A mountain is a landform, an isolated steep rise of terrain with pronounced slopes and foothills or a summit in a mountainous country, states Wikipedia. And true. Another term for mountains is also used for terrain above 500 metres above sea level.
Reference books assure us that mountains differ from plains by the abundance of microrelief elements. Immediately I remembered such lovely boulders, cliffs, escarpments, couloirs and ravines. I felt good in soul, I wanted to go to mountains more powerfully.
As it turned out in result the elements of mountain micro relief are: tops, bottoms, slopes, passes, valleys, crests, glaciers, moraines and so on. If you see it all around you, you are in the mountains!
The most important thing for us climbers is undoubtedly the peaks of the mountains. They are singled out peak-shaped, dome-shaped, plateau-shaped. And it’s this that determines how easy it is to climb that peak, as a result.
How do mountains arise?
How do mountains arise? There are mountains of tectonic origin, volcanic origin and denudation (erosion). Let’s break down the meaning of this set of terms.
Of tectonic origin: the plates of the Earth’s crust were moving under the influence of subsurface forces, the plates pressed against each other and swelled up. Either one plate moved under the other, and the other plate moved up, and here they are – the mountains! Though, it happens very slowly, the mountains grow by some millimeters yearly.
Of volcanic origin: lava from a volcano erupts from the depths of the Earth and the lava pours out – molten rock, cools down and hardens. The cycle repeats itself several times, the hill of molten lava rises higher and higher. And, lo and behold, we have a mountain of volcanic origin in front of us. Demavend, Ararat, Kilimanjaro are all dormant volcanoes. Etna in Italy is not a dormant volcano.
Erosional (denudation) mountains were born due to flowing water and wind and temperature destruction. They eroded and dissected by ravines, canyons and troughs the stratified plains, plateaus and plateaus. Traditionally these mountains are table shaped and divided by valleys. More often than not, erosion mountains are found within mountain ranges, where rock layers are dissected by mountain rivers.