Mountain – Concept, how it is formed, parts, vegetation and more

We explain what a mountain is, how they are formed and the parts that make it up. In addition, its climate, vegetation and the highest mountains.

Mountains generally rise more than 700 meters above their base.

What is a mountain?

Mountain is called a natural elevation of the terrain, product of tectonic forces (orogenesis), which generally rise to more than 700 meters in height with respect to its base. These topographic elevations are usually grouped in mountain ranges or mountain ranges, which can be short or prolonged over kilometers of distance.

Mountains have attracted human attention since ancient times, usually culturally associated with elevation, closeness to God (the sky) or as a metaphor for sustained efforts to obtain greater or better perspectives.

In fact, mountaineering is a sports activity associated with great physical demands and an enormous importance in our consideration with respect to the known percentage of the planet.

There are many ways to classify mountains. For example, according to their height they can be classified into (from lowest to highest): hills, medium mountains and high mountains. Similarly, they can be classified according to their origin as: volcanic, folded (the product of a tectonic fault) or folded-fractured.

And, finally, the groups of mountains can be classified according to their way of grouping: there is talk of mountain ranges if they meet longitudinally, and solid if they make it more compact or circular.

Mountains cover a significant portion of the earth’s surface: 53% of the Asian continent, 25% of the European, 17% of the Australian and 3% of the African, for a total of 24%. It is estimated that 10% of the world’s human population lives in mountains, and all the water of the rivers is formed, necessarily, at the top of their peaks.

Formation of the mountains

Mountains have their origin in deformations of the earth’s crust.

The formation of mountains is called orogenesis, which then are modified by external factors such as erosion or tectonic movements.

Mountains have their origin in deformations of the earth’s crust, usually in the meeting places of two tectonic plates that, when exerting force against each other, cause a folding of the lithosphere, which sends one vein downwards and another upwards. , forming an elevation of different magnitude.

In certain cases, this shock process causes a layer to sink into the subsoil and be subjected to melting by high temperatures, forming magma that, later, can emerge towards the surface forming volcanoes.

Parts of the mountain

Mountains are usually made up of the following parts:

  • Foot or base. The lowest part of the formation, usually at ground level.
  • Summit, peak or cusp. The top and last part, where the mountain ends, reaching its highest possible height.
  • Hillside or skirt. The sloping portion of the mountain that connects the foot to the top.
  • Valley. The portion of slope that is between two peaks (two mountains) constituting a small depression or subsidence.

Mountain weather

At higher altitude, there is always lower temperature and lower atmospheric pressure.

Mountain climates usually depend on two factors: your latitude and the elevation of the mountain. At higher altitude, there is always lower temperature and lower atmospheric pressure, at a usual rate of 5 ° C for each kilometer of altitude gained.

The same occurs with rainfall, more frequent at higher altitudes, so it is possible to find more humid areas at the top than in the plain, especially where the great rivers have their source. If the ascent continues, the humidity and water turn into snow and eventually ice.

Mountain vegetation

When ascending, the lack of oxygen makes itself felt and the vegetation loses size.

Mountain vegetation is highly dependent on the climate and location of the mountain. However, it usually occurs in a staggered manner, by steps, as one ascends the slope. Thus, on the lower floors, near the foot, there is abundant vegetation that is in the surrounding plains, or mountain forests, with lush and tall trees.

But as you ascend the most cold-resistant species predominate, which take advantage of the moisture reserves and the abundance of rainfall. Above the area of ​​trees, the lack of oxygen is felt and the vegetation loses size, becoming grassland again, with shrubs and small grasses. The peaks are therefore usually more arid, especially those covered with ice and snow.

The five tallest mountains

Mount Everest, at 8,846 meters high, is the highest mountain in the world.

The five highest mountains in the world are:

  • Mount Everest. At 8,846 meters high, it is the highest mountain in the world, located on the crest of the Himalayas.
  • Mountains K2. One of the most difficult mountains to climb in the world, at 8,611 meters above sea level. It is located between China and Pakistan.
  • Kachenjunga. Located between India and Nepal, it is 8,598 meters high. Its name translates as “The five treasures among the snows.”
  • Aconcagua. At 6,962 meters high, this mountain located in the Argentine Andes, in the province of Mendoza, is the highest peak in America.
  • Nevado Ojos del Salado. It is a stratovolcano that is part of the Andes Mountains, on the border between Chile and Argentina. It is the highest volcano in the world, with 6891.3 meters high.