Mountains are the tallest
features on Earth. They are much taller than any man-made structure.
The tallest Mountain is Mt
Everest, in the Himalayas it is 29,028 feet high (8,848 meters). The
Himalayas are between China and India.
The highest point in Africa is
Mt Kilimanjaro; it's 19,344 feet high (5,896 meters).
In Europe, the highest point is
the Mont Blanc, at 15,770 feet high (4807 meters).
In Russia, the highest peak is
Mt Elbrus: It's 18,510 feet high (5,642 meters).
Mt Aconcagua, in the South
American Andes, is the tallest American mountain: 22,834 feet (6,960 m).
Mt McKingley, in Alaska, is the
highest mountain in the USA: 20,320 feet (6,194 m).
Mountain chains are formed by
subduction zone. (Where two tectonic plates collide, and one goes under
another, lifting the one above it).
Mountains can also be the result
of volcanic eruptions. (Volcanoes, like Mt. St. Helen in Washington).
Mountains can either grow or
shrink with time.
They can grow, if the tectonic
activity has an impact greater than the rate of erosion.
Erosion is the result of winds
and water, slowly loosening the hard surface, and therefore "eating it
away." The results are found in glaciers, and at glacier mouths -- at
the bottom of mountains-- in the form of sediments, boulders, rocks etc…
We can usually find lots of
sediments and boulders that originated higher up and have been carried
downward by the glaciers.
Climate and temperatures vary by
altitude on mountains: The higher you go, the colder it is.
The temperature goes down about
11 F (6 C) every 3,281 ft (1000 m.) With these temperature differences,
the vegetation also changes.
At the bottom of the mountain,
you can find pastures, above which (at 3,937 ft -1,200 m) are Deciduous
Deciduous loose their leaves in
the winter. This zone is called the Broadleaf treeline, with vegetation
similar to that of the Taiga.
At 8202 ft (2500 m), is the
Higher, we find vegetation very
similar to that of the Artic Tundra (low and rough grassy areas).
At the summit there is usually very little vegetation.
Animal Life in Mountains also
varies with altitude, as well as geographic location.
Sheep and goats can be found on
most mountains, because they are very agile, and can climb up and down
the steep mountain slopes.
In European mountains we find
Chamois, which have a great sense of balance. Chamois can jump up two
meters high and six meters in distance.
Eagles use the strong winds
along the mountain slopes to glide and fly great distances,
and use the rising hot air to fly to great heights.
The higher you get up a
mountain, the thinner is the air: There is less oxygen. Climbers must
take oxygen bottles with them when they try to climb Mont Everest.
The first men to climb Mt
Everest were Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing, in 1953.