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Introduction

View of the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains as seen from Tucson, Arizona.
View of the south side of the Santa Catalina Mountains as seen from Tucson, Arizona.
Mount Ararat, as seen from Armenia.

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

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

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

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Selected mountain-related landform

A crevasse is a deep crack, or fracture, found in an ice sheet or glacier, as opposed to a crevice that forms in rock. Crevasses form as a result of the movement and resulting stress associated with the shear stress generated when two semi-rigid pieces above a plastic substrate have different rates of movement. The resulting intensity of the shear stress causes a breakage along the faces. Read more...

Selected mountain range

Tizi'n'Toubkal.jpg

The Atlas Mountains (Arabic: جِـبَـال الْأَطْـلَـس‎, translit. jibāl al-ʾaṭlas; Berber languages: ⵉⴷⵓⵔⴰⵔ ⵏ ⵡⴰⵟⵍⴰⵙ, idurar n waṭlas) are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) in southwestern Morocco. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. The Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' in some Berber languages are adrar and adras, which are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are home to a number of animal and plants unique in Africa, often more like those of Europe; many of them are endangered and some have already gone extinct. Read more...

Selected mountain type

Schematic representation of the internal structure of a typical cinder cone

A cinder cone or cinder cone is a steep conical hill of loose pyroclastic fragments, such as either volcanic clinkers, cinders, volcanic ash, or cinder that has been built around a volcanic vent. They consist of loose pyroclastic debris formed by explosive eruptions or lava fountains from a single, typically cylindrical, vent. As the gas-charged lava is blown violently into the air, it breaks into small fragments that solidify and fall as either cinders, clinkers, or scoria around the vent to form a cone that often is symmetrical; with slopes between 30–40°; and a nearly circular ground plan. Most cinder cones have a bowl-shaped crater at the summit. Read more...

Selected glacier-related article

Outlet glaciers are channels of ice that flow out of ice sheets, ice caps or icefields, but are constrained on the sides with exposed bedrock. Read more...

Selected climbing article

A variety of belay devices.

A belay device is a mechanical piece of climbing equipment used to control a rope during belaying. It is designed to improve belay safety for the climber by allowing the belayer to manage their duties with minimal physical effort. With the right belay device, a small, weak climber can easily arrest the fall of a much heavier partner. Belay devices act as a friction brake, so that when a climber falls with any slack in the rope, the fall is brought to a stop.

Typically, when the rope is held outward, away from the body, it moves relatively freely, so the belayer can take up or pay out slack. When the rope is brought backward, to the side of the body, the rope is forced into tight bends and rubs against the device and/or against itself, allowing the belayer to arrest the descent of a climber in the case of a fall. This rubbing slows the rope, but also generates heat. Some types of belay devices can arrest a fall without the belayer taking any action, while others require the belayer to hold or pull the rope in a particular direction. Read more...

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Selected skiing article

Freestyle skiing is a skiing discipline comprising aerials, moguls, cross, half-pipe and slopestyle as part of the Winter Olympics. It can consist of a skier performing aerial flips and spins, and can include skiers sliding rails and boxes on their skis. It is also commonly referred to as freeskiing, jibbing, as well as many other names around the world. Read more...

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Topics

Shivling
Eruption of Pinatubo 1991

Flora and fauna

Climbing in Greece
Georg Winkler.jpg

Lists of mountains

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