• Mountain Range: A mountain range is a series of mountains ranged in a line and connected by high ground. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.
  • Mountain System: A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny.
  • Mountain Chain: It consists of mountain ranges which differ in size and period of formation.
  • Cordillera: Cordillera is a community of mountains which includes ridges, ranges, mountain chains and mountain systems. The best example is the Western Cordillera in the western part of North America.

Major Mountain Ranges of the World

Mountain RangeImportant/Highest PeaksLocationDescription
Rocky MountainsMt. Elbert (highest peak in the Rockies)North AmericaIt is one of the longest fold mountains in the world and extends from Canada to Western US (New Mexico State)
Appalachian MountainsMt. Mitchell, North Carolina, US (highest peak of Appalachian Mountains)North AmericaIt is a fold mountain with rich in mineral resources
AlpsMont Blanc (French –Italian border)EuropeIt is a folded mountain and source for rivers like Danube, Rhine, etc.
Sierra NevadaMt. WhitneyCalifornia, USAHabitat for many Red Indian tribes
Alaska RangeMt. McKinleyNorth AmericaMt. McKinley highest peak in North America
Altai MountainsBelukha mountainCentral AsiaYoung folded mountain which extends from Kazakhstan to northern China.
Andes MountainsMt. AconcaguaSouth AmericaLongest mountain chain in the world
Atlas MountainsMt. ToubkalNorthwestern AfricaYoung fold mountain spreading over Morocco and Tunisia.
Drakensberg MountainsMt. LesothoSouth AfricaYoung folded mountain
Caucasus MountainMt. ElbrusEuropeLocated between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea
Scandinavian MountainsGaldhøpiggen Europe (Finland, Norway, Sweden)The western sides of the mountains drop precipitously into the North Sea and Norwegian Sea, forming the fjords of Norway, whereas to the northeast they gradually curve towards Finland.
Carpathian MountainsGerlachovský štítEurope Range of mountains forming an arc across Central and Eastern Europe.
Ural MountainsMt. NarodnayaRussiaThis mountain range act as a boundary between Europe and Asia.
Hindukush MountainsMt. Trich MirPakistan and AfghanistanFolded mountain with rugged topography which makes it difficult for transportation.
HimalayasMt. EverestAsiaYoung fold mountains in Asia which separates Indian sub-continent from Asian plains
Arakan YomaMt. Kennedy peakMyanmarIt extends from north to south direction. Shifting cultivation is practised.
Kunlun MountainsMt. MuztagNorth of Tibetan plateau and western ChinaIt is one of the young folded mountains.
VosgesMt. Grand BallonEastern France, EuropeFamous for the cultivation of grapes and manufacture of wines.
Great Dividing RangeMt. KosciuszkoAustraliaThis range is the source for the rivers Darling and Murray.
major mountain ranges of the world

The Andes

  • The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world.
  • The Andes is the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia with an average height of 4000 m.
  • The highest peak is Mount Aconcagua (6,962 m) (volcanic origin, but now it’s dormant).
  • World’s highest volcanoes are in the Andes.
  • Ojos del Salado (6,893 m) (active volcano) on the Chile-Argentina border is the highest volcano on earth.

The Rockies

  • The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range and the largest mountain system in North America.
  • Rocky Mountain range forms a part of the American Cordillera

American Cordillera

  • The American Cordillera is a chain of mountain ranges (cordilleras) that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western backbone of the Americas and Antarctica.
  • It is also the backbone of the volcanic arc that forms the eastern half of the Pacific Ring of Fire.
North Cordillera
  • The ranges of the Cordillera from Mexico northwards are collectively called the North American Cordillera.
  • They include the Alaska Range and the Brooks Range in Alaska, main belt of the Rocky Mountains along with the parallel Columbia Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and various small Pacific coastal ranges.
  • In Mexico, the Cordillera continues through the Sierra Madre Occidental and the Sierra Madre Oriental.
South Cordillera
  • The Cordillera continues through the mountain ranges of Central America in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama, and becomes the Andes Mountains of South America.
  • The Andes with their parallel chains continue to the very tip of South America at Tierra del Fuego.
  • The Cordillera continues along the Scotia Arc before reaching the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Cascade Range

  • The Cascade Range or the Cascades is a major mountain range of western North America.
  • The Cascades (Cascade volcanoes) are part of the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire.
  • They are made up of a band of thousands of very small, short-lived volcanoes.
  • The Cascade Range has few strikingly large volcanoes, like Mount St. Helens.
  • The volcanoes and earthquakes in the Cascades arise from a common source: subduction, where the dense Juan de Fuca oceanic plate plunges beneath the North American Plate.

The Great Dividing Range

  • The Great Dividing Range, or the Eastern Highlands, is Australia’s most substantial mountain.
  • It is also known as the Australian Alps and was formed due to rifting.

Transantarctic Mountains

  • The Transantarctic Mountains comprise a mountain range of uplifted rock in Antarctica which extends, with some interruptions, across the continent from Cape Adare in northern Victoria Land to Coats Land.
  • These mountains divide East Antarctica and West Antarctica.

The Ural Mountains

  • Mountain range that runs approximately from north to south through western Russia, from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the Ural River and northwestern Kazakhstan.
  • They are formed due to Continent-Continent collision of supercontinent Laurussia with the young and weak continent of Kazakhstania.
  • Their eastern side is usually considered the natural boundary between Europe and Asia.
  • Since the 18th century, the mountains have been a major mineral base of Russia.

Atlas Mountains

  • Mountain range across the north-western stretch of Africa extending about 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
  • The highest peak is Toubkal (4,165 metres) in southwestern Morocco.
  • These mountains were formed when Africa and Europe collided.

The Himalayas

  • The Himalayan range is home to the planet’s highest peaks, including the highest, Mount Everest.
  • Its western anchor, Nanga Parbat, lies just south of the northernmost bend of Indus river, its eastern anchor, Namcha Barwa, just west of the great bend of the Brahmaputra river (Tsangpo river).
  • The range varies in width from 400 kilometres in the west to 150 kilometres in the east.
  • The Himalaya 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.
  • 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 collision.
Impact on climate
  • The Himalayas are believed to play an important part in the formation of Central Asian deserts, such as the Taklamakan and Gobi.

The Alps

  • The mountains were formed as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided.
  • Extreme folding caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc (4,810 m) (French–Italian border).
  • The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 m, known as the four-thousanders.

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Nice and very helpful for ias ASPIRANT