Fjeldså, J. & M. Kessler. 1996. Conserving the biological diversity of Polylepis woodlands of the highlands on
Peru and Bolivia, a contribution to sustainable natural resource management in the Andes. NORDECO,

External links
• Andes geology (University of Arizona) (
• Climate and animal life of the Andes (
• Regions and Microclimates in the Andes (
• Complete list of mountains in South America
with a prominence of at least 1500 m (4920 ft)
Appalachian Mountains 39

Appalachian Mountains
Appalachian Mountains


View from the slopes of Back Allegheny Mountain, looking east, in the Appalachian Mountains. Visible are Allegheny Mountain (in
the Monongahela National Forest of West Virginia, middle distance) and Shenandoah Mountain (in the George Washington National
Forest of Virginia, far distance).

Countries United States, Canada

Region [1] [2]

Newfoundland, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Maine, New
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West
Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, New Jersey, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama

Highest point Mount Mitchell

 - elevation 6684 ft (2037 m)

Orogeny Taconic

Period Ordovician

The Appalachian Mountains (pronounced /ˌæpəˈleɪʃɨn/ ( listen) or English pronunciation: /ˌæpəˈlætʃɨn/), often called
the Appalachians, are a vast system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians are believed to have
been the highest mountains on earth roughly 460 million years ago during the Ordovician Period, much like (but
higher than) the Himalayas today, when all of today's continents were joined as the supercontinent Pangaea[3] . The
Appalachian Mountains 40

Appalachian chain is a barrier to east-west travel as it forms a series of alternating ridgelines and valleys oriented in
opposition to any road 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 Megantic
Mountains, Western Newfoundland Mountains, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley and Ridge, Saint Lawrence Valley,
Appalachian Plateaus, New England province, and the Adirondack provinces.[4] [5] A common variant definition
does not include the Adirondack Mountains, which are often said to have more in common with the Canadian Shield
than the Appalachians.[6] [7] [8]

The range is mostly located in the United States but extends into southeastern Canada, forming a zone from 100 to
300 miles (160 to 480 km) wide, running from the island of Newfoundland 1,500 miles (2,400 km) south-westward
to central Alabama in the United States. The system is divided into a series of ranges, with the individual mountains
averaging around 3,000 ft (900 m). The highest of the group is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6684 feet
(2037 m), which is the highest point in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
The term Appalachian refers to several different regions associated with the mountain range. Most broadly, it refers
to the entire mountain range with its surrounding hills and the dissected plateau region. However, the term is often
used more restrictively to refer to regions in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains, usually including areas
in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, and North Carolina, as well as sometimes
extending as far south as northern Georgia and western South Carolina, as far north as Pennsylvania and southern
The Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas and Oklahoma were originally part of the Appalachians as well, but were
disconnected through geologic history.
While exploring inland along the northern coast of Florida in 1528, the members of the Narváez expedition,
including Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, found a Native American village near present-day Tallahassee, Florida
whose name they transcribed as Apalchen or Apalachen [a.paˈla.tʃɛn]. The name was soon altered by the Spanish to
Apalachee and used as a name for the tribe and region spreading well inland to the north. Pánfilo de Narváez's
expedition first entered Apalachee territory on June 15, 1528 and applied the name. Now spelled "Appalachian", it is
the fourth oldest surviving European place-name in the U.S.[9]
After the de Soto expedition in 1540, Spanish cartographers began to apply the name of the tribe to the mountains
themselves. The first cartographic appearance of Apalchen is on Diego Gutierrez' map of 1562; the first use for the
mountain range is the map of Jacques le Moyne de Morgues in 1565.[10]
The name was not commonly used for the whole mountain range until the late 19th century. A competing and often
more popular name was the "Allegheny Mountains", "Alleghenies", and even "Alleghania." In the early 19th
century, Washington Irving proposed renaming the United States either Appalachia or Alleghania.[11]
In southern U.S. dialects, the mountains are pronounced /ˌæpəˈlætʃɨnz/, with the third syllable sounding like "latch".
In northern U.S. dialects, they are pronounced /ˌæpəˈleɪtʃɨnz/ or /ˌæpəˈleɪʃɨnz/; the third syllable is like "lay", and the
fourth "chins" or "shins".[12]
Appalachian Mountains 41


The whole system may be divided into three great
sections: the Northern, from the Canadian province
of Newfoundland and Labrador to the Hudson River;
the Central, from the Hudson Valley to the New
River (Great Kanawha) running through Virginia and
West Virginia; and the Southern, from the New River

The northern section includes the Long Range

Mountains and Annieopsquotch Mountains on the
island of Newfoundland, Chic-Choc Mountains and
Notre Dame Range in Quebec and New Brunswick,
scattered elevations and small ranges elsewhere in
Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the Longfellow
Mountains in Maine, the White Mountains in New
Hampshire, the Green Mountains in Vermont, and
The Berkshires in Massachusetts and Connecticut.
The Metacomet Ridge Mountains in Connecticut and
south-central Massachusetts, although contained
within the Appalachian province, is a younger system
and not geologically associated with the
Appalachians. The central section comprises,
excluding various minor groups, the Valley Ridges
between the Allegheny Front of the Allegheny USGS Appalachian zones in the United States.
Plateau and the Great Appalachian Valley, the New
York - New Jersey Highlands, the Taconic Mountains
in New York, and a large portion of the Blue Ridge.
The southern section consists of the prolongation of
the Blue Ridge, which is divided into the Western
Blue Ridge (or Unaka) Front and the Eastern Blue
Ridge Front, the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, and
the Cumberland Plateau.

The Adirondack Mountains in New York are

sometimes considered part of the Appalachian chain
but, geologically speaking, are a southern extension
of the Laurentian Mountains of Canada.[6] [7] [8]
Shaded relief map of the Cumberland Plateau and
In addition to the true folded mountains, known as
Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians on the
the ridge and valley province, the area of dissected Virginia-West Virginia border.
plateau to the north and west of the mountains is
usually grouped with the Appalachians. This includes the Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York, the Poconos
in Pennsylvania, and the Allegheny Plateau of southwestern New York, western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and
northern West Virginia. This same plateau is known as the Cumberland Plateau in southern West Virginia, eastern
Kentucky, western Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and northern Alabama.
Appalachian Mountains 42

The dissected plateau area, while not actually made up of geological mountains, is popularly called 'mountains',
especially in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, and while the ridges are not high, the terrain is extremely rugged.
In Ohio and New York, some of the plateau has been glaciated, which has rounded off the sharp ridges, and filled the
valleys to some extent. The glaciated regions are usually referred to as hill country rather than mountains.
The Appalachian region is generally considered the geographical dividing line between the eastern seaboard of the
United States and the Midwest region of the country. The Eastern Continental Divide follows the Appalachian
Mountains from Pennsylvania to Georgia.
The Appalachian Trail is a 2175-mile (3500 km) hiking trail that runs all the way from Mount Katahdin in Maine to
Springer Mountain in Georgia, passing over or past a large part of the Appalachian system. The International
Appalachian Trail is an extension of this hiking trail into the Canadian portion of the Appalachian range.

Chief summits
The Appalachian belt includes, with the ranges enumerated above, the plateaus sloping southward to the Atlantic
Ocean in New England, and south-eastward to the border of the coastal plain through the central and southern
Atlantic states; and on the north-west, the Allegheny and Cumberland plateaus declining toward the Great Lakes and
the interior plains. A remarkable feature of the belt is the longitudinal chain of broad valleys, including The Great
Appalachian Valley, which in the southerly sections divides the mountain system into two unequal portions, but in
the northernmost lies west of all the ranges possessing typical Appalachian features, and separates them from the
Adirondack group. The mountain system has no axis of dominating altitudes, but in every portion the summits rise to
rather uniform heights, and, especially in the central section, the various ridges and intermontane valleys have the
same trend as the system itself. None of the summits reaches the region of perpetual snow.
Mountains of the Long Range in Newfoundland reach heights of nearly
3000 feet (900 m). In the Shickshocks and Notre Dame ranges in
Quebec the higher summits rise to about 4000 ft (1200 m) elevation.
Isolated peaks and small ranges in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick
vary from of unknown operator: u',' to 2700 feet ( to 800 m). In
Maine several peaks exceed 4000 feet (1200 m)., including Mount
Katahdin 5267 feet (1605 m). In New Hampshire, many summits rise
Old fault exposed by roadcut near Harrisburg, above 5000 feet (1500 m), including Mount Washington in the White
Pennsylvania, along Interstate 81. Such faults are Mountains 6288 feet (1917 m), Adams 5771 feet (1759 m), Jefferson
common in the folded Appalachians. 5712 feet (1741 m), Monroe 5380 feet (1640 m)), Madison unknown
operator: u',' feet (unknown operator: u'strong'unknown
operator: u','m), Lafayette 5249 feet (1600 m), and Lincoln 5089 feet (1551 m). In the Green Mountains the highest
point, Mt. Mansfield, is 4393 feet (1339 m) in elevation; others include Killington Peak at 4226 ft (1288 m).,
Camel's Hump at 4083 ft (1244 m)., Mt. Abraham at 4006 ft (1221 m)., and a number of other heights exceeding
3000 feet (900 m).

In Pennsylvania, there are over sixty summits that rise over 2500 feet (800 m); the summits of Mount Davis and Blue
Knob rise over 3000 feet (900 m). In Maryland, Eagle Rock and Dans Mountain are conspicuous points reaching
3162 ft (964 m) and 2882 ft (878 m) respectively. On the same side of the Great Valley, south of the Potomac, are
the Pinnacle 3007 feet (917 m) and Pidgeon Roost 3400 feet (1000 m). In West Virginia, more than 150 peaks rise
above 4000 feet (1200 m)., including Spruce Knob 4863 feet (1482 m), the highest point in the Allegheny
Mountains. A number of other points in the state rise above 4800 feet (1500 m). Snowshoe Mountain at Thorny Flat
4848 feet (1478 m) and Bald Knob 4842 feet (1476 m) are among the more notable peaks in West Virginia.
Appalachian Mountains 43

The Blue Ridge Mountains, rising in southern Pennsylvania and there

known as South Mountain, attain elevations of about 2000 feet (600 m)
in that state. South Mountain achieves its highest point just below the
Mason-Dixon line in Maryland at Quirauk Mountain 2145 feet (654 m)
and then diminishes in height southward to the Potomac River. Once in
Virginia the Blue Ridge again reaches 2000 feet (600 m) and higher. In
the Virginia Blue Ridge, the following are some of the highest peaks
north of the Roanoke River: Stony Man 4031 feet (1229 m), Hawksbill Cliffs overlooking the New River near Gauley
Mountain 4066 feet (1239 m), Apple Orchard Mountain unknown Bridge, West Virginia.

operator: u',' feet (unknown operator: u'strong'unknown

operator: u','m) and Peaks of Otter 4001 and 3875 feet (1220 and 1181 m). South of the Roanoke River, along the
Blue Ridge, are Virginia's highest peaks including Whitetop Mountain 5520 feet (1680 m) and Mount Rogers
5729 feet (1746 m), the highest point in the Commonwealth.

Chief summits in the southern section of the Blue Ridge are located along two main crests— the Western or Unaka
Front along the Tennessee-North Carolina border and the Eastern Front in North Carolina— or one of several "cross
ridges" between the two main crests. Major subranges of the Eastern Front include the Black Mountains, Great
Craggy Mountains, and Great Balsam Mountains, and its chief summits include Grandfather Mountain 5964 feet
(1818 m) near the Virginia-North Carolina border, Mount Mitchell 6684 feet (2037 m) in the Blacks, and Black
Balsam Knob 6214 feet (1894 m) and Cold Mountain 6030 feet (1840 m) in the Great Balsams. The Western Blue
Ridge Front is subdivided into the Unaka Range, the Bald Mountains, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Unicoi
Mountains, and its major peaks include Roan Mountain 6285 feet (1916 m) in the Unakas, Big Bald 5516 feet
(1681 m) and Max Patch 4616 feet (1407 m) in the Bald Mountains, Clingmans Dome 6643 feet (2025 m), Mount
Le Conte 6593 feet (2010 m), and Mount Guyot 6621 feet (2018 m) in the Great Smokies, and Big Frog Mountain
4224 feet (1287 m) near the Tennessee-Georgia-North Carolina border. Prominent summits in the cross ridges
include Waterrock Knob (6292 feet (1918 m)) in the Plott Balsams. Across northern Georgia, numerous peaks
exceed 4000 feet (1200 m), including Brasstown Bald, the state's highest, at 4784 feet (1458 m) and 4696-foot
(1431 m) Rabun Bald.

The Appalachian Mountains are such an ancient mountain range that it has at least one river that flows across it:
something that is impossible with newer and higher mountain ranges such as the Rocky Mountains or the Andes. The
New River rises in the middle of the Appalachians in northwestern North Carolina. This river must have been even
older than the mountain range, and as the Appalachians and the Blue Ridge Mountains rose, the New River kept pace
with the growth of the mountains, cutting its gorge ever deeper, and continuing to flow north. After flowing into
West Virginia, the New River continues in the New River Gorge until it flows into the Kanawha River, which is a
mere change-of-name for the river. This river flows into the Ohio River, which then flows west.
There are many other geological issues concerning the rivers and streams of the Appalachians. In spite of the
existence of the Great Appalachian Valley, many of the main rivers are transverse to the axis of this mountain
system. The drainage divide of the Appalachians follows a tortuous course which crosses the mountainous belt just
north of the New River in Virginia. South of the New River the rivers head into the Blue Ridge, cross the higher
Unakas, receive important tributaries from the Great Valley, and traversing the Cumberland Plateau in spreading
gorges, escape by way of the Cumberland River and the Tennessee River rivers to the Ohio River and the
Mississippi River, and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. In the central section, north of the New River, the rivers, rising
in or just beyond the Valley Ridges, flow through great gorges (water gaps) to the Great Valley, and then across the
Blue Ridge to tidal estuaries penetrating the coastal plain via the Roanoke River, James River, Potomac River, and
Susquehanna River.
Appalachian Mountains 44

In the northern section the height of land lies on the inland side of the mountainous belt, and thus the main lines of
drainage runs from north to south, exemplified by the Hudson River. However, the valley through which the Hudson
River flows was cut by the gigantic glaciers of the Ice Ages - the same glaciers that deposited their terminal
moraines in southern New York State and formed the east-west Long Island.

A look at rocks exposed in today's Appalachian mountains reveals
elongated belts of folded and thrust faulted marine sedimentary rocks,
volcanic rocks and slivers of ancient ocean floor, which provides
strong evidence that these rocks were deformed during plate collision.
The birth of the Appalachian ranges, some 480 million years ago,
marks the first of several mountain building plate collisions that
culminated in the construction of the supercontinent Pangaea with the
Appalachians near the center. Because North America and Africa were
connected, the Appalachians formed part of the same mountain chain
as the Little Atlas in Morocco. This mountain range, known as the
Central Pangean Mountains, extended into Scotland, from the North
America/Europe collision - see Caledonian orogeny. Paleogeographic reconstruction showing the
Appalachian Basin area during the Middle
During the middle Ordovician Period (about 496-440 million years [13]
Devonian period.
ago), a change in plate motions set the stage for the first Paleozoic
mountain building event (Taconic orogeny) in North America. The
once-quiet Appalachian passive margin changed to a very active plate boundary when a neighboring oceanic plate,
the Iapetus, collided with and began sinking beneath the North American craton. With the birth of this new
subduction zone, the early Appalachians were born. Along the continental margin, volcanoes grew, coincident with
the initiation of subduction. Thrust faulting uplifted and warped older sedimentary rock laid down on the passive
margin. As mountains rose, erosion began to wear them down. Streams carried rock debris down slope to be
deposited in nearby lowlands. The Taconic Orogeny was just the first of a series of mountain building plate
collisions that contributed to the formation of the Appalachians, culminating in the collision of North America and
Africa (see Appalachian orogeny).[3]

By the end of the Mesozoic era, the Appalachian Mountains had been eroded to an almost flat plain.[3] It was not
until the region was uplifted during the Cenozoic Era that the distinctive topography of the present formed.[14] Uplift
rejuvenated the streams, which rapidly responded by cutting downward into the ancient bedrock. Some streams
flowed along weak layers that define the folds and faults created many millions of years earlier. Other streams
downcut so rapidly that they cut right across the resistant folded rocks of the mountain core, carving canyons across
rock layers and geologic structures.

Mineral resources
The Appalachian Mountains contain major deposits of anthracite coal as well as bituminous coal. In the folded
mountains the coal is in metamorphosed form as anthracite, represented by the Coal Region of northeastern
Pennsylvania. The bituminous coal fields of western Pennsylvania, western Maryland, southeastern Ohio, eastern
Kentucky, southwestern Virginia, and West Virginia contain the sedimentary form of coal.[15] The mountain top
removal method of coal mining, in which entire mountain tops are removed, is currently threatening vast areas and
ecosystems of the Appalachian Mountain region.
The discovery in 1859 of commercial quantities of petroleum in the Appalachian mountains of western Pennsylvania
started the modern United States petroleum industry.[16] Recent discoveries of commercial natural gas deposits in the
Appalachian Mountains 45

Marcellus Shale formation have once again focused oil industry attention on the Appalachian Basin.
Some plateaus of the Appalachian Mountains contain metallic minerals such as iron and zinc.[17]


The floras of the Appalachians are diverse and vary primarily in
response to geology, latitude, elevation and moisture availability.
Geobotanically, they constitute a floristic province of the North
American Atlantic Region. The Appalachians consist primarily of
deciduous broad-leaf trees and evergreen needle-leaf conifers, but also
contain the evergreen broad-leaf American Holly (Ilex opaca), and the
deciduous needle-leaf conifer, the Tamarack, or Eastern Larch (Larix
View from Mount Mitchell. At 6684 feet
laricina). (2037 m), Mount Mitchell in North Carolina is
the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.
The dominant northern and high elevation conifer is the Red Spruce
(Picea rubens), which grows from near sea level to above 4000 feet
(1200 m) above sea level (asl) in northern New England and southeastern Canada. It also grows southward along the
Appalachian crest to the highest elevations of the southern Appalachians, as in North Carolina and Tennessee. In the
central Appalachians it is usually confined above 3000 feet (900 m) asl, except for a few cold valleys in which it
reaches lower elevations. In the southern Appalachians it is restricted to higher elevations. Another species is the
Black Spruce (Picea mariana), which extends farthest north of any conifer in North America, is found at high
elevations in the northern Appalachians, and in bogs as far south as Pennsylvania.

The Appalachians are also home to two species of fir, the boreal Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea), and the southern high
elevation endemic, Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri). Fraser Fir is confined to the highest parts of the southern Appalachian
Mountains, where along with Red Spruce it forms a fragile ecosystem known as the Southern Appalachian spruce-fir
forest. Fraser Fir rarely occurs below 5500 feet (1700 m), and becomes the dominant tree type at 6200 feet
(1900 m).[18] By contrast, Balsam Fir is found from near sea level to the tree line in the northern Appalachians, but
ranges only as far south as Virginia and West Virginia in the central Appalachians, where it is usually confined
above 3900 feet (1200 m) asl, except in cold valleys. Curiously, it is associated with oaks in Virginia. The Balsam
Fir of Virginia and West Virginia is thought by some to be a natural hybrid between the more northern variety and
Fraser Fir. While Red Spruce is common in both upland and bog habitats, Balsam Fir, as well as Black Spruce and
Tamarack, are more characteristic of the latter. However Balsam Fir also does well in soils with a pH as high as
Eastern or Canada Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is another important evergreen needle-leaf conifer that grows along
the Appalachian chain from north to south, but is confined to lower elevations than Red Spruce and the firs. It
generally occupies richer and less acidic soils than the spruce and firs and is characteristic of deep, shaded and moist
mountain valleys and coves. It is, unfortunately, subject to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae), an
introduced insect, that is rapidly extirpating it as a forest tree. Less abundant, and restricted to the southern
Appalachians, is Carolina Hemlock (Tsuga caroliniana). Like Canada Hemlock, this tree suffers severely from the
Hemlock Woolly Adelgid.
Several species of pines characteristic of the Appalachians are Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus ), Virginia Pine
(Pinus virginiana), Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida ), Table Mountain Pine (Pinus pungens) and Shortleaf Pine (Pinus
echinata). Red Pine (Pinus resinosa) is a boreal species that forms a few high elevation outliers as far south as West
Virginia. All of these species except White Pine tend to occupy sandy, rocky, poor soil sites, which are mostly acidic
in character. White Pine, a large species valued for its timber, tends to do best in rich, moist soil, either acidic or
Appalachian Mountains 46

alkaline in character. Pitch Pine is also at home in acidic, boggy soil, and Table Mountain Pine may occasionally be
found in this habitat as well. Shortleaf Pine is generally found in warmer habitats and at lower elevations than the
other species. All the species listed do best in open or lightly shaded habitats, although White Pine also thrives in
shady coves, valleys, and on floodplains.
The Appalachians are characterized by a wealth of large, beautiful
deciduous broadleaf (hardwood) trees. Their occurrences are best
summarized and described in E. Lucy Braun's 1950 classic, Deciduous
Forests of Eastern North America (Macmillan, New York). The most
diverse and richest forests are the Mixed Mesophytic or medium
moisture types, which are largely confined to rich, moist montane soils
of the southern and central Appalachians, particularly in the
The view from Craggy Gardens on the Blue Cumberland and Allegheny Mountains, but also thrive in the southern
Ridge Parkway. Appalachian coves. Characteristic canopy species are White Basswood
(Tilia heterophylla), Yellow Buckeye (Aesculus octandra), Sugar
Maple (Acer saccharum), American Beech (Fagus grandifolia), Tuliptree (Liriodendron tulipifera), White Ash
(Fraxinus americana ) and Yellow Birch (Betula alleganiensis). Other common trees are Red Maple (Acer rubrum),
Shagbark and Bitternut Hickories (Carya ovata and C. cordiformis) and Black or Sweet Birch (Betula lenta ). Small
understory trees and shrubs include Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), Hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana),
Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) and Spicebush (Lindera benzoin). There are also hundreds of perennial and
annual herbs, among them such herbal and medicinal plants as American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), Goldenseal
(Hydrastis canadensis), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Black Cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa).

The foregoing trees, shrubs and herbs are also more widely distributed in less rich mesic forests that generally
occupy coves, stream valleys and flood plains throughout the southern and central Appalachians at low and
intermediate elevations. In the northern Appalachians and at higher elevations of the central and southern
Appalachians these diverse mesic forests give way to less diverse "Northern Hardwoods" with canopies dominated
only by American Beech, Sugar Maple, American Basswood (Tilia americana) and Yellow Birch and with far fewer
species of shrubs and herbs.
Dryer and rockier uplands and ridges are occupied by Oak-Chestnut type forests dominated by a variety of oaks
(Quercus spp.), hickories (Carya spp.) and, in the past, by the American Chestnut (Castanea dentata). The American
Chestnut was virtually eliminated as a canopy species by the introduced fungal Chestnut Blight (Cryphonectaria
parasitica), but lives on as sapling-sized sprouts that originate from roots, which are not killed by the fungus. In
present day forest canopies Chestnut has been largely replaced by oaks.
The oak forests of the southern and central Appalachians consist largely of Black, Northern Red, White, Chestnut
and Scarlet Oaks (Quercus velutina, Q. rubra, Q. alba, Q. prinus and Q. coccinea) and hickories, such as the Pignut
(Carya glabra) in particular. The richest forests, which grade into mesic types, usually in coves and on gentle slopes,
have dominantly White and Northern Red Oaks, while the driest sites are dominated by Chestnut Oak, or sometimes
by Scarlet or Northern Red Oaks. In the northern Appalachians the oaks, except for White and Northern Red, drop
out, while the latter extends farthest north.
Appalachian Mountains 47

The oak forests generally lack the diverse small tree, shrub and herb
layers of mesic forests. Shrubs are generally ericaceous, and include
the evergreen Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), various species of
blueberries (Vaccinium spp.), Black Huckleberry (Gaylussacia
baccata), a number of deciduous rhododendrons (azaleas), and smaller
heaths such as Teaberry ( Gaultheria procumbens) and Trailing
Arbutus (Epigaea repens ). The evergreen Great Rhododendron
(Rhododendron maximum) is characteristic of moist stream valleys.
These occurrences are in line with the prevailing acidic character of
Great Laurel thicket in the Pisgah National
most oak forest soils. In contrast, the much rarer Chinquapin Oak
(Quercus muehlenbergii) demands alkaline soils and generally grows
where limestone rock is near the surface. Hence no ericaceous shrubs
are associated with it.

The Appalachian floras also include a diverse assemblage of bryophytes (mosses and liverworts), as well as fungi.
Some species are rare and/or endemic. As with vascular plants, these tend to be closely related to the character of the
soils and thermal environment in which they are found.
Eastern deciduous forests are subject to a number of serious insect and disease outbreaks. Among the most
conspicuous is that of the introduced Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar), which infests primarily oaks, causing severe
defoliation and tree mortality. But it also has the benefit of eliminating weak individuals, and thus improving the
genetic stock, as well as creating rich habitat of a type through accumulation of dead wood. Because hardwoods
sprout so readily, this moth is not as harmful as the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. Perhaps more serious is the
introduced Beech Bark Disease Complex, which includes both a scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga) and fungal
During the 19th and early 20th centuries the Appalachian forests were subject to severe and destructive logging and
land clearing, which resulted in the designation of the National Forests and Parks as well many state protected areas.
However, these and a variety of other destructive activities continue, albeit in diminished forms; and thus far only a
few ecologically based management practices have taken hold.

Animals that characterize the Appalachian forests include five species of tree squirrels. The most commonly seen is
the low to moderate elevation Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis). Occupying similar habitat is the slightly
larger Fox Squirrel (Sciurus niger) and the much smaller Southern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys volans). More
characteristic of cooler northern and high elevation habitat is the Red Squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), whereas
the Appalachian Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus), which closely resembles the Southern
Flying Squirrel, is confined to northern hardwood and spruce-fir forests.
As familiar as squirrels are the Eastern Cottontail rabbit (Silvilagus
floridanus) and the White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus). The
latter in particular has greatly increased in abundance as a result of the
extirpation of the Eastern Wolf (Canis lupus lycaon) and the North
American Cougar. This has led to the overgrazing and browsing of
many plants of the Appalachian forests, as well as destruction of
agricultural crops. Other deer include the Moose (Alces alces ), found
Southern flying squirrel.
only in the north, and the Elk (Cervus canadensis), which, although
once extirpated, is now making a comeback, through transplantation, in
Appalachian Mountains 48

the southern and central Appalachians. In Quebec, the Chic-Chocs host the only population of Caribou (Rangifer
tarandus) south of the St. Lawrence River. An additional species that is common in the north but extends its range
southward at high elevations to Virginia and West Virginia is the Varying or Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus).
However, these central Appalachian populations are scattered and very small.
Another species of great interest is the Beaver (Castor canadensis), which is showing a great resurgence in numbers
after its near extirpation for its pelt. This resurgence is bringing about a drastic alteration in habitat through the
construction of dams and other structures throughout the mountains.
Other common forest animals are the Black Bear (Ursus americanus), Striped Skunk (Mephitis mephitis), Raccoon
(Procyon lotor), Woodchuck (Marmota monax), Bobcat (Felis rufus), Gray Fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), Red
Fox (Vulpes vulpes) and in recent years, the Coyote (Canis latrans), another species favored by the advent of
Europeans and the extirpation of Eastern and Red Wolves. European boars were introduced in the early 20th century.
Characteristic birds of the forest are Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), Ruffed Grouse (Bonasa
umbellus), Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura), Common Raven (Corvus corax), Wood Duck (Aix sponsa), Great
Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), Barred Owl (Strix varia), Screech Owl (Megascops asio), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo
jamaicensis), Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), and Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), as well as a great
variety of "songbirds" (Passeriformes), like the warblers in particular.
Of great importance are the many species of salamanders, and in
particular the lungless species (Family Plethodontidae) that live in
great abundance concealed by leaves and debris, on the forest floor.
Most frequently seen, however, is the Eastern or Red-spotted Newt
(Notophthalmus viridescens), whose terrestrial eft form is often
encountered on the open, dry forest floor. It has been estimated that
salamanders represent the largest class of animal biomass in the
Appalachian forests. Frogs and toads are of lesser diversity and
abundance, but the Wood Frog (Rana sylvatica) is, like the eft,
Male Eastern Wild Turkey.
commonly encountered on the dry forest floor, while a number of
species of small frogs, such as Spring Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer),
enliven the forest with their calls. Salamanders and other amphibians contribute greatly to nutrient cycling through
their consumption of small life forms on the forest floor and in aquatic habitats.

Although reptiles are less abundant and diverse than amphibians, a number of snakes are conspicuous members of
the fauna. One of the largest is the non-poisonous Black Rat Snake (Elaphe obsoleta obsoleta), while the Common
Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis) is among the smallest but most abundant. The American Copperhead
(Agkistrodon contortrix) and the Timber Rattler (Crotalus horridus) are poisonous pit vipers. There are few lizards,
but the Broad-headed Skink (Eumeces laticeps), at up to 13 inches (33 cm) in length, and an excellent climber and
swimmer, is one of the largest and most spectacular in appearance and action. The most common turtle is the Eastern
Box Turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina), which is found in both upland and lowland forests in the central and
southern Appalachians. Prominent among aquatic species is the large Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra
serpentina), which occurs throughout the Appalachians.
Appalachian streams are notable for their highly diverse freshwater fish life. Among the most abundant and diverse
are those of the minnow family (Family Cyprinidae), while species of the colorful Darters (Percina spp.) are also
A characteristic fish of shaded, cool Appalachian forest streams is the Wild Brook or Speckled Trout (Salvelinus
fontinalis), which is much sought after for its sporting qualities. However in past years such trout waters have been
much degraded by increasing temperatures because of timber cutting, global warming and by pollution from various
Appalachian Mountains 49

Influence on history
For a century, the Appalachians were a barrier to the westward expansion of the British colonies. The continuity of
the mountain system, the bewildering multiplicity of its succeeding ridges, the tortuous courses and roughness of its
transverse passes, a heavy forest, and dense undergrowth all conspired to hold the settlers on the seaward-sloping
plateaus and coastal plains. Only by way of the Hudson and Mohawk Valleys, and round about the southern
termination of the system were there easy routes to the interior of the country, and these were long closed by
powerful Native American tribes such as the Iroquois, Creek, and Cherokee, among others. Expansion was also
blocked by the alliance system the British Empire had forged with Native American tribes, the proximity of the
Spanish colonies in the south and French activity throughout the interior.
In eastern Pennsylvania the Great Appalachian Valley, or Great Valley, was accessible by reason of a broad gateway
between the end of South Mountain and the Highlands, and here between the Susquehanna and Delaware Rivers
settled many Germans and Moravians forming the Pennsylvania Dutch community, some of whom even now speak a
unique American dialect of German known as the "Pennsylvania German language" (also known as "Pennsylvania
Dutch"). These were late comers to the New World forced to the frontier to find cheap land. With their followers of
both German, English and Scots-Irish origin, they worked their way southward and soon occupied all of the
Shenandoah Valley, ceded by the Iroquois, and the upper reaches of the Great Valley tributaries of the Tennessee
River, ceded by the Cherokee.
By 1755, the obstacle to westward expansion had been thus reduced by half; outposts of the English colonists had
penetrated the Allegheny and Cumberland plateaus, threatening French monopoly in the transmontane region, and a
conflict became inevitable. Making common cause against the French to determine the control of the Ohio valley,
the unsuspected strength of the colonists was revealed, and the successful ending of the French and Indian War
extended England's territory to the Mississippi. To this strength the geographic isolation enforced by the
Appalachian mountains had been a prime contributor. The confinement of the colonies between an ocean and a
mountain wall led to the fullest occupation of the coastal border of the continent, which was possible under existing
conditions of agriculture, conducing to a community of purpose, a political and commercial solidarity, which would
not otherwise have been developed. As early as 1700 it was possible to ride from Portland, Maine, to southern
Virginia, sleeping each night at some considerable village. In contrast to this complete industrial occupation, the
French territory was held by a small and very scattered population, its extent and openness adding materially to the
difficulties of a disputed tenure. Bearing the brunt of this contest as they did, the colonies were undergoing
preparation for the subsequent struggle with the home government. Unsupported by shipping, the American armies
fought toward the sea with the mountains at their back protecting them against British leagued with the Aboriginals.
The few settlements beyond the Great Valley were free for self-defence because debarred from general participation
in the conflict by reason of their position.
Before the French and Indian War, the Appalachian Mountains lay on
the indeterminate boundary between Britain's colonies along the
Atlantic and French areas centered in the Mississippi basin. After the
French and Indian War, the Proclamation of 1763 restricted settlement
for Great Britain's thirteen original colonies in North America to east
Mount Carleton, the tallest mountain in the New
of the summit line of the mountains (except in the northern regions Brunswick section of the Appalachian Mountains.
where the Great Lakes formed the boundary). Although the line was
adjusted several times to take frontier settlements into account and was impossible to enforce as law, it was strongly
resented by backcountry settlers throughout the Appalachians. The Proclamation Line can be seen as one of the
grievances which led to the American Revolutionary War. Many frontier settlers held that the defeat of the French
opened the land west of the mountains to English settlement, only to find settlement barred by the British King's
proclamation. The backcountry settlers who fought in the Illinois campaign of George Rogers Clark were motivated
to secure their settlement of Kentucky.
Appalachian Mountains 50

With the formation of the United States, an important first phase of westward expansion in the late 18th century and
early 19th century consisted of the migration of European-descended settlers westward across the mountains into the
Ohio Valley through the Cumberland Gap and other mountain passes. The Erie Canal, finished in 1825, formed the
first route through the Appalachians that was capable of large amounts of commerce.

[1] "International Appalachian Trail- Newfoundland" (http:/ / www. iatnl. ca/ ). . Retrieved 2010-11-06.
[2] Cees R. van Staal, Mineral Deposits of Canada: Regional Metallogeny: Pre-Carboniferous tectonic evolution and metallogeny of the
Canadian Appalachians (http:/ / gsc. nrcan. gc. ca/ mindep/ synth_prov/ appalachian/ index_e. php), Geological Survey of Canada website
[3] "Geologic Provinces of the United States: Appalachian Highlands Province" (http:/ / geomaps. wr. usgs. gov/ parks/ province/ appalach.
html). USGS. . Retrieved 2010-07-19.
[4] "Physiographic divisions of the conterminous U. S." (http:/ / water. usgs. gov/ GIS/ metadata/ usgswrd/ XML/ physio. xml). U.S. Geological
Survey. . Retrieved 2007-12-06.
[5] "The Atlas of Canada — Physiographic Regions" (http:/ / atlas. nrcan. gc. ca/ site/ english/ maps/ reference/ anniversary_maps/
physiographicregions). . Retrieved 2007-12-07.
[6] "Geomorphology From Space — Appalachian Mountains" (http:/ / daac. gsfc. nasa. gov/ geomorphology/ GEO_2/ GEO_PLATE_T-11.
shtml). NASA. . Retrieved 2007-12-27.
[7] "Adirondack Mountains" (http:/ / www. peakbagger. com/ range. aspx?rid=1507). . Retrieved 2007-12-27.
[8] Weidensaul, Scott (1994). Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing. pp. ix. ISBN 1-55591-139-0.
[9] After Florida, Cape Canaveral, and Dry Tortugas: Stewart, George (1945). Names on the Land: A Historical Account of Place-Naming in the
United States. New York: Random House. pp. 11–13, 17, 18.
[10] Walls, David (1977), "On the Naming of Appalachia" (http:/ / www. sonoma. edu/ users/ w/ wallsd/ on-the-naming-of-appalachia. shtml) In
An Appalachian Symposium, pp. 56-76.
[11] Stewart, George R. (1967). Names on the Land. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
[12] David Walls, "Appalachia." The Encyclopedia of Appalachia (Knoxville, Tenn.: University of Tennessee Press, 2006), 1006-1007.
[13] Blakey, Ron. "Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America" (http:/ / jan. ucc. nau. edu/ rcb7/ nam. html). Global Plate
Tectonics and Paleogeography. Northern Arizona University. . Retrieved 2008-07-04.
[14] Poag, C. Wylie; Sevon, William D. (September 1989). "A record of Appalachian denudation in postrift Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary
deposits of the U.S. Middle Atlantic continental margin". Geomorphology 2 (1-3): 119–157. doi:10.1016/0169-555X(89)90009-3.
[15] Ruppert, Leslie F.. "Executive Summary—Coal Resource Assessment of Selected Coal Beds and Zones in the Northern and Central
Appalachian Basin Coal Regions" (http:/ / pubs. usgs. gov/ pp/ p1625c/ CHAPTER_A/ CHAPTER_A. pdf). USGS. . Retrieved 2010-07-19.
[16] Ryder, R.T.. "Appalachian Basin Province (067)" (http:/ / certmapper. cr. usgs. gov/ data/ noga95/ prov67/ text/ prov67. pdf). USGS. .
Retrieved 2010-07-19.
[17] Mineral Resources of the Appalachian Region (http:/ / quarriesandbeyond. org/ articles_and_books/ min_res_appalachian_region/ tc_intro.
html). USGS. 1968. Professional Paper 580. .
[18] Rose Houk, Great Smoky Mountains National Park: A Natural History Guide (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1993), pp. 50-62.
[19] Fowells, H.A., 1965, Silvics of Forest Trees of the United States, Agricultural Handbook No. 271, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Washington D.C.
[20] Page, Lawrence M. and Brooks M. Burr 1991, A Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes, North America, North of Mexico, Houghton Mifflin Co.,

• Topographic maps and Geologic Folios of the United States Geological Survey
• Bailey Willis, The Northern Appalachians, and C. W. Hayes, The Southern Appalachians, both in National
Geographic Monographs, vol. i.
• chaps, iii., iv. and v. of Miss E. C. Semple's American History and its Geographic Conditions (Boston, 1903).
•  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911).
Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Appalachian Mountains 51

Further reading
• Brooks, Maurice (1965), The Appalachians: The Naturalist's America; illustrated by Lois Darling and Lo Brooks.
Boston; Houghton Mifflin Company.
• Caudill, Harry M. (1963), Night Comes to the Cumberlands. ISBN 0-316-13212-8.
• Constantz, George (2004), Hollows, Peepers, and Highlanders: an Appalachian Mountain Ecology (2nd edition).
West Virginia University Press; Morgantown. 359 p.
• Weidensaul, Scott (2000), Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians. Fulcrum Publishing,
288 pages, ISBN 1-55591-139-0.
Appalachian flora and fauna-related journals:
• Castanea, the journal of the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society.
• Banisteria, a journal devoted to the natural history of Virginia.
• The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society.

External links
• Appalachian/Blue Ridge Forests images at (
bioimages/ecoregions/50403frame.htm) ( slow modem version (
• Appalachian Mixed Mesophytic Forests images at (
bioimages/ecoregions/50402frame.htm) ( slow modem version (
• University of Kentucky Appalachian Center (
• Forests of the Central Appalachians Project ( Detailed inventories of forest species
at dozens of sites.
Cordillera 52

A cordillera is an extensive chain of mountains or mountain ranges, that runs along a coastline (e.g. the Andes). It
comes from the Spanish word cordilla, which is a diminutive of cuerda, or "cord". This term may be encountered in
various scientific fields, but it has historically been used particularly in the field of physical geography.[1]

Notable cordilleras
• Arctic Cordillera, the mountain ranges along northeastern edge of the Arctic Archipelago and the
northeasternmost part of the Ungava Peninsula in Labrador and Quebec, Canada
• American Cordillera, the mountain ranges forming the western backbone of North America and South America
• Annamese Cordillera (Annamite Range), Laos and eastern Vietnam
• Baetic Cordillera, Spain
• Central Cordillera (New Guinea Highlands)
• Cordillera Cantábrica, Asturias and Cantabria (including the Picos de Europa)
• Cordillera Central, several mountain ranges
• Cordillera Occidental, Andes, Colombia and Ecuador
• Cordillera Occidental, Peru
• Cordillera Oriental, several mountain ranges
• Pacific Cordillera, an alternate name for the Western Cordillera in North America, usually used in Canada. This
term is sometimes also mis-used for the Pacific Coast Ranges.
• Mexican Cordillera, consisting of the Juarez Segment, the Huayacocotla Segment, the Victoria Segment, and the
Nuevoleones Cordillera
• Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), encompassing the Cordillera Central mountains of the Philippines
• Cordillera de los Andes, South America
• Cordillera de la Costa (Chilean Coast Range)
• Cordillera de la Costa (Venezuelan Coastal Range)
• Cordillera de Mérida, Venezuela
• Gran Cordillera Region (Northern Philippines)
• East Australian Cordillera
• Southern Pacific Cordillera, Mindanao, Philippines

Other uses
• Cordillera Department, a district of Paraguay
• Cordillera Province (Bolivia), of the Santa Cruz department in Bolivia
• Cordillera, Colorado, an unincorporated community in the United States
• Cordillera, a fictional South American country in the novel High Citadel by Desmond Bagley

[1] The Encyclopedia Americana: a library of universal knowledge (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=r2cMAAAAYAAJ& pg=PA687&
dq=cordillera+ and+ "physical+ geography"+ encyclopedia& hl=en& ei=UMmGTZ7fMYq2sAOPqYmDAg& sa=X& oi=book_result&
ct=result& resnum=6& ved=0CEUQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage& q& f=false), page 687 (Encyclopedia Americana Corp., 1918): "It is used
particularly in physical geography, although in geology also it is sometimes applied...."
Hindu Kush 53

Hindu Kush
Hindu Kush

Mountains of Afghanistan

Countries Pakistan, Afghanistan

Region South-Central Asia

Part of Himalaya

Highest point Tirich Mir

 - elevation 7690 m (25230 ft)

 - coordinates 36°14′45″N 71°50′38″E

The Hindu Kush (the mountains of Hind[1] ) is a 500-mile mountain range that stretches between central
Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. The highest point in the Hindu Kush is Tirich Mir, also called "roof of the world"
(7,708 m or 25,289 ft) in the Chitral region of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.
It is the westernmost extension of the Pamir Mountains, the Karakoram Range, and is a sub-range of the Himalayas.
It is also calculated to be the geographic center of population of the world.[2]

The names Hindu Kush (Persian: ‫)شُکودنِه‬, Hindu Kūh (‫ )هوکودنِه‬and Kūh-e Hind (‫ )دنِه ِهوک‬are usually
applied to the entire range separating the basins of the Kabul and Helmand rivers from that of the Amu River
(ancient Oxus) or more specifically to that part of the range, northwest of the Afghan capital Kabul. Sanskrit
documents refer to the Hindu Kush as Pāriyātra Parvata (पारियात्र पर्वत). Kush in Persian is from the verb 'Kushtan'
which means to kill, to destroy etc. which translates the mountain literally into "Hindu Killer." The name could be
referring to the dead Hindus that were transported through the mountains or it could just mean an attrition of the term
"Hindu Koh" that separated the Hindu parts of Southern Afghanistan from the non-Hindu parts of Northern
Afghanistan.[3] Greek historians/chroniclers adapted the Persian expression which was in vogue in that age and
called this area "Paropanisadae". Hindu books in Sanskrit refer to this area as Pariyatra Mountains.
Thousands of years ago, ancient Iranians called this mountain range "upari saena" or "kof-i aparsen" (mountains that
rise higher than birds can fly). It was called "Paropanisadae" by Greeks in the late first millennium BC.[4] Alexander
the Great explored the Afghan areas between Bactria and the Indus River after his conquest of the Achaemenid
Hindu Kush 54

Empire in 330 BC. It became part of the Seleucid Empire before falling to the Hindu Maurya Empire around 305
Alexander took these away from the Aryans and established settlements of his own, but Seleucus Nicator gave
them to Sandrocottus (Chandragupta), upon terms of intermarriage and of receiving in exchange 500
—Strabo, 64 BC–24 AD
Indo-Scythians expelled the Indo-Greeks by the mid 1st century BC, but lost the area to the Kushan Empire about
100 years later.[6] The name "Kush" is mentioned in the Bible (Old Testament), referring to the land of North of
Sudan, Ethiopia, Aritrea and Somalia of our days. as told in the story of Ester, the Persian King Achashverosh ruled
teritorries that spread from India till Kush, referring to the Kingdom that existed around 3000 BC till the 6 century
BC.From that kingdom came the Hebrew word "Kushi", referring a Black African. There is no connection between
Kush of India to the one mentioned in the Bible.[7] The word "Koh" or "Kuh" means mountain in many of the local
languages. The name Hindu Kush is probably a corruption of Hindi-Kash or Hindi-Kesh, the boundary of Hind (i.e.
Indian subcontinent).[1]

Before the Christian era, and afterwards, there was an intimate connection between the Kabul Valley and India. All the Passes of the
Hindu-Kush descend into that valley; and travellers from the north as soon as they crossed the watershed, found a civilization and religion, the
same as that much prevailed in India. The great range was the boundary in those days and barrier that was at time impassable. Hindu-Kuh--the
mountain of Hind--was similarly derived. ”
Ibn Batuta, a scholar from Morrocco, visiting the area in the 14th century wrote:
Another reason for our halt was fear of the snow, for on the road there is a mountain called Hindukush, which
means "Slayer of Indians," because the slave boys and girls who are brought from India die there in large
numbers as a result of the extreme cold and the great quantity of snow. The passage extends for a whole day
march. We stayed until the warm weather had definitely set in, and cross this mountain by a continuous march
from before dawn to sunset.[8]
—Ibn Batuta, 1333

The mountains of the Hindu Kush system diminish in
height as they stretch westward: Toward the middle,
near Kabul, they extend from 4,500 to 6,000 meters
(14,700 feet to 19,100 feet); in the west, they attain
heights of 3,500 to 4,000 meters (11,500 feet to 13,000
feet). The average altitude of the Hindu Kush is 4,500
meters (14,700 feet). The Hindu Kush system stretches
about 966 kilometres (600 miles) laterally, and its
median north-south measurement is about 240
kilometres (150 miles). Only about 600 kilometres (370
miles) of the Hindu Kush system is called the Hindu
Kush mountains. The rest of the system consists of
numerous smaller mountain ranges including the Koh-e The Hindu Kush occupy the lower left centre of this satellite image.
Baba, Salang, Koh-e Paghman, Spin Ghar (also called
the eastern Safēd Kōh), Suleiman Range, Siah Koh, Koh-e Khwaja Mohammad and Selseleh-e Band-e Turkestan.
The western Safid Koh, the Malmand, Chalap Dalan, Siah Band and Doshakh are commonly referred to as the
Paropamise by western scholars, though that name has been slowly falling out of use over the last few decades.
Hindu Kush 55

Rivers that flow from the mountain system include the Helmand River, the Hari River and the Kabul River,
watersheds for the Sistan Basin.
Numerous high passes ("kotal") transect the mountains, forming a strategically important network for the transit of
caravans. The most important mountain pass is the Salang Pass (Kotal-e Salang) (3,878 m); it links Kabul and points
south of it to northern Afghanistan. The completion of a tunnel within this pass in 1964 reduced travel time between
Kabul and the north to a few hours. Previously access to the north through the Kotal-e Shibar (3,260 m) took three
days. The Salang tunnel at 3,363 m and the extensive network of galleries on the approach roads were constructed
with Soviet financial and technological assistance and involved drilling 1.7 miles through the heart of the Hindu
Before the Salang road was constructed, the most famous passes in the Western historical perceptions of Afghanistan
were those leading to India. They include the Khyber Pass (1,027 m), in Pakistan, and the Kotal-e Lataband
(2,499 m) east of Kabul, which was superseded in 1960 by a road constructed within the Kabul River's most
spectacular gorge, the Tang-e Gharu. This remarkable engineering feat reduced travel time between Kabul and the
Pakistan border from two days to a few hours.

Lataband Rd.

The roads through the Salang and Tang-e Gharu passes played critical strategic roles during the U.S. invasion of
Afghanistan and were used extensively by heavy military vehicles. Consequently, these roads are in very bad repair.
Many bombed out bridges have been repaired, but numbers of the larger structures remain broken. Periodic closures
due to conflicts in the area seriously affect the economy and well-being of many regions, for these are major routes
carrying commercial trade, emergency relief and reconstruction assistance supplies destined for all parts of the
There are a number of other important passes in Afghanistan. The Wakhjir Pass (4,923 m), proceeds from the
Wakhan Corridor into Xinjiang, China, and into Northern Areas of Pakistan. Passes which join Afghanistan to
Chitral, Pakistan, include the Baroghil (3,798 m) and the Kachin (5,639 m), which also cross from the Wakhan.
Important passes located farther west are the Shotorgardan (3,720 m), linking Logar and Paktiya provinces; the
Bazarak (2,713 m), leading into Mazari Sharif; the Khawak Pass (4,370 m) in the Panjsher Valley, and the Anjuman
Pass (3,858 m) at the head of the Panjsher Valley giving entrance to the north. The Hajigak (2,713 m) and Unai
(3,350 m) lead into the eastern Hazarajat and Bamyan Valley. The passes of the Paropamisus in the west are
relatively low, averaging around 600 meters; the most well-known of these is the Sabzak between the Herat and
Badghis provinces, which links the western and northwestern parts of Afghanistan.
These mountainous areas are mostly barren, or at the most sparsely sprinkled with trees and stunted bushes. Very
ancient mines producing lapis lazuli are found in Kowkcheh Valley, while gem-grade emeralds are found north of
Kabul in the valley of the Panjsher River and some of its tributaries. The famous 'balas rubies', or spinels, were
mined until the 19th century in the valley of the Ab-e Panj or Upper Amu Darya River, considered to be the meeting
place between the Hindu Kush and the Pamir ranges. These mines now appear to be exhausted.
Hindu Kush 56

Eastern Hindu Kush

The Eastern Hindu Kush range, also known as the High Hindu Kush range, is mostly located in northern Pakistan
and the Nuristan and Badakhshan provinces of Afghanistan. The Chitral District of Pakistan is home to Tirich Mir,
Noshaq, and Istoro Nal, the highest peaks in the Hindu Kush. The range also extends into Ghizar, Yasin Valley, and
Ishkoman in Pakistan's Northern Areas.
Chitral is considered to be the pinnacle of the Hindu Kush region. The highest peaks, as well as countless passes
and massive glaciers, are located in this region. The Chiantar, Kurambar, and Terich glaciers are amongst the most
extensive in the Hindu Kush and the meltwater from these glaciers form the Kunar River, which eventually flows
south into Afghanistan and joins the Bashgal, Panjsher, and eventually the much smaller Kabul River.

Military presence
After historical military presence since the time of Darius the Great, the recent Cold War caused the presence of
Soviet and mujahideen fighters and then revolutionary Taliban. Currently Al Qaeda’s presence made the ISAF forces
to shift their operation in the Hindu Kush mountain ranges.[9] [10]

Pre Islamic tribes of the Hindu Kush

• Shins
• Yeshkun [11]
• Chiliss
• Neemchas [12]
• Koli [13]
• Palus [13]
• Gaware [14]
• Yeshkuns [15]
• Krammins [15]
• Indo-Scythians
• Bactrian Greeks
• Kushans

[1] Tate, George P. (2009). The Kingdom of Afghanistan: A Historical Sketch (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=fhF-BvWVmYIC&
lpg=PP1& pg=PA3#v=onepage& q& f=false). BiblioBazaar, LLC. p. 3. ISBN 1115584022. . Retrieved 2010-11-05.
[2] Claude Grasland and Malika Madelin, "The unequal distribution of population and wealth in the world", Population & Sociétés No. 368 (May
2001) (http:/ / www. ined. fr/ fichier/ t_publication/ 141/ publi_pdf2_pop_and_soc_english_368. pdf)
[3] http:/ / www. globalsecurity. org/ military/ world/ afghanistan/ cs-enviro. htm
[4] Vogelsang, Willem (2002). The Afghans (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=9kfJ6MlMsJQC& lpg=PP1& pg=PA1#v=onepage& q&
f=false). Wiley-Blackwell. p. 1. ISBN 0631198415. . Retrieved 2010-08-22.
[5] Nancy Hatch Dupree / Aḥmad ʻAlī Kuhzād (1972). "An Historical Guide to Kabul - The Name" (http:/ / www. aisk. org/ aisk/
NHDAHGTK05. php). American International School of Kabul. . Retrieved 2010-09-18.
[6] Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor (1987). E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913-1936 (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=zJU3AAAAIAAJ& lpg=PP1& pg=PA159#v=onepage& q& f=false). 2. BRILL. p. 159. ISBN 9004082654. . Retrieved 2010-08-23.
[7] Tyagi, Vidya Prakash (2009). Martial races of undivided India (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=vRwS6FmS2g0C& lpg=PP1&
pg=PA230#v=onepage& q& f=false). Gyan Publishing House. p. 230. ISBN 8178357755. . Retrieved 2010-10-24.
[8] Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325-1354 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=zKqn_CWTxYEC& lpg=PP1& pg=PA178#v=onepage& q&
f=false) (reprint, illustrated ed.). Routledge. 2004. p. 180. ISBN 0415344735. . Retrieved 2010-09-10.
[9] A Short March to the Hindu Kush (http:/ / www. alpinist. com/ doc/ ALP18/ short-march-hindu-kush-ed-darack), Alpinist 18.
[10] "Alexander in the Hindu Kush" (http:/ / www. livius. org/ aj-al/ alexander/ alexander_t16. html). Livius. Articles on Ancient History. .
Retrieved 2007-09-12.
[11] Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by John Bidduph, published by Sang-e-Meel - Publications Page 38
Hindu Kush 57

[12] Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by John Bidduph, published by Sang-e-Meel - Publications Page 7
[13] Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by John Bidduph, published by Sang-e-Meel - Publications Page 9
[14] Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by John Bidduph, published by Sang-e-Meel - Publications Page 11
[15] Tribes of the Hindoo Koosh by John Bidduph, published by Sang-e-Meel - Publications Page 12

Further reading
• Drew, Frederic (1877). The Northern Barrier of India: A Popular Account of the Jammoo and Kashmir
Territories with Illustrations. Frederic Drew. 1st edition: Edward Stanford, London. Reprint: Light & Life
Publishers, Jammu, 1971
• Gibb, H. A. R. (1929). Ibn Battūta: Travels in Asia and Africa, 1325–1354. Translated and selected by H. A. R.
Gibb. Reprint: Asian Educational Services, New Delhi and Madras, 1992
• Gordon, T. E. (1876). The Roof of the World: Being the Narrative of a Journey over the High Plateau of Tibet to
the Russian Frontier and the Oxus Sources on Pamir. Edinburgh. Edmonston and Douglas. Reprint: Ch’eng Wen
Publishing Company. Tapei, 1971
• Leitner, Gottlieb Wilhelm (1890). Dardistan in 1866, 1886 and 1893: Being An Account of the History, Religions,
Customs, Legends, Fables and Songs of Gilgit, Chilas, Kandia (Gabrial) Yasin, Chitral, Hunza, Nagyr and other
parts of the Hindukush, as also a supplement to the second edition of The Hunza and Nagyr Handbook. And An
Epitome of Part III of the author's 'The Languages and Races of Dardistan'. Reprint, 1978. Manjusri Publishing
House, New Delhi. ISBN 8120612175
• Newby, Eric. (1958). A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. Secker, London. Reprint: Lonely Planet. ISBN
• Yule, Henry and Burnell, A. C. (1886). Hobson-Jobson: The Anglo-Indian Dictionary. 1996 reprint by
Wordsworth Editions Ltd. ISBN 185326363X
• A Country Study: Afghanistan, [[Library of Congress (]]

External links
• Khyber Pass (
Caucasus 58

The Caucasus or Caucas is a
geopolitical region at the border of
Europe and Asia. It is home to the
Caucasus Mountains, including
Europe's highest mountain (Mount

North Caucasus comprises:

• Chechnya, Ingushetia, Dagestan,
Adyghea, Kabardino-Balkaria,
Karachai-Cherkessia, North Ossetia,
Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai
South Caucasus comprises:
• Armenia
• Azerbaijan (including disputed Political map of South Caucasus
• Georgia (including disputed
Abkhazia and South Ossetia)

The word Caucasus derives from
Caucas, the purported ancestor of the
North Caucasians.[1] He was a son of
Togarmah, grandson of Biblical Noah's
third son Japheth. According to Leonti
Mroveli, after the fall of the Tower of
Babel and the division of humanity into
different languages, Togarmah settled
with his sons: Kartlos, Haik (Georgian:
ჰაოს, Haos), Movakos, Lekos (Lak
people), Heros (Kingdom of Hereti),
Kavkasos, and Egros (Kingdom of A 1994 map of the Caucasus region, including the locations of valuable resources shared
by the many states in the area: alunite, gold, chromium, copper, iron ore, mercury,
Egrisi) between two inaccessible
manganese, molybdenum, lead, tungsten, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal.
mountains, presumably Mount Ararat
and Mount Elbrus.

Alternative origins are: From a Pelasgian word for "mountain" or from a Scythian word meaning "snow-white".[2]
Caucasus 59

Geography and ecology

The lower portions of the Caucasus Mountains are situated in the
Greater Middle East area. They are generally perceived to be a dividing
line between Asia and Europe, and territories in Caucasia are
alternately considered to be in one or both continents. The highest peak
in the Caucasus is Mount Elbrus (5,642 m) in the western Ciscaucasus
in Russia, which is the highest point in Europe (according to the
definitions of Europe as including Caucasus).

The Caucasus is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse

Armenia's capital Yerevan
regions on Earth. The nation states that comprise the Caucasus today
are the post-Soviet states Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The
Russian divisions include Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, and the
autonomous republics of Adygea, Karachay-Cherkessia,
Kabardino-Balkaria, North Ossetia, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and
Dagestan. Three territories in the region claim independence but are
not universally acknowledged as nation-states by the international
community: Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh and South Ossetia.

The Caucasus is an area of great ecological importance. It harbors

some 6400 species of higher plants, 1600 of which are endemic to the The highland settlement of Khinalug in
region.[3] Its wildlife includes leopards, brown bears, wolves, bison, Azerbaijan.
marals, golden eagles and Hooded Crows. Among invertebrates, some
1000 spider species are recorded in the Caucasus.[4] The natural
landscape is one of mixed forest, with substantial areas of rocky
ground above the treeline. The Caucasus Mountains are also noted for
a dog breed, the Caucasian Shepherd Dog (Ovcharka).

The northern portion of the Caucasus is known as the Ciscaucasus and

the southern portion as the Transcaucasus.
The Ciscaucasus contains the larger majority of the Greater Caucasus
Mountain range, also known as the Major Caucasus mountains. It
The village of Ushguli in Georgia.
includes Southwestern Russia and northern parts of Georgia and
The Transcaucasus is bordered on the north by Russia, on the west by the Black Sea and Turkey, on the east by the
Caspian Sea, and on the south by Iran. It includes the Caucasus Mountains and surrounding lowlands. All of
Armenia, Azerbaijan (excluding the northern parts) and Georgia (excluding the northern parts) are in South
Caucasus 60

Located on the peripheries of Turkey, Iran, and Russia,
the region has been an arena for political, military,
religious, and cultural rivalries and expansionism for
centuries. Throughout its history, the Caucasus was
usually incorporated into the Iranian world. At the
beginning of the 19th century, the Russian Empire
conquered the territory from the Qajars.[5]

Ancient kingdoms of the region included Armenia,

Albania, Colchis and Iberia, among others. These
Greatest extent of Kingdom of Armenia under Tigranes the Great
kingdoms were later incorporated into various Iranian
empires, including Media, Achaemenid Empire,
Parthia, and Sassanid Empire. In 95-55 BC under the
reign of Armenian king of kings Tigranes the Great,
Kingdom of Armenia became an empire, including
besides Kingdom of Armenia, vassals Iberia, Albania,
Parthia and afew Arab tribes Atropatene, Mesopotamia,
Cappadocia, Cilicia, Syria, Assyria, Nabataean
kingdom, Judea and Atropatene, stretching from
Caucasian Mountains to Egypt and from Mediterranean
Sea to Caspian Sea, including a territory of 3000000
km2 ( sq mi), and becoming the last strong Hellenist
king, and the strongest in the region by 67 BC. By this
Etchmiadzin Cathedral in Armenia, completed in 303 AD, religion
time, Zoroastrianism had become the dominant religion
center of ArmeniansIt is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
of the region (except Kingdom of Armenia); however,
the region would go through two other religious
transformations. Owing to the rivalry between Persia and Rome, and later Byzantium, the latter would invade the
region several times, although it was never able to hold the region.

However, because Kingdom of Armenia(301 AD, the first nation to adopt Christianity as state religion) Caucasian
Albania and Georgia had become a Christian entity, Christianity began to overtake Zoroastrianism. With the Islamic
conquest of Persia, the region came under the rule of the Arabs. And soon Emirate of Armenia was formed.But after
several rebellions in 884\885 AD Kingdom of Armenia became independent, and several times crushed Arab armies.
At that time Kingdom of Armenia capital was Ani, with a population of 200,000 and a city of "1001 churches". It
was at its peak under the reign of Gagik I, when it stretched from Byzantine Empire to Caucasian Albania,
Caucasus 61

from Caucasian Iberia to Mesopotamia, including also

vassal states such as Caucasian Albania and Caucasian
Iberia, until in 1045 AD the kingdom was conquered by
Byzantine Empire. In XII century Georgian king David
the Builder drove the Muslims out from Caucasus and
made the Kingdom of Georgia a strong regional power.
In 1194–1204 Georgian Queen Tamar's armies crushed
new Turkish invasions from the south-east and south
and launched several successful campaigns into
Turkish-controlled Southern Armenia. Georgian
Kingdom continued military campaigns outside of
Caucasus. As a result of her military campaigns and the
temporary fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1204,
Georgia became the strongest Christian state in the
whole Near East area. The region would later be
conquered by the Ottomans, Mongols, local kingdoms
and khanates, as well as, once again, Persia, until its
conquest by Russia.
Petroglyphs in Gobustan, Azerbaijan, dating back to 10,000 BC
The region was unified as a single political entity twice
indicating a thriving culture. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
considered to be of "outstanding universal value" – during the Russian Civil War (Transcaucasian
Democratic Federative Republic) from 9 April 1918 to
26 May 1918, and under the Soviet rule
(Transcaucasian SFSR) from 12 March 1922 to 5
December 1936.

In modern times, the Caucasus became a region of war

among the Ottoman Empire, Iran and Russia, and was
eventually conquered by the latter (see Caucasian
In the 1940s, the Chechens and Ingush (480,000
altogether), along with the Balkars, Karachays,
Meskhetian Turks (120,000), Kurds and Caucasus
Germans (almost 200,000) were deported en masse to
Central Asia and Siberia. Eric D. Weitz wrote, "By
1948, according to Nicolas Werth, the mortality rate of
the 600,000 people deported from the Caucasus
Kingdom of Georgia at the peak of its power under Tamar of Georgia between 1943 and 1944 had reached 25 percent."[6]
and George IV of Georgia (1184-1223).
Following the end of the Soviet Union, Georgia,
Azerbaijan and Armenia became independent in 1991. The Caucasus region has been subject to various territorial
disputes since the collapse of the Soviet Union, leading to the Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988–1994), the
Ossetian-Ingush conflict (1989–1991), the War in Abkhazia (1992–1993), the First Chechen War (1994–1996), the
Second Chechen War (1999–2009), and the 2008 South Ossetia War.
Caucasus 62

The region has many different languages and language
families. There are more than 50 ethnic groups living in
the region.[7] No less than three language families are
unique to the area, but also Indo-European languages
such as Armenian and Ossetic, and the Altaic language
Azerbaijani are local to the area.

Today the peoples of the Northern and Southern

Caucasus tend to be either Eastern Orthodox Christians,
Oriental Orthodox Christians, or Sunni Muslims. Shia
Islam has had many adherents historically in
Azerbaijan, located in the eastern part of the region.

In Greek mythology the Caucasus, or Kaukasos, was
one of the pillars supporting the world. After presenting
man with the gift of fire, Prometheus (or Amirani in
Georgian version) was chained there by Zeus, to have
Ethno-linguistic groups in the Caucasus region 2009.
his liver eaten daily by an eagle as punishment for
defying Zeus' wish of not giving the "secret of fire" to

The Roman poet Ovid placed Caucasus in Scythia and

depicted it as a cold and stony mountain which was the
abode of personified hunger. The Greek hero Jason
sailed to the west coast of the Caucasus in pursuit of
the Golden Fleece, and there met Medea, a daughter of
King Aeëtes of Colchis.

Energy and mineral resources

Caucasus has many economically important minerals Dagestani couple in traditional dress (early 20th
and energy resources, such as: alunite, gold, chromium,
copper, iron ore, mercury, manganese, molybdenum,
lead, tungsten, uranium, zinc, oil, natural gas, and coal (both hard and brown).

[1] G.Qoranashvili (1995), Questions of Ethnic Identity According to Leonti Mroveli's Historical Chronicles, Studies, Vol. 1, Tbilisi.
[2] page 79, entry Caucasus in Adian Room, Placenames of the World: Origins and Meanings of the Names for Over 5000 Natural Features,
Countries, Capitals, Territories, Cities and Historic Sites, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, 1997 ISBN 0-7864-0172-9
[3] "Endemic Species of the Caucasus" (http:/ / www. endemic-species-caucasus. info/ ). .
[4] "A faunistic database on the spiders of the Caucasus" (http:/ / caucasus-spiders. info/ introduction/ checklists/ ). Caucasian Spiders. .
Retrieved 17 September 2010.
[5] Pierre Thorez (June 2, 2007). "Caucasus" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20080501175940/ http:/ / www. iranica. com/ newsite/ articles/
v5f1/ v5f1a032. html). Encyclopaedia Iranica. Archived from the original (http:/ / www. iranica. com/ newsite/ articles/ v5f1/ v5f1a032. html)
on May 1, 2008. . Retrieved 17 September 2010.
Caucasus 63

[6] Weitz, Eric D. (2003). A century of genocide: utopias of race and nation (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=W50Gg4o_2q4C&
pg=PA82& dq& hl=en#v=onepage& q=& f=false). Princeton University Press. p. 82. ISBN 0691009139. .
[7] "Caucasian peoples" (http:/ / www. britannica. com/ eb/ article-9021862/ Caucasian-peoples). Encyclopædia Britannica. .

• Caucasus: A Journey to the Land Between Christianity and Islam, by Nicholas Griffin
• Small Nations and Great Powers: A Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict in the Caucasus, by Svante E. Cornell
• The Caucasus, by Ivan Golovin

External links
• Ethnographic map of Caucasus (
• Information for travellers and others about Caucasus and Georgia (
• (Caucasian Review of International Affairs - an academic journal on the South Caucasus) (http://www.
• BBC News: North Caucasus at a glance (, 8 September
• United Nations Environment Programme map: Landcover of the Caucasus (
• United Nations Environment Programme map: Population density of the Caucasus (
• Caucasus and Iran ( entry in Encyclopaedia
• University of Turin-Observatory on Caucasus (
• MA in Black Sea Cultural Studies. International Hellenic University-School of Humanities (http://www.hum.
• Circassians Caucasus Web (Turkish) (

Further reading
• Gagarin G.G. Costumes Caucasus ( (Костюмы Кавказа). Paris,
1840, at in DjVu and PDF formats
• Kaziev Shapi. Caucasian highlanders (Повседневная жизнь горцев Cеверного Кавказа в XIX в.). Everyday life
of the Caucasian highlanders. 19-th century (In the co-authorship with I.Karpeev). "Molodaya Gvardiy"
publishers. Moscow, 2003. ISBN 5-235-02585-7 (
• Nikolai F. Dubrovin. The history of wars and Russian domination in the Caucasus (
book3084/) (История войны и владычества русских на Кавказе). Sankt-Petersburg, 1871-1888, at
in DjVu and PDF formats
• Rostislav A. Fadeev. Sixty years of the Caucasian War (
(Шестьдесят лет Кавказской войны). Tiflis, 1860, at in DjVu format
Alps 64


The Jungfrau, Bernese Oberland, Switzerland.

Countries Slovenia, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Liechtenstein

Highest point Mont Blanc (Italian: Monte Bianco)

 - elevation 4810.45 m (15782 ft)

 - coordinates 45°50′01″N 06°51′54″E

Geology Bündner schist, flysch, molasse

Orogeny Alpine orogeny

Period Tertiary

Relief of the Alps. See also map with international borders marked
Alps 65

The Alps (German: Alpen; Italian: Alpi; Lombard:

Alp; French: Alpes; Occitan: Aups/Alps; Romansh:
Alps; Slovene: Alpe) is one of the great mountain
range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and
Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland,
Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west.

The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at

4810.45 metres (15782 ft),[1] on the Italian–French
border. All the main peaks of the Alps can be found
in the list of mountains of the Alps and list of Alpine
peaks by prominence.
The English name Alps was taken via French from
Latin Alpes, which may be ultimately cognate with The Alps from space in 2002.
Latin albus ("white"). The German Albe, Alpe or Alp
(f., Old High German alpâ, plural alpûn), the Occitan Alp/Aup[2] and the French Alpage or Alpe in the singular mean
"alpine pasture", and only in the plural may also refer to the mountain range as a whole.[3]

The Alps are generally divided into the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. The division is along the line between
Lake Constance and Lake Como, following the rivers Rhine, Liro and Mera. The Western Alps are higher, but the
central chain is shorter and curved; It is located in Italy, France and Switzerland. The Eastern Alps (main ridge
system elongated and broad) belong to Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein and Slovenia.
The highest peak of the Western Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4810.45 metres (15782 ft).[1] The highest peak of the Eastern
Alps is Piz Bernina at 4049 metres (13284 ft). Monte Rosa at 4634 metres (15203 ft). and Ortler,[4] 3905 metres
(12812 ft), are the second-highest, respectively.
The Eastern Alps is commonly subdivided according to the different lithology (rock composition) of the more
central parts of the Alps and the groups at its northern and southern fringes:
• Northern Limestone Alps (from the Wienerwald to Bregenzerwald), including the Flyschzone; peaks up to
3000 metres (9840 ft)
• Central Eastern Alps (Austria, Switzerland); peaks up to 4050 metres (13290 ft)
• Southern Limestone Alps (Austria, Italy, Slovenia)
The border between the Central Alps and the Southern Limestone Alps is the Periadriatic Seam. The Northern
Limestone Alps are separated from the Central Eastern Alps by the Greywacke zone.
The Western Alps is commonly subdivided with respect to geography:
• Ligurian Alps
• Maritime Alps
• Cottian Alps
• Dauphiné Alps
• Graian Alps
• Chablais Alps
• Pennine Alps
• Bernese Alps
• Lepontine Alps
• Glarus Alps
• Appenzell Alps.
Alps 66

Series of lower mountain ranges run parallel to the main chain of the Alps, including the French Prealps. (See Alpine
The geologic subdivision is different and makes no difference between the Western and Eastern Alps: the
Helveticum in the north, the Penninicum and Austroalpine system in the center and, south of the Periadriatic Seam,
the Southern Alpine system and parts of the Dinarides (see Alpine geology). Geographically, the Jura Mountains do
not belong to the Alps; geologically, however, they do.

Main chain
The secondary chain of the Alps follows the watershed from the
Mediterranean Sea to the Wienerwald, passing over many of the
highest and most famous peaks in the Alps. From the Colle di
Cadibona to Col de Tende it runs westwards, before turning to the
northwest and then, near the Colle della Maddalena, to the north. Upon
reaching the Swiss border, the line of the main chain heads
approximately east-northeast, a heading it follows until its end near
The watershed between Italy and Switzerland
(View from Tête Blanche, Pennine Alps)
Principal passes
The Alps does not form an impassable barrier; It has been traversed for war and commerce, and later by pilgrims,
students and tourists. Crossing places by road, train or foot are called passes. These are depressions in the mountains
into which a valley leads from the plains and hilly pre-mountainous zones.

The Union Internationale des Associations d'Alpinisme (UIAA) has defined a list of 82 "official" Alpine 4,000-metre
(13,123 ft) summits. The list contains many subpeaks with little prominence, but important for mountaineering. Here
are the twelve four-thousanders with at least 1 km prominence.

Name Height (metres, feet) Range

Mont Blanc 4810.45 m (15782 ft) Graian Alps

Monte Rosa 4634 m (15203 ft) Pennine Alps

Dom 4545 m (14911 ft) Pennine Alps

Weisshorn 4506 m (14783 ft) Pennine Alps

Matterhorn 4478 m (14692 ft) Pennine Alps

Grand Combin 4314 m (14154 ft) Pennine Alps

Finsteraarhorn 4273 m (14019 ft) Bernese Alps

Aletschhorn 4193 m (13757 ft) Bernese Alps

Barre des Écrins 4102 m (13458 ft) Dauphiné Alps

Gran Paradiso 4061 m (13323 ft) Graian Alps

Piz Bernina 4049 m (13284 ft) Bernina Range

Weissmies 4017 m (13179 ft) Pennine Alps

Karl Blodig was the first person to climb all the major four-thousand metre peaks, circa 1900.
Alps 67

Geology and orogeny

The Alps form a part of a Tertiary orogenic belt of mountain chains, called the Alpide belt, that stretches through
southern Europe and Asia from the Atlantic all the way to the Himalayas. This belt of mountain chains was formed
during the Alpine orogeny. A gap in these mountain chains in central Europe separates the Alps from the
Carpathians off to the east. Orogeny took place continuously and tectonic subsidence is to blame for the gaps in
The Alps arose as a result of the collision of the African and European
tectonic plates, in which the western part of the Tethys Ocean, which
was formerly in between these continents, disappeared. Enormous
stress was exerted on sediments of the Tethys Ocean basin and its
Mesozoic and early Cenozoic strata were pushed against the stable
Eurasian landmass by the northward-moving African landmass. Most
of this occurred during the Oligocene and Miocene epochs. The
pressure formed great recumbent folds, or nappes, that rose out of what
had become the Tethys Sea and pushed northward, often breaking and
The cristalline basement of the Mont Blanc
sliding one over the other to form gigantic thrust faults. Crystalline
basement rocks, which are exposed in the higher central regions, are
the rocks forming Mont Blanc, the Matterhorn, and high peaks in the
Pennine Alps and Hohe Tauern.

The formation of the Mediterranean Sea is a more recent development, and does not mark the northern shore of the
African landmass.

The Alps is split into five climate zones, each with a different kind of environment. The climate, plant life and
animal life vary on different sections or zones of the mountain.
1. The section of the Alps that is above 3,000 metres is called the névé
zone. This area, which has the coldest climate, is permanently
coated with compressed snow. That is why plants are scarce in the
névé zone.
2. The alpine zone lies between the height of 2,000 and 3,000 metres.
This zone is less cold than in the névé zone. Wildflowers and
grasses grow here.
3. Just below the alpine zone is the subalpine zone, 1,500 to 2,000
metres high. Forests of fir trees and spruce trees grow in the
Pine trees above the Aletsch Glacier, Valais
subalpine zone as the temperature slowly goes up.
4. At about 1,000 to 1,500 metres high is the arable zone. Millions of oak trees sprout in this area. This is also where
farming takes place.
5. Below 1,000 metres are the lowlands. Here, a larger variety of plants are produced. Aside from plants, villages
are also in the lowlands because the temperature is more bearable for both humans and animals.
The Alps is a classic example of what happens when a temperate area at lower altitude gives way to higher-elevation
terrain. Elevations around the world which have cold climates similar to those found in polar areas have been called
Alpine. A rise from sea level into the upper regions of the atmosphere causes the temperature to decrease (see
adiabatic lapse rate). The effect of mountain chains on prevailing winds is to carry warm air belonging to the lower
region into an upper zone, where it expands in volume at the cost of a proportionate loss of heat, often accompanied
by the precipitation in the form of snow or rain.
Alps 68

Political and cultural history

Little is known of the early dwellers of the Alps, save from scanty
accounts preserved by Roman and Greek historians and geographers. A
few details have come down to us of the conquest of many of the
Alpine tribes by Augustus. Also, recent research into Mitochondrial
DNA indicates that MtDNA Haplogroup K very likely originated in or
near the southeastern Alps approximately 12–15,000 years ago.

During the Second Punic War in 218 BC, the Carthaginian general
Hannibal successfully crossed the Alps along with an army numbering
38,000 infantry, 8,000 cavalry, and 37 war elephants.[5] This was one The Inn valley at Innsbruck, Tyrol
of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient
Much of the Alpine region was gradually settled by Germanic tribes (Langobards, Alemanni, Bavarii) from the 6th
to the 13th centuries, the latest expansion corresponding to the Walser migrations.
Not until after the final breakup of the Carolingian Empire in the 10th and 11th century can the local history of the
Alps be traced out.

The higher regions of the Alps were long left to the exclusive attention of the people of the adjoining valleys even
when Alpine travellers (as distinguished from Alpine climbers) began to visit these valleys. The two men who first
explored the regions of ice and snow were H.B. de Saussure (1740–1799) in the Pennine Alps and the Benedictine
monk of Disentis Placidus a Spescha (1752–1833), most of whose ascents were made before 1806 in the valleys at
the sources of the Rhine.

Travel and tourism

The Alps are popular both in summer and in winter as a destination for
sightseeing and sports. Winter sports (Alpine and Nordic skiing,
snowboarding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, ski tours) can be practised
in most regions from December to April. In summer, the Alps are
popular with hikers, mountain bikers, paragliders, mountaineers, while
many alpine lakes attract swimmers, sailors and surfers. The lower
regions and larger towns of the Alps are well served by motorways and
main roads, but higher passes and by-roads can be treacherous even in
Königssee, Bavaria
summer. Many passes are closed in winter. A multitude of airports
around the Alps (and some within), as well as long-distance rail links
from all neighbouring countries, afford large numbers of travellers easy access from abroad. The Alps typically see
more than 50 million visitors a year.
Alps 69

A natural vegetation limit with altitude is given by the presence of the chief deciduous trees—oak, beech, ash and
sycamore maple. These do not reach exactly to the same elevation, nor are they often found growing together; but
their upper limit corresponds accurately enough to the change from a temperate to a colder climate that is further
proved by a change in the presence of wild herbaceous vegetation. This limit usually lies about 1200 metres (3940 ft)
above the sea on the north side of the Alps, but on the southern slopes it often rises to 1500 metres (4920 ft),
sometimes even to 1700 metres (5580 ft).
This region is not always marked by the presence of the characteristic trees. Human interference has nearly
exterminated them in many areas, and, except for the beech forests of the Austrian Alps, forests of deciduous trees
are rarely found. In many districts where such woods once existed, they have been replaced by the Scots pine and
Norway spruce, which are less sensitive to the ravages of goats who are the worst enemies of such trees.
Above the forestry, there is often a band of short pine trees (Pinus mugo), which is in turn superseded by dwarf
shrubs, typically Rhododendron ferrugineum (on acid soils) or Rhododendron hirsutum (on alkaline soils). Above
this is the alpine meadow, and even higher, the vegetation becomes more and more sparse. At these higher altitudes,
the plants tend to form isolated cushions. In the Alps, several species of flowering plants have been recorded above
4000 metres (13120 ft), including Ranunculus glacialis, Androsace alpina and Saxifraga biflora.

mountain pine rusty-leaved Alpenrose Edelweiss stemless gentian

(Pinus mugo) (Rhododendron ferrugineum) (Leontopodium (Gentiana acaulis)

Alpine dwarf orchid Alpine pasque-flower Alpine rock-jasmine glacier buttercup

(Chamorchis alpina) (Pulsatilla alpina) (Androsace alpina) (Ranunculus
Alps 70

Species common to the Alps.

Alpine Apollo Butterfly Alpine Salamander Alpine Accentor Alpine Chough

Capercaillie Golden Eagle LagopusPtarmigan Tengmalm's


Alpine Ibex Alpine Marmot Chamois Mountain Hare

[1] "Mont Blanc shrinks by 45cm in two years" (http:/ / www. smh. com. au/ environment/
mont-blanc-shrinks-by-45cm-in-two-years-20091106-i0kk. html). The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 November 2009. .
[2] Frederic Mistral, Lou Tresor dóu Felibrige: "AUP, ALP: Alpe, haute montagne particulièrement propre à faire paître les troupeaux", high
mountain particularly suited for grazing herds.
[3] Jacob Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch, s.v. "Albe", "Alpe". The original meaning being "white" (in reference to the permanent snow. The term
may be common Italo-Celtic, since Celtic languages also have terms for high mountains derived from alp. German Alpen is the accusative in
origin, but was made the nominative in Modern German, whence also Alm.
[4] Excluding the Piz Zupò and Piz Roseg located in the Bernina range, close to Piz Bernina.
[5] Lancel, Serge, Hannibal, p. 71 (http:/ / books. google. com/ books?id=6uVh2FH-LF4C& printsec=frontcover& source=gbs_summary_r&
Alps 71

External links
• Satellite photo of the Alps (, taken
on 31 August 2005 by MODIS aboard Terra
• Artistic landscapes of the Western Alps (
• (Italian) Images from the Alps ( Many images from Alps, landscape, flowers and
• 360° Panoramic Views in Alps (
• A virtual visit of Western Alps with 360° panoramic images (
• A online picture collection of the Alps ( More than 2000 pictures of climbing,
backcountry skiing, hiking, landscape
• Photos ( - Italian Alps - Santa Catarina
• (English) Photos of alpin swiss landscapes and wildlife (Valais) (
• Discover wildlife of the Alps with 60 representative photos (
• Photos and paintings of the Alps (
• Official website of the Alpine Space Programme ( This EU co-funded programme
co-finances transnational projects in the Alpine region
• Official Alpine Convention website ( Convention between the alpine region
Carpathian Mountains 72

Carpathian Mountains

Inner Western Carpathians, High Tatras, Poland

Countries [1]
Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia

Highest point Gerlachovský štít

 - elevation 2655 m (8711 ft)

Satellite image of the Carpathians

The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly 1500 km (932 mi)
long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe (after the
Scandinavian Mountains, 1700 km (1056 mi)). They provide the habitat for the largest European populations of
brown bears, wolves, chamois and lynxes, with the highest concentration in Romania,[2] [3] [4] as well as over one
third of all European plant species.[5]
The Carpathians consist of a chain of mountain ranges that stretch in an arc from the Czech Republic (3%) in the
northwest through Slovakia (17%), Poland (10%), Hungary (4%) and Ukraine (11%) to Romania (53%) in the east
and on to the Iron Gates on the River Danube between Romania and Serbia (2%) in the south. The highest range
within the Carpathians is the Tatras, on the border of Poland and Slovakia, where the highest peaks exceed 2600 m
(8530 ft). The second-highest range is the Southern Carpathians in Romania, where the highest peaks exceed 2500 m
(8202 ft).
The Carpathians are usually divided into three major parts: the Western Carpathians (Czech Republic, Poland,
Slovakia), the Eastern Carpathians (southeastern Poland, eastern Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania), and the Southern
Carpathian Mountains 73

Carpathians (Romania, Serbia).[1]

The most important cities in or near the Carpathians are: Bratislava and Košice in Slovakia; Kraków in Poland;
Cluj-Napoca, Sibiu and Braşov in Romania; and Miskolc in Hungary.

The word "Carpathian" is derived from Thracian Greek
Καρπάτῆς όρος (Karpates oros), meaning "rocky
mountain",[6] probably via German Karpathen and Latin
Carpatus. Its earlier origins are unclear.[7]
The range is called Karpaty in Czech, Polish, Russian, Slovak
and Ukrainian, Karpaten in German and Dutch, Kárpátok in
Hungarian, Carpaţi in Romanian, and Karpati (Карпати) in
The name Karpates may ultimately be from the Proto
Indo-European root *sker-/*ker-, from which comes the
Albanian word karpë (rock), and the Slavic word skála (rock, Hoverla in Ukraine.

cliff), perhaps via a Dacian cognate which meant mountain,

rock, or rugged (cf. Germanic root *skerp-, Old Norse harfr "harrow", Middle Low German scharf "potsherd", Old
English scearp and English sharp, Lithuanian kar~pas "cut, hack, notch", Latvian cìrpt "to shear, clip"). The archaic
Polish word karpa meant "rugged irregularities, underwater obstacles/rocks, rugged roots or trunks". The more
common word skarpa means a sharp cliff or other vertical terrain. Otherwise, the name may instead come from
Indo-European *kwerp "to turn", akin to Old English hweorfan "to turn, change" (English warp) and Greek καρπός
karpós "wrist", perhaps referring to the way the mountain range bends or veers in an L-shape.[8] Also car means
"king" and pati "road" so carpati is possibly the king's way.

In late Roman documents, the Eastern Carpathian Mountains were referred to as Montes Sarmatici. The Western
Carpathians were called Carpates, a name that is first recorded in Ptolemy's second century book Geographia.
Around 310 AD, Licinius referred to the Carpathians as Montes Serrorum.
The name of the Carpi, a Dacian tribe, may have been derived from the name of the Carpathian Mountains.
According to Zosimus, this tribe lived until 381 on the eastern Carpathian slopes. Alternatively the mountain range's
name may be derived from the Dacian tribe.
13th-15th century Hungarian documents named the mountains Thorchal, Tarczal or less frequently Montes Nivium.
In the Scandinavian Hervarar saga, which describes ancient Germanic legends about battles between Goths and
Huns, the name Karpates appears in the predictable Germanic form as Harvaða fjöllum (see Grimm's law).
Carpathian Mountains 74

The Carpathians begin on the Danube near Bratislava. They
surround Transcarpathia and Transylvania in a large
semicircle, sweeping towards the southeast, and end on the
Danube near Orşova in Romania. The total length of the
Carpathians is over 1500 km (932 mi) and the mountain
chain's width varies between 12 and 500 km (7 and 311 mi).
The highest altitudes of the Carpathians occur where they are
widest. The system attains its greatest breadth in the
Transylvanian plateau and in the meridian of the Tatra group
– the highest range, in which Gerlachovský štít in Slovakia is
the highest peak at 2655 m (8711 ft) above sea level. The
Lake Bucura, Southern Carpathians, Romania.
Carpathians cover an area of 190000 km2 (73359 sq mi) and,
after the Alps, form the next most extensive mountain system
in Europe.

Although commonly referred to as a mountain chain, the Carpathians do not actually form an uninterrupted chain of
mountains. Rather, they consist of several orographically and geologically distinctive groups, presenting as great a
structural variety as the Alps. The Carpathians, which attain an altitude of over 2500 m (8202 ft) in only a few
places, lack the bold peaks, extensive snowfields, large glaciers, high waterfalls, and numerous large lakes that are
common in the Alps. No area of the Carpathian range is covered in snow all year round and there are no glaciers.
The Carpathians at their highest altitude are only as high as the middle region of the Alps, with which they share a
common appearance, climate, and flora.

The Carpathians are separated from the Alps by the Danube. The two ranges meet at only one point: the Leitha
Mountains at Bratislava. The river also separates them from the Balkan Mountains at Orşova in Romania. The valley
of the March and Oder separates the Carpathians from the Silesian and Moravian chains, which belong to the middle
wing of the great Central Mountain System of Europe. Unlike the other wings of the system, the Carpathians, which
form the watershed between the northern seas and the Black Sea, are surrounded on all sides by plains, namely the
Pannonian plain to the southwest, the plain of the Lower Danube (Romania) to the south, and the Galician plain to
the northeast.

Cities and towns

Important cities and towns in or near the Carpathians are, in
approximate descending order of population: Bratislava (Slovakia),
Cluj-Napoca (Romania), Braşov (Romania), Košice (Slovakia), Oradea
(Romania), Miskolc (Hungary), Sibiu (Romania), Târgu Mureş
(Romania), Baia Mare (Romania), Tarnów (Poland), Râmnicu Vâlcea
(Romania), Uzhhorod (Ukraine), Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine), Piatra
Neamţ (Romania), Suceava (Romania), Drobeta-Turnu Severin
(Romania), Reşiţa (Romania), Žilina (Slovakia), Bistriţa (Romania),
Banská Bystrica (Slovakia), Deva (Romania), Zlín (Czech Republic),
Cheile Turzii near Cluj (Romania)
Hunedoara (Romania), Zalău (Romania), Przemyśl (Poland), Alba
Iulia (Romania), Zaječar (Serbia), Sfântu Gheorghe (Romania), Turda
(Romania), Bor (Serbia), Mediaş (Romania), Poprad (Slovakia), Petroşani (Romania), Negotin (Serbia), Miercurea

Ciuc (Romania), Făgăraş (Romania), Odorheiu Secuiesc (Romania), Petrila (Romania), Sighişoara (Romania),
Zakopane (Poland), Câmpulung Moldovenesc (Romania), Gheorgheni (Romania), Vatra Dornei (Romania) and
Carpathian Mountains 75

Rakhiv (Ukraine).

Mountain passes
In the Romanian part of the main chain of the Carpathians, the most important mountain passes are (starting from the
Ukrainian border): the Prislop Pass, Rodna Pass, Tihuţa Pass (also known as Borgo Pass), Tulgheş Pass, Bicaz Pass,
Ghimeş Pass, Uz Pass and Oituz Pass, Buzău Pass, Predeal Pass (crossed by the railway from Braşov to Bucharest),
Turnu Roşu Pass (1,115 ft., running through the narrow gorge of the Olt River and crossed by the railway from Sibiu
to Bucharest), Vulcan Pass, Teregova Pass and the Iron Gate (both crossed by the railway from Timişoara to

The area now occupied by the Carpathians was once occupied by smaller ocean basins. The Carpathian mountains
were formed during the Alpine orogeny in the Mesozoic[9] and Tertiary by moving the ALCAPA, Tisza and Dacia
plates over subducting oceanic crust (see maps [10]).[11] The mountains take the form of a fold and thrust belt with
generally north vergence in the western segment, northeast to east vergence in the eastern portion and southeast
vergence in the southern portion.
The external, generally northern, portion of the orogenic belt is a Tertiary accretionary prism of a so called Flysch
belt created by rocks scraped off the sea bottom and thrust over the North-European plate. The Carpathian
accretionary wedge is made of several thin skinned nappes composed of Cretaceous to Paleogene turbidites.
Thrusting of the Flysch nappes over the Carpathian foreland caused the formation of the Carpathian foreland
basin.[12] The boundary between the Flysch belt and internal zones of the orogenic belt in the western segment of the
mountain range is marked by the Pieniny Klippen Belt, a narrow complicated zone of polyphase compressional
deformation, later involved in a supposed strike-slip zone.[13] Internal zones in western and eastern segments contain
older Variscan igneous massifs reworked in Mesozoic thick and thin-skinned nappes. During the Middle Miocene
this zone was affected by intensive calc-alkaline[14] arc volcanism that developed over the subduction zone of the
flysch basins. At the same time, the internal zones of the orogenic belt were affected by large extensional
structure[15] of the back-arc Pannonian Basin.[16]
Iron, gold and silver were found in great quantities in the Western Carpathians. After the Roman emperor Trajan's
conquest of Dacia, he brought back to Rome over 165 tons of gold and 330 tons of silver.[17]
Carpathian Mountains 76

Divisions of the Carpathians

The largest range is the Tatras.
A major part of the western and northeastern
Outer Carpathians in Poland, Ukraine and
Slovakia is traditionally called the Beskids.
The geological border between the Western
and Eastern Carpathians runs approximately
along the line (south to north) between the
towns of Michalovce, Bardejov, Nowy Sącz
and Tarnów. In older systems the border
runs more in the east, along the line (north
to south) along the rivers San and Osława
(Poland), the town of Snina (Slovakia) and
river Tur'ia (Ukraine). Biologists, however,
shift the border even further to the east.

The border between the eastern and southern

Carpathians is formed by the Predeal Pass,
Map of the main divisions of the Carpathians.
south of Braşov and the Prahova Valley.
1. Outer Western Carpathians
Ukrainians sometimes denote as "Eastern 2. Inner Western Carpathians
3. Outer Eastern Carpathians
Carpathians" only the Ukrainian
4. Inner Eastern Carpathians
Carpathians (or Wooded Carpathians), 5. Southern Carpathians
meaning the part situated largely on their 6. Western Romanian Carpathians
territory (i.e., to the north of the Prislop 7. Transylvanian Plateau
8. Serbian Carpathians
Pass), while Romanians sometimes denote
as "Eastern Carpathians" only the part which
lies on their territory (i.e., from the Ukrainian border or from the Prislop Pass to the south), which they subdivide
into three simplified geographical groups (north, center, south), instead of Outer and Inner Eastern Carpathians.
These are:

• Carpathians of Maramureş and Bukovina (Romanian: Carpaţii Maramureşului şi ai Bucovinei)

• Moldavian-Transylvanian Carpathians (Romanian: Carpaţii Moldo-Transilvani)
• Curvature Carpathians (Romanian: Carpaţii Curburii, Carpaţii de Curbură)

Notable people
• Ludwig Greiner, identified Gerlachovský Peak as the highest mountain in the Carpathians.

[1] About the Carpathians - Carpathian Heritage Society (http:/ / www. carpathians. pl/ carpathians01. html)
[2] Peter Christoph Sürth. "Braunbären (Ursus arctos) in Europa" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20071008020531/ http:/ / www.
human-wildlife. info/ images/ Europa+ Baer. JPG). . Retrieved 10 March 2011.
[3] Peter Christoph Sürth. "Wolf (Canis lupus) in Europa" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20071008020550/ http:/ / www. human-wildlife. info/
images/ Europa+ Wolf. JPG). . Retrieved 10 March 2011.
[4] Peter Christoph Sürth. "Eurasischer Luchs (Lynx lynx) in Europa" (http:/ / web. archive. org/ web/ 20071008020605/ http:/ / www.
human-wildlife. info/ images/ Europa+ Luchs. JPG). . Retrieved 10 March 2011.
[5] "Carpathian montane conifer forests - Encyclopedia of Earth" (http:/ / www. eoearth. org/ article/ Carpathian_montane_conifer_forests). .
Retrieved 4 August 2010.
Carpathian Mountains 77

[6] Douglas Harper. "Carpathian" (http:/ / www. etymonline. com/ index. php?term=Carpathian). Online Etymology Dictionary. . Retrieved 10
March 2011.
[7] "Carpathian, adj.2 and n." (http:/ / www. oed. com/ view/ Entry/ 28168?rskey=4pMAFG& result=2#). Oxford English Dictionary. . Retrieved
10 March 2011.
[8] Room, Adrian. Placenames of the World. London: MacFarland and Co., Inc., 1997.
[9] Plašienka, D., 2002, Origin and growth of the Western Carpathian orogenetic wedge during the mesozoic. (http:/ / www. geologicacarpathica.
sk/ special/ P/ Plasienka. pdf) (PDF) in Geologica Carpathica Special Issues 53 Proceedings of XVII. Congress of Carpathian-Balkan
Geological Association Bratislava, September 1st - 4th 2002
[10] http:/ / books. google. co. uk/ books?id=rCzu3YsGshAC& lpg=PA18& dq=alcapa%20tisza& pg=PA18#v=onepage& q& f=false
[11] Mantovani, E., Viti, M., Babbucci, D., Tamburelli, C., Albarello, D., 2006, Geodynamic connection between the indentation of Arabia and
the Neogene tectonics of the central–eastern Mediterranean region. GSA Special Papers, v. 409, p. 15-41
[12] Nehyba, S., Šikula, J., 2007, Depositional architecture, sequence stratigraphy and geodynamic development of the Carpathian Foredeep
(Czech Republic). Geologica Carpathica, 58, 1, pp. 53-69
[13] Mišík, M., 1997, The Slovak Part of the Pieniny Klippen Belt After the Pioneering Works of D. Andrusov. Geologica Carpathica, 48, 4, pp.
[14] Pácskay, Z., Lexa, J., Szákacs, A., 2006, Geochronology of Neogene magmatism in the Carpathian arc and intra-Carpathian area.
Geologica Carpathica, 57, 6, pp. 511 - 530
[15] Dolton, G.L., 2006, Pannonian Basin Province, Central Europe (Province 4808)—Petroleum geology, total petroleum systems, and
petroleum resource assessment. U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 2204–B, 47 p.
[16] Royden, L.H., Horváth, F., Rumpler, J., 1983, Evolution of the Pannonian basin system. 1. Tectionics. Tectonics, 2, pp. 61-90
[17] "Dacia-Province of the Roman Empire" (http:/ / www. unrv. com/ province/ dacia. php). United Nations of Roma Victor. . Retrieved

External links
• The Framework Convention for the Protection and Sustainable Development of the Carpathians (http://www.
• Pictures and images from the Romanian Carpathians (
• Orographic map highlighting Carpathian mountains (
• Alpinet - Romanian mountain guide (
• - Romanian mountain guide (
Pyrenees 78

Spanish: Pirineos, Pirineo
French: Pyrénées
Catalan: Pirineus
Occitan: Pirenèus
Aragonese: Perinés
Basque: Pirinioak, Auñamendiak


Central Pyrenees

Named for: Pyrene

Highest point Aneto

 - elevation 3404 m (11168 ft)

 - coordinates 42°37′56″N 00°39′28″E

Geology granite, gneiss, limestone

Period Paleozoic, Mesozoic

Topographic map (in Spanish)

The Pyrenees (also spelled Pyrenées, pronounced /ˈpɪərɨniːz/; Spanish: Pirineos or Pirineo; French: Pyrénées,
IPA: [piʁene]; Catalan: Pirineus, IPA: [piɾiˈnɛws]; Occitan: Pirenèus; Aragonese: Perinés; Basque: Pirinioak or
Auñamendiak) is a range of mountains in southwest Europe that forms a natural border between France and Spain.
It separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 491 km (305 mi) from
the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer) to the Mediterranean Sea (Cap de Creus).
For the most part, the main crest forms a massive divider between France and Spain, with the tiny country of
Andorra sandwiched in between. Catalonia and Navarre have historically extended on both sides of the mountain
range, with small northern portions in France and much larger southern parts in Spain.[1] [2]
Pyrenees 79

In classical mythology, Pyrene is a princess who gave her name to the Pyrenees. The Greek historian Herodotus says
Pyrene is the name of a town in Celtic Europe.[3] According to Silius Italicus,[4] she was the virginal daughter of
Bebryx, a king in Mediterranean Gaul by whom the hero Hercules was given hospitality during his quest to steal the
cattle of Geryon[5] during his famous Labors. Hercules, characteristically drunk and lustful, violates the sacred code
of hospitality and rapes his host's daughter. Pyrene gives birth to a serpent and runs away to the woods, afraid that
her father will be angry. Alone, she pours out her story to the trees, attracting the attention instead of wild beasts who
tear her to pieces.
After his victory over Geryon, Hercules passes through the kingdom of Bebryx again, finding the girl's lacerated
remains. As is often the case in stories of this hero, the sober Hercules responds with heartbroken grief and remorse
at the actions of his darker self, and lays Pyrene to rest tenderly, demanding that the surrounding geography join in
mourning and preserve her name:[6] "struck by Herculean voice, the mountaintops shudder at the ridges; he kept
crying out with a sorrowful noise 'Pyrene!' and all the rock-cliffs and wild-beast haunts echo back 'Pyrene!' … The
mountains hold on to the wept-over name through the ages." Pliny the Elder connects the story of Hercules and
Pyrene to Lusitania, but rejects it as fabulosa, highly fictional.[7]

The Spanish Pyrenees are part of the following provinces, from east to west: Girona, Barcelona, Lleida, Huesca,
Navarra, and Guipúzcoa.
The French Pyrenees are also part of the following départements, from east to west: Pyrénées-Orientales, Aude,
Ariège, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, and Pyrénées-Atlantiques (the latter two of which include Pyrenees
National Park).
The independent principality of Andorra is sandwiched in the eastern portion of the mountain range between the
Spanish Pyrenees and French Pyrenees.

Composite satellite image of the Pyrenees


Physiograpically, the Pyrenees are typically divided into three sections: the Atlantic (or Western), the Central, and
the Eastern Pyrenees. Together, they form a distinct physiographic province of the larger Alpine System division.
The Central Pyrenees extend westward from the Aran Valley to
the Somport pass, and they include the highest summits of this
• Pico d'Aneto or Pic de Néthou 3404 metres (11168 ft) in the
Maladeta ridge,
• Posets peak 3375 metres (11073 ft),
• Mont Perdu or Monte Perdido 3355 metres (11007 ft).
In the Western Pyrenees, the average elevation gradually increases
from the west to the east, from the Basque mountains near the Bay
of Biscay of the Atlantic Ocean. In the Eastern Pyrenees, with the Pico del Aneto, the highest mountain of the Pyrenees.
Pyrenees 80

exception of one break at the eastern extremity of the Pyrénées

ariégeoises, the mean elevation is remarkably uniform until a
sudden decline occurs in the easternmost portion of the chain
known as the Albères.

The Pyrenees are older than the Alps: their sediments were first
deposited in coastal basins during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic
eras. Between 100 and 150 million years ago, during the Lower
Pic de Bugatet in the Néouvielle massif
Cretaceous period, the Bay of Biscay fanned out, pushing
present-day Spain against France and putting large layers of
sediment in a vise grip. The intense pressure and uplifting of the
Earth's crust first affected the eastern part and stretched
progressively to the entire chain, culminating in the Eocene epoch.

The eastern part of the Pyrenees consists largely of granite and

gneissose rocks, while in the western part the granite peaks are
flanked by layers of limestone. The massive and unworn character
of the chain comes from its abundance of granite, which is
Vallée de Barétous and piedmont plain (western
particularly resistant to erosion, as well as weak glacial Pyrénées)

Conspicuous features of Pyrenean scenery are:
• the absence of great lakes, such as those that fill the lateral
valleys of the Alps
• the rarity and great elevation of passes
• the large number of the mountain torrents locally called gaves,
which often form lofty waterfalls, surpassed in Europe only by
those of Scandinavia
• the frequency with which the upper end of a valley assumes the San Maurici lake in the Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant
Maurici National Park
form of a semicircle of precipitous cliffs, called a cirque.
The highest waterfall is Gavarnie (462 m or 1,515 ft), at the head
of the Gave de Pau; the Cirque de Gavarnie, in the same valley, together with the nearby Cirque de Troumouse and
Cirque d'Estaubé are notable examples of the cirque formation. Low passes are lacking, and the principal roads and
the railroads between France and Spain run only in the lowlands at the western and eastern ends of the Pyrenees,
near sea level. Between the two ends of the range, the only passes worth mentioning are the Col de la Perche,
between the valley of the Têt and the valley of the Segre, the Port d'Envalira, the highest mountain pass in the
Pyrenees and one of the highest points of the European road network, and the Col de Somport or Port de Canfranc,
where there were old Roman roads, but apparently, no modern highways.

A notable visual feature of this mountain range is La Brèche de Roland, a gap in the ridge line, which - according to
legend - was created by Roland.
Pyrenees 81

Natural resources
The metallic ores of the Pyrenees are not in general of much importance now, though there were iron mines at
several locations in Andorra, as well as at Vie de Sos in Ariège, and the foot of Canigou in Pyrénées-Orientales long
ago. Coal deposits capable of being profitably worked are situated chiefly on the Spanish slopes, but the French side
has beds of lignite. The open pit of Trimoun (Ariège) is one of the greatest sources of talc in Europe.
Mineral springs are abundant and remarkable, and especially noteworthy are the hot springs, of which the Alps are
very deficient. The hot springs, among which those of Les Escaldes in Andorra, Ax-les-Thermes, Panticosa, Lles,
Bagnères-de-Luchon and Eaux-Chaudes in France may be mentioned, are sulphurous and mostly situated high, near
the contact of the granite with the stratified rocks. The lower springs, such as those of Bagnères-de-Bigorre
(Hautes-Pyrénées), Rennes-les-Bains (Aude) and Campagne-sur-Aude (Aude), are mostly selenitic and not very

The amount of the precipitation the range receives, including rain and snow, is much greater in the western than in
the eastern Pyrenees, because of the moist air that blows in from the Atlantic Ocean over the Bay of Biscay. After
dropping its moisture over the western and central Pyrenees, the air is usually dry over the eastern Pyrenees. The
winter average temperature is -2 C (28.4 Fahrenheit).
Sections of the mountain range vary in more than one respect. Some glaciers are found in the western and especially
the snowy central Pyrenees, but the eastern Pyrenees are without any glaciers - with the quantity of snow falling
there being insufficient to cause their development. The glaciers are confined to the northern slopes of the central
Pyrenees, and do not descend, like those of the Alps, far down into the valleys, but have their greatest lengths along
the direction of the mountain chain. They form, in fact, in a narrow zone near the crest of the highest mountains.
Here, as in the other great mountain ranges of central Europe, there is great evidence of a much wider extension of
the glaciers during the Ice Ages. The case of the glacier in the valley of Argeles Gazost, between Lourdes and
Gavarnie, in the département of Hautes-Pyrénées is the best-known instance.
The snow-line varies in different parts of the Pyrenees from about 2,700 to 2,800 metres above sea level.

Flora and fauna

A still more marked effect of the preponderance of rainfall in the
western half of the chain is seen in the vegetation. The lower
mountains in the extreme west are wooded, but the extent of forest
declines eastwards, and the eastern Pyrenees are peculiarly wild
and barren, all the more since it is in this part of the chain that
granitic masses prevail. There is a change, moreover, in the
composition of the flora in passing from west to east. In the west
the flora resembles that of central Europe, while in the east it is
distinctly Mediterranean in character, though the difference of
latitude is only about 1°, on both sides of the chain from the centre
whence the Corbières stretch north-eastwards towards the central A mountain stream

plateau of France. The Pyrenees are relatively as rich in endemic

species as the Alps, and among the most remarkable instances of that endemism is the occurrence of the monotypic
genus Xatardia (family Apiaceae), only on a high alpine pass between the Val d'Eynes and Catalonia. The genus
most abundantly represented in the range is that of the saxifrages, several species of which are endemic here.
Pyrenees 82

The Pyrenean Ibex mysteriously became extinct in January 2000; the native Pyrenean brown bear was hunted to
near-extinction in the 1990s, but it was re-introduced in 1996 when three bears were brought from Slovenia. The
bear population has bred successfully, and there are now believed to be about 15 brown bears in the central region
around Fos, but only four native ones are still living in Aspe valley.
In their fauna the Pyrenees present some striking instances of endemism. The Pyrenean Desman is found only in
some of the streams of the northern slopes of these mountains, but the only other member of this genus are confined
to the rivers of the Caucasus in southern Russia. The Pyrenean euprocte (Euproctus pyrenaicus), an endemic relative
of the salamander, also lives in streams and lakes located at high altitudes. Among the other peculiarities of the
Pyrenean fauna are blind insects in the caverns of Ariège, the principal genera of which are Anophthalmus and

Protected areas
Principal nature reserves and national parks:
• Aigüestortes i Estany de Sant Maurici National Park (Spain)
• Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park (Spain)
• Pyrénées National Park (France)

Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park, Spain

Demographics and culture

The Pyrenean region possesses a varied ethnology, folklore and
history: see Andorra; Aragon; Ariege; Basque Country; Béarn;
Catalonia; Navarre; Roussillon. For their history, see also Almogavars,
Marca Hispanica.
The principal languages spoken in the area are Spanish, French,
Catalan (in Catalonia and Andorra), Basque, and Aragonese . Also
spoken, to a lesser degree, are the Occitan language (the Gascon and
Languedocien dialects in France and the Aranese dialect in the Aran
Some Blonde d'Aquitaine on summer pasture
Valley). near the Pic du Midi d'Ossau.

Sports and leisure

Both sides of the Pyrenees are popular spots for winter sports such as alpine skiing and mountaineering. The
Pyrenees are also a good place for European and North African athletes to do high-altitude training in the
summertime, such as by bicycling and cross-country running.
In the summer and the autumn, the Pyrenees are usually featured in two of cycling's epic grand tours, the Tour de
France held annually in July and the Vuelta a España held in September. The stages held in the Pyrenees are often
crucial legs of both tours, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the region, too.
Three main long-distance footpaths run the length of the mountain range; the GR 10 across the northern slopes, the
GR 11 across the southern slopes, and the HRP which traverses peaks and ridges along a high altitude route. In
Pyrenees 83

addition, there are numerous marked and unmarked trails throughout the region.
Pirena is a dog-mushing competition held in the Pyrenees.

Ski resorts
Ski resorts in the Pyrenees include:

Formigal (Spain), one of the major ski resorts

• Alp 2500 (Spain) • Espot Esquí (Spain) • Nistos cap nestes (France)
• Arette (France) • Font-Romeu (France) • Panticosa-Los Lagos (Spain)
• Astún (Spain) • Formigal (Spain) • Pas de la Casa (Andorra)
• Artouste (France) [8]
(France) • Peyragudes (France)
• Gavarnie Gèdre
• Ax-les-Thermes (France) • Gourette (France) • Piau-Engaly (France)
• Baqueira-Beret (Spain) • Guzet-neige (France) • Port Ainé (Spain)
• Boí Taüll Resort (Spain) • Hautacam (France) • Port del Comte (Spain)
• Bareges-La Mongie (Tourmalet) (France) • La Molina (Spain) • Somport (France-Spain)
• Luz Ardiden (France) • La Pierre Saint Martin • Soldeu / El Tarter (Andorra)
• Bourg-d'Oueil (France) • Le Mourtis (France) • Superbagnères (France)
• Cauterets (France) • Les Angles (France) • Tavascan (Spain)
• Candanchú (Spain) • Luchon-Superbagnères • Vall de Núria (Spain)
• Cerler (Spain) • Luz-Ardiden (France) • Vallnord (Andorra)
• Vallter 2000 (Spain)
Pyrenees 84

Highest summits

Monte Perdido

• Aneto (3,404 m) • Pic Badet (3,160 m) • Grand pic d' Astazou (3,077 m)
• Posets (3,375 m) • Pic du Balaïtous (3,144 m) • Épaule du Marboré (3,073 m)
• Monte Perdido (3,355 m) • Pic du Taillon (3,144 m) • Pic du port de Sullo (3,072 m)
• Pic Maudit (3,350 m) • Pica d'Estats (3,143 m) • Pic des Spijeoles (3,066 m)
• Cilindro de Marboré (3,328 m) • Punta del Sabre (3,136 m) • Pic de Quayrat (3,060 m)
• Pic de la Maladeta (3,308 m) • Pic de la Munia (3,134 m) • Pico Argualas (3,046 m)
• Vignemale (Pique Longue) (3,298 m) • Pointe de Literole (3,132 m) • Pic des Trois Conseillers (3,039 m)
• Clot de la Hount (3,289 m) • Pic des Gourgs Blancs (3,129 m) • Turon de Néouvielle (3,035 m)
• Soum de Ramond (3,263 m) • Pic de Royo (3,121 m) • Pic de Batoua (3,034 m)
• Pic du Marboré (3,248 m) • Pic des Crabioules (3,116 m) • Petit Vignemale (3,032 m)
• Pic de Cerbillona (3,247 m) • Pic de Maupas (3,109 m) • Pic de Besiberri Sud (3,017 m)
• Pic de Perdiguère (3,222 m) • Pic Lézat (3,107 m) • Pic Ramougn (3,011 m)
• Pic de Montferrat (3,220 m) • Pic de la cascade occidental (3,095 m) • Tour du Marboré (3,009 m)
• Pic Long (3,192 m) • Pic de Néouvielle (3,091 m) • Casque du Marboré (3,006 m)
• Pic Schrader (Grand Batchimale) (3,177 m) • Pic de Troumouse (3,085 m) • Grande Fache (3,005 m)
• Pic de Campbieil (3,173 m) • Pics d'Enfer (3,082 m)
• Pic de la cascade orientale (3,161 m) • Pic de Montcalm (3,077 m)
Pyrenees 85

Notable summits below 3,000 metres

Pic du Midi d'Ossau reflected in the lac Gentau

• Pic de Palas (2,974 m) • Mont Valier (2,838 m) • Hiru Erregeen Mahaia (2,428 m)
• Pic de Comapedrosa (2,942 m) - highest point of Andorra • Petit Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,812 m) • Grande Aiguille d'Ansabère (2,376 m)
• Pic Carlit (2,921 m) • Pic du Canigou (2,786 m) • Pic du Soularac (2,368 m)
• Puigmal (2,913 m) • Peña Telera (2,764 m) [9]
• Cap de la cometa delforn (2,691 m)
• Pic de Sanfonts (2,894 m) • Casamanya (2,740 m) • Pic du Saint Barthélémy (2,348 m)
• Pic d'Envalira (2,827 m) • Pic del Port Vell (2,655 m) • Pic des Trois Seigneurs (2,199 m)
• Collarada (2,886 m) • Pic dels Aspres (2,562 m) • Pic d'Orhy (2,017 m)
• Pic du Midi d'Ossau (2,885 m) • Pedraforca (2,506 m) • Urkulu (1,419 m)
• Pic du Midi de Bigorre (2,876 m) • Pic d'Anie (2,504 m) • Larrun (905 m)
• Pic de Pedraforca (2,498 m)
• Pic de Madrès (2,469 m)


• Paegelow, Claus (2008) (in German, English). Pyrenäen Bibliografie. Andorra, spanische & französische
Pyrenäen, Pyrenees Bibliography. Andorra, Spain & French Pyrenees. Verlag Claus Paegelow.
ISBN 978-3-00-023936-6.
 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed (1911).
Encyclopædia Britannica (Eleventh ed.). Cambridge University Press.

[1] Preamble of the "Charter of the Catalan Language" (http:/ / www. cg66. fr/ culture/ patrimoine_catalanite/ catalanite/ charte_catalan. pdf)
[2] Collins Road Atlas of Europe. London: Harper Collins. 1995. pp. 28–29. ISBN 0-00-448148-8.
[3] Herodotus, Histories 2.33. (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Hdt. 2. 33& lang=original)
[4] Silius Italicus, Punica 3.415–441.
[5] Although Geryon was usually located in the mythical west of the setting sun, he was also associated with Iberia; according to Strabo, his
triple-body was preserved at Cadiz in the form of a tree.
[6] Ben Tipping, Exemplary Epic: Silius Italicus' Punica (Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 20–21 online. (http:/ / books. google. com/
books?id=d7asVuCBugAC& pg=PA20& dq=pyrene+ geryon& lr=& as_drrb_is=q& as_minm_is=0& as_miny_is=& as_maxm_is=0&
as_maxy_is=& num=100& as_brr=3& cd=5#v=onepage& q=pyrene geryon& f=false)
[7] Pliny the Elder, Natural History 3.3. (http:/ / www. perseus. tufts. edu/ hopper/ text?doc=Perseus:text:1999. 02. 0137:book=3:chapter=3&
[8] Pays Toy Ski Resort (http:/ / pistehors. com/ backcountry/ wiki/ Ski-Areas/ Pays-Toy;)
[9] 1 of 3 triology summits (http:/ / pistehors. com/ backcountry/ wiki/ Pyrenees/ Cap-De-La-Cometa-Del-Forn;)
Pyrenees 86

External links
• (English) Official website ( of France's Pyrenees National
• Bardenas Reales desert (Spain Pyrenees desert) (
• Great Routes: Pirineos ( Rutas/Recorridos/Rutas/0/
Pirineos?language=en), from a website of the Instituto de Turismo de España
• Glaciers of the Spanish Pyrenees (
Article Sources and Contributors 87

Article Sources and Contributors

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Struthious Bandersnatch, Svetovid, Symane, THEN WHO WAS PHONE?, Talrias, Tellyaddict, Tempiss-moss, Template namespace initialisation script, Tequendamia, The High Fin Sperm
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Appalachian Mountains  Source:  Contributors: 21655, 28bytes, A. B., Access Denied, Acdixon, Adam Keller, Adashiel, Afgreif,
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Article Sources and Contributors 89

H Debussy-Jones, HOODS8167, Hadal, HappyCamper, Hashar, Hasty Fool, Hayden120, HeBB, HenryLi, Hephaestos, Hereforhomework, Hereitisthen, Hide&Reason, HighKing,
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Carpathian Mountains  Source:  Contributors: 7, AHands, Adrobnych, Ajdebre, Ajh1492, Alansohn, Aleksandr Grigoryev, Alex '05,
Alex earlier account, Alex756, Alex:D, Altenmann, Amorphisman, Andriy803, Andriygreen, Androsyn, Arwync, Ascura, Atitarev, Attilios, Avatarion, Aycan, Berig, Biruitorul, Bjh21,
BjornVDM, Bobblehead, Bogdangiusca, Bomac, Bred, Bryan Derksen, Bugen4, Burghiu, CPES, Caeruleancentaur, CalicoCatLover, Carca220nne, Cavan, Chris Capoccia, Ckatz, CliffC,
Complex01, Cr7i, Criztu, Dan Secrest, Danim2, Darrowco, Darwinek, Dawidbernard, Dc76, DerHexer, Detelina13nn, Dgrant, Doe, Jon, Drilnoth, Dungodung, ES Vic, Eddierubeiz, El C,
Emarke, Emax, Enaidmawr, Erdeniss, Ev, FDominec, FJPB, Falconfly, Flewis, Flibjib8, Flowerpotman, Frokor, Furor1, Gabriel Kielland, Gaius Cornelius, GateKeeper, Geof, GeorgeMoney,
Glebchik, Gracenotes, GreatWhiteNortherner, Gurch, Halibutt, Halogenated, Hede2000, Highpriority, Hmains, Hottentot, Husond, ITSENJOYABLE, Ida Shaw, Ilmari Karonen, J heisenberg,
JALockhart, JRWalko, Jan.Kamenicek, Janosadam, Jguk 2, Jjensen1, John Quincy Adding Machine, Jonny5244, Joseaperez, Joy, Jtravise, Juro, Khoikhoi, Kkrystian, Kneazles, Korenyuk,
LUCPOL, Larineso, Liftarn, LilHelpa, Lille124, Linnell, Magioladitis, Mailer diablo, Marcin Robert, Marek69, Mario1952, Markussep, Mejor Los Indios, Mel Etitis, Mihai, Mitsuhirato, Mlefter,
Mycomp, Mzajac, Nadim.alex, Nasz, NatureA16, Naufana, NeroN BG, Nico, Ninja neko, Olahus, Olessi, Olivier, One, Orioane, Ostap R, Oxymoron83, Palffy, Pavel Vozenilek, Pawcio, Pelex,
Piano non troppo, Pietro, Portillo, Qertis, R'n'B, RJHall, RJaguar3, Random user 8384993, RayKiddy, Razvanus, RedWolf, Res2216firestar, Reywas92, Rholton, Rich Farmbrough, Rjwilmsi,
RonRodex, Rrburke, Sanjivdinakar, Sannse, Sardanaphalus, SchuminWeb, Selma Kaufmann, Sesesq, Silar, Sionus, Skrtzi, Someone else, Squashy, Stan Shebs, Stemonitis, Stevenmitchell, Stfg,
Svetovid, THeggie, TaintedMustard, Taw, Thingg, Tide rolls, TimR, Turgidson, Tzaquiel, Unvanquished, Vassili Nikolaev, Vdegroot, Vladimir Drzik, VmoSW, Vsmith, Wayiran, Wbfergus,
West.andrew.g, Wiglaf, Wikitiki89, Xme, YellowFF0, Yyy, Zmjezhd, Zundark, Білецький В.С., ‫ينام‬, 262 anonymous edits

Pyrenees  Source:  Contributors: 16@r, 7, A8UDI, AdderGuyInnit, AdjustShift, Ahoerstemeier, Alai, Alexblainelayder, Alexgregbiba,
Allmightyduck, Anaxial, Andre Engels, AndreasJS, Angela, Animum, Anna Frodesiak, Aubadaurada, Autodidactyl, Avatarion, Avenue, BBrox, Beetstra, Bjmspangler, Blaven, Bobblewik,
Bobo192, Boffob, Borderer, Brinerustle, Bryan Derksen, C. A. Russell, CWii,, Calvin 1998, Camerong, CanadianLinuxUser, Caramba13, Carina22, Catgut, Cbradshaw, Cdang,
Charles Matthews, Chienlit, Ckatz, Closedmouth, CommonsDelinker, Conversion script, CortezFL, Cotterstock, Cserlajos, Cynwolfe, D6, DARTH SIDIOUS 2, DJ Clayworth, Daarznieks, Dale
Arnett, Damian Yerrick, Dan100, Darwinek, Davicito, David Edgar, Dbachmann, Dcooper, DeadEyeArrow, Deibid, Deor, Discospinster, Donoftheoafs, Drmies, Dudesleeper, Eboracum, Ed
Fitzgerald, El C, El Caro, Eleassar, EmirA, Emmajc, Enspecky, Ericoides, Erintiransom, Everyking, FDV, Farosdaughter, FayssalF, Flapdragon, Friviere, Frokor, GDonato, Gadfium, Garing,
Gene Nygaard, Gerry Lynch, Gilliam, Gligan, Gnubyexample, Good Olfactory, Gurch, Guy03, Guérin Nicolas, Haakon, Hadal, Hankwang, Hardouin, Hasek is the best, Hektor, Henry Delforn,
Heron, Hmains, Idiazabal, Infrogmation, Instinct, Iñaki LL, J Di, J.delanoy, JKBrooks85, JackLanguedoc, Jamesontai, Jamiew99, Jared Preston, Jaume87, Jayron32, Jbourdon, Jebus989, Jeepday,
Jeff3000, Jmcc150, Joey80, John Bessa, Johnleemk, Jordigb, Jorunn, Jose77, Joseph Solis in Australia, KateHareng, Ken Gallager, Ketsuekigata, Kman543210, Kokahen, Kotakkasut, Krazytea,
Ktscon, Ktsquare, Kungfuadam, Kwekubo, LeaveSleaves, Lectonar, Lester, Lightmouse, Lithorien, Lol u got served, LukeHoC, M-le-mot-dit, MC10, MK8, MKoltnow, MPF, MSalazar90,
Mani1, Massimo377, Mattiedebest, Mav, Maximus Rex, McSly, Mentifisto, Mgiganteus1, Miami33139, Mick Knapton, Miguel303xm, Mikenorton, Mintleaf, Mnemosine, Montrealais,
Morburre, Mowsbury, Mschlindwein, Myrabella, Mysdaao, Nascigl, Natalya, Nathan Hamblen, NatureA16, NewEnglandYankee, Nhamblen, Nicolas guionnet, Nlu, Olivier, OwenX, PDH,
Pdurbin, Perique des Palottes, Phantomsteve, Phasechange, Philip Trueman, Pit-yacker, Potaco99, Raimon de Miraval, RedWolf, Richardvanegdom, RickK, Rjwilmsi, Robth, Rollxx, Rory096,
Rudolf Pohl, S3000, SKA CAC, ST47, Sam Thompson, Sardanaphalus, Sbharris, Schcambo, Schzmo, Sciurinæ, Sepro, Shaun F, Silverhelm, Silversmith, Slawojarek, Smallweed, Smartypants1,
Smee, Snowolf, Snoyes, Starbois, Steephill, Stemonitis, Stephen Bain, Stesteste, Steve Dufour, Stevenmitchell, Stuckinkiel, Susvolans, Sycthos, TShilo12, Tarquin, Template namespace
initialisation script, Thetrick, Thewikipedian, Thorwald, Tide rolls, Titzu, Toni PC, TopoChecker, Tourtux9, Tristanb, Tterrag, UkPaolo, Useight, Virenque, Vsmith, WODUP, Wbfergus,
Wikipe-tan, Woohookitty, Xufanc, Xyzzyva, Yamamizu, Zaragoza2008, Zyonig, 456 anonymous edits
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 90

Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors

File:2006-07 altaj belucha.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Dmottl,
Latebird, Obakeneko, Vitecek
File:Altai,Tienschan-Orte.png  Source:,Tienschan-Orte.png  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Hardscarf, Latebird, Mahlum, PM, 1
anonymous edits
Image:GoraBeluha.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Elgin Yuri, Original uploader was
Vorob'yov-Vysotsky Dmitry at ru.wikipedia
Image:Kazakhstan Altay.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Dmottl
Image:Kazakhstan Altay 2.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Kazakhstan Altay 3.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Katun.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5  Contributors: User:Ondřej Žváček
Image:Altai Kutscherla-Tal.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
User:Stefan Kühn
Image:2006-07 altaj kucerla.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
Dmottl, Latebird, Mikhail2009, Mircea, Obakeneko, Vitecek, 3 anonymous edits
File:Altai Kutscherla-See.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
User:Stefan Kühn
File:PD-icon.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Duesentrieb, User:Rfl
Image: Everest North Face toward Base Camp Tibet Luca Galuzzi 2006 edit 1.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors:
File:Flag of Bhutan.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: w:en:User:Nightstallion (original uploader), the
author of xrmap (improved version)
File:Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  Source:'s_Republic_of_China.svg  License: Public Domain  Contributors:
User:Denelson83, User:SKopp, User:Shizhao, User:Zscout370
File:Flag of India.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:SKopp
File:Flag of Nepal.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:SKopp
File:Flag of Pakistan.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Abaezriv, AnonMoos, Badseed, Dbenbenn,
Duduziq, F. F. Fjodor, Fry1989, Gabbe, Himasaram, Homo lupus, Juiced lemon, Klemen Kocjancic, Mattes, Mollajutt, Neq00, Pumbaa80, Rfc1394, Srtxg, ThomasPusch, Túrelio, Zscout370, 9
anonymous edits
File:Flag of Myanmar.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: *drew, AnonMoos, CommonsDelinker,
Duduziq, Fry1989, Gunkarta, Homo lupus, Idh0854, Josegeographic, Klemen Kocjancic, Legnaw, Mattes, Neq00, Nightstallion, Pixeltoo, Rfc1394, SeNeKa, Stevanb, ThomasPusch,
UnreifeKirsche, WikipediaMaster, Xiengyod, Zscout370, 白布飘扬, 7 anonymous edits
File:Flag of Afghanistan.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: 5ko, Ahmad2099, Antonsusi, Avala,
Bastique, Dancingwombatsrule, Dbenbenn, Denelson83, Domhnall, Duduziq, F l a n k e r, Fry1989, Gast32, Happenstance, Herbythyme, Homo lupus, Klemen Kocjancic, Kookaburra, Lokal
Profil, Ludger1961, MPF, Mattes, Myself488, Neq00, Nersy, Nightstallion, Orange Tuesday, Rainforest tropicana, Reisio, Rocket000, Sojah, Tabasco, Zscout370, 27 anonymous edits
File:Loudspeaker.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Bayo, Gmaxwell, Husky, Iamunknown, Myself488,
Nethac DIU, Omegatron, Rocket000, The Evil IP address, Wouterhagens, 9 anonymous edits
File:Himalayas Map.png  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Essentially, me. See the description section.
File:Himalayas landsat 7.png  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Tatiraju.rishabh
File:Everest - Polish International Mt Everest expedition 99.jpg  Source:
 License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: Ryszard Pawłowski
File:K2 8611.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:kogo
File:Kangchenjunga.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Original uploader was Anirban c8 at en.wikipedia
Image:Himalaya-formation.gif  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Original uploader was Ashwatham at
Image:Himalayan mountains from air 001.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons
Attribution-Sharealike 2.0  Contributors: Pipimaru
Image:Glacial lakes, Bhutan.jpg  Source:,_Bhutan.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: NASA
Image:ASTER Views the Himalaya.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: USGS EROS Data
Center Satellite Systems Branch
Image:Crows Lake in North Sikkim.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Pass i n Ladakh.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: User:Carsten.nebel
Image:yumthangnorth.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Nichalp, Roland zh
Image:yumthanghimalayas.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
Image:EverestMosaic.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: NASA.
File:Magnify-clip.png  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Erasoft24
File:Himalaya Panorama Alok Prasad.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License
 Contributors: Original uploader was Alokprasad at en.wikipedia
Image:Taktshang.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5  Contributors: User:Greenmnm69
Image:Vaishno Devi Bhawan 2.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Abhishek b4u
File:Tibet Himalayas.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Deodar, Till.niermann
Image:Mount_Everest_North_Face.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0
 Contributors: User:Carsten.nebel
File:Northern Areas 38b commons.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors:
Daniel Martin
Image:Nanga Parbat 035.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: Daniel Martin
Image:Sunrise, Manaslu.jpg  Source:,_Manaslu.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: Ben Tubby
Image:Sunset_om_Kangchengyao_in_North_Sikkim.jpg  Source:  License: Creative
Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: User:Carsten.nebel
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 91

Image: Tizi'n'Toubkal.jpg  Source:'n'Toubkal.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: Geofrog, Greenshed,
Kobersky, Mattes, Stan Shebs
Image: AtlasRange.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Erfil, Leavade, Mattes, 1 anonymous edits
Image:Atlas-Mountains-Labeled-2.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Williamborg
Image:Atlas Mountains tectonic plates.png  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors:
Image:AtlasOasis.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: Leyo, Melintir, 1 anonymous
Image:Lake of Barrage Couvagnac Panoramic.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain
 Contributors: NikoSilver
Image:Panoramic view of typical Berber village (Morocco - High Atlas Mountains).jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: NikoSilver
File:Hammam Essalhine Aquae Flaviane Khenchela Mont View 2.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: Ghezal Tarek
File:Localisation aures.svg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Ghezaltar, User:Sting
Image: Aerial photo of the Andes.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0
 Contributors: Robert Morrow
Image: Andes 70.30345W 42.99203S.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Herzi Pinki,
Prissantenbär, Red devil 666, Rex
Image:Aconcagua.8.22.03w.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Browncanyonquilotoa.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Creationlaw
Image:Central Andes Mountains, Salar de Arizaro, Argentina.jpg  Source:,_Salar_de_Arizaro,_Argentina.jpg
 License: Public Domain  Contributors: The NASA Expedition 23 crew
Image:Andes1a.JPG  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: Robert Morrow
Image:Volcanic Landscapes, Central Andes.JPG  Source:,_Central_Andes.JPG  License: Public Domain  Contributors:
ISS Expedition 24 crew
Image:Tunki Tanpupata.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: Dodo, Kersti Nebelsiek,
Image:Ausangate-hillside-MT.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Área Cultural Andina.png  Source:Área_Cultural_Andina.png  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors:
Huhsunqu, 4 anonymous edits
Image:Carretera transandina.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: User:Gas3191
Image:Peruvianterracefarmers.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Goldengreenbird, R'n'B, 1 anonymous edits
Image:Aconcagua - Argentina - January 2005 - by Sergio Schmiegelow.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Sergio
Image:Cerro tronador desde lago mascardi 01b.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation
License  Contributors: User:Wernerluis
Image:andes - punta arenas.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:....
Image:Llullaillaco.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:HeikoStamer
File:Camino de Alta.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0  Contributors: birasuegi's
Image:Nevado Sajama.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: ALE!, Anakin, Rojk, Rémih, Vux, 1 anonymous
Image:Huayna Potosí La Paz - Bolivia.jpg  Source:í_La_Paz_-_Bolivia.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
 Contributors: ogwen
Image:Laguna Verde Bolivia.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: mapache_mau
Image:Parinacota.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Gerd Breitenbach
Image:Stgo Abril.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Cantus, Cruxado, Galeno6854
Image:Cuernos del Paine from Lake Pehoé.jpg  Source:é.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors:
Image:Ritacuba-blanco.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0  Contributors: John Biggar
Image:Nevado del Ruiz by Edgar.png  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0
 Contributors: Edgar from Ibagué, Colombia
Image:EL CHIMBORAZO.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Dr. Carlos Costales
Image:Volcán Tungurahua.jpg  Source:án_Tungurahua.jpg  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Dr. Carlos Costales
Image:EL CAYAMBE DESDE EL AVION.JPG  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation
License  Contributors: Dr. Carlos Costales Terán
Image:MONTAÑAS DE ZUMBAHUA.JPG  Source:ÑAS_DE_ZUMBAHUA.JPG  License: GNU Free Documentation License
 Contributors: Dr. Carlos Costales Terán
Image:Alpamayo.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Brad MeringBaltimore, MD, United States
Image:El misti.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Geofrog, Juiced lemon, Liftarn, Mason, Peko, Stan Shebs
Image:Nevadohuandoy.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Clarquitecto
Image:Bolívar usgs.jpg  Source:ívar_usgs.jpg  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Ecemaml, Herzi Pinki, Oscar ., Pipodv, RedWolf, Stan
File:Pico Humboldt.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Mario dos Reis
Image: MonNatForest.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Valerius
Image: AppalachianLocatorMap2.png  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Original uploader was
Lanma726 at en.wikipedia
File:Speaker Icon.svg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Blast, G.Hagedorn, Mobius, 2 anonymous edits
Image:Appalachian map.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: ChrisRuvolo, Vsmith, 1 anonymous edits
Image Sources, Licenses and Contributors 92

Image:WV plateau.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: Maksim, Spyder Monkey
Image:Appalachian fault.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Original uploader was
Pollinator at en.wikipedia
Image:Cliffs above Gauley-27527.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken Thomas
Image:Eastern North American Paleogeograpy Middle Devonian.png  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Mount Mitchell-27527.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken Thomas
Image:Craggy Gardens-27527.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken Thomas
Image:Rhododendron maximum-27527.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken
Image:Southern Flying Squirrel-27527-3.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken
Image:Wild Turkey-27527-1.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Ken Thomas
Image:Mont-carleton-panorama-3.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5
 Contributors: Andrew pmk, Fralambert, Jeangagnon, Petersent, RedWolf, Rl, Verne Equinox
Image: Mountains of Afghanistan.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0
 Contributors: koldo hormaza from madrid, españa
Image: Hindu-Kush-Range.png  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
Image:Hindu Kush satellite image.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS
Land Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC
Image:Lataband_Road_1.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Sven Dirks, Wien
Image:Lataband_Road_hut.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Sven Dirks, Wien
Image:Lataband_Road_mountains.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Sven
Dirks, Wien
Image:Lataband_Road_2.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: Sven Dirks, Wien
File:Caucasus envsec2 baseb.gif  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Politologia
File:Caucasus region 1994.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: CIA
File:Yerevan Mount Ararat.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Hakob
File:XinaligAZE.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Łomża
File:Ushguli Svaneti 1.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0  Contributors: user:geagea
File:Armenian Empire.png  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Aivazovsky
File:Ejmiadzin Cathedral2.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
User:Vigen Hakhverdyan
File:Gobustan ancient Azerbaycan full.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Baku87
(talk) Original uploader was Baku87 at en.wikipedia
File:Geor tamro aandersen.GIF  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Andrew Andersen
File:Ethnic Groups In Caucasus Region 2009.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain
 Contributors: Temo Blumgardt
File:Prokudin-Gorskii-44.jpg  Source:  License: unknown  Contributors: digital rendering for the Library of Congress by
Walter Frankhauser / WalterStudio
Image: 2008 Jungfrau.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Earth explorer
Image: Alpenrelief 01.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5  Contributors: David Kernow,
Meno25, Perconte, Ranveig, Sting, 3 anonymous edits
File:Alps from space.png  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: Avron, Herzi Pinki
File:Hauteroute.jpg  Source:  License: Public Domain  Contributors: User:Jackph
File:MassifMontBlanc7438.JPG  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors:
File:Aletschgletscher mit Pinus cembra1.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0
 Contributors: Jo Simon on Flickr
File:Innsbr.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0  Contributors: User:Hanno
File:St.Bartholomä.jpg  Source:ä.jpg  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Germany  Contributors: Marco Tesch.
Original uploader was M.tesch at de.wikipedia
File:Kosodrzewina (Sosna górska) Pinus mugo mugo.jpg  Source:órska)_Pinus_mugo_mugo.jpg  License: GNU Free
Documentation License  Contributors: User:Radomil
File:Rhododendron ferrugineum.JPG  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5
 Contributors: User:Stemonitis
File:Leontopodium alpinum1.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Franz
File:Gentiana acaulis.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Tigerente
File:Chamorchis_alpina_230705b.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.5
 Contributors: User:BerndH
File:Pulsatilla_alpina_schneebergensis.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License
 Contributors: 667NotB, Ardfern, Maksim, Quadell, Stemonitis, Widewitt
File:Androsace alpina02.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Tigerente
File:Ranunculus_glacialis.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Tigerente
File:Parnassius pheobus.jpg  Source:  License: GNU Free Documentation License  Contributors: User:Geiserich77
File:Salamandra atra.jpg  Source:  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 2.0  Contributors: User:Mnolf
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