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Mountains are fascinating formations of land that have long captivated humans with their majestic heights and natural beauty. Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, or just someone who’s interested in physical geography, mountains are a fascinating and awe-inspiring subject! Here are 10 fascinating facts about mountains that may surprise and delight you:
1. The Number of Mountains Around the Globe
Mountains can be found on each of the 7 continents around the world, with great mountain ranges like the Alps, Appalachian Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Andes, Himalayas and more. The exact number of mountains is debatable, but estimates vary from approximately 200,000 to well over 300,000!
2. The True Meaning Behind the Name ‘Mountaineering’
The term “mountaineering” originated from the French language. It combines two words: mountaine, meaning ‘mountain’, and eer, meaning ‘explore’. So akin to its literal meaning of ‘exploring a mountain’, mountaineering ultimately refers to the act of climbing, exploring and traversing mountainous regions.
3. The Average Height of Mountains Everywhere
The average height of mountains around the world is approximately 3,500 meters (11,500 feet). The highest peak in the world Mount Khuiten in Mongolia is 4,374 meters (14,350 feet) above sea level. Additionally, the longest mountain chain in the world is the Andes Mountains with an overall length of approximately 7,000 km (4,349 miles).
4. Mountains Can and Do Move Over Time
At first glance, mountains may appear to be static, non-moving structures. But it is in fact possible for mountains to move over time. As the Earth’s crust shifts and tectonic plates move, mountains can be created, disrupted and/or moved over large spans of time.
5. The Types of Mountains that Exist
There are three main categories of mountains based on formation history and types of terrain. They include Fold Mountains, Fault-Block Mountains and Volcanic Mountains, each with their own identifying features and characteristics.
6. The Benefit of Mountain Sides
The steep mountain sides of some mountain ranges provide an optimal place for ski resorts and winter sport activities. This is due to the fact that an angle of up to 40 degrees offers increased speed without sacrificing safety, making it a suitable terrain for skiing.
7. Mountain Peaks in the Oceans
Some of the highest mountain peaks in the world aren’t located on land. One of the highest mountain peaks, the Mauna Kea, is located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and is nearly 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) high, with more than 21,000 meters (69,000 feet) beneath the ocean surface.
8. Mountain Migration
Mountain ranges like the Himalayas are still migrating and shifting, moving around 4-10mm each year. This is due to the Indian Plate shifting and pressing against the Eurasian Plate, resulting in the formation of the Himalayans.
9. The Importance of Mountains
Mountains often have a significant impact on the flow of rivers and other water systems, which can influence humanity’s access to clean water, fields, and resources. They are also a key factor in forming the regions’ climates, and provide areas with abundant sources of mineral resources, including coal, oil, and metals.
10. Mountains were Once Thought of as Sacred Places
In some cultures, mountains were seen as spiritual places and were thought to contain divine power. Ancient cultures often believed that gods lived within the peaks of mountains and considered them to be sacred places.
From the formation of mountain peaks to the important role they play in forming the world’s water systems, cultures and climates, mountains are remarkable structures. They are a force of nature that deserve both reverence and respect. We hope you learned something new about mountains and enjoyed reading these 10 fascinating facts!
10 Fascinating Facts About Mountains