“Every mountain top is within reach if you just keep climbing.”
― Barry Finlay‘s words are pills of inspiration for everyone who love to face challenges. Mountains are the areas with steep slopes that are raised high above surroundings, in a limited area. Mountains are higher and steeper than hills. Mountains are formed by geological forces like pressure and heat producing changes and movements in the earth’s crust. Volcanism, erosion, and uplift in the earth's crust have given rise to mountains –the unique landmass on the earth.
Mountains have summit or the top of mountain, the slope or the side of the mountains, and steep valleys in between young mountains. Mountains are also present under the surface of sea. Mountains do occur in oceans and some islands are the peaks of the mountains seen outside the water. Some mountain areas show frozen water bodies called glaciers.
Long chains of mountains form Mountain ranges. Ranges are usually 1,000 or more miles long. The Himalayas are the world's overall tallest mountains. The Andes, the longest mountain range in the world. Mountains exhibit rapid variation in climate, vegetation, altitude, soil over very short distances. In general mountains are higher than 600 meters. Around 12% of world population lives in mountains. Mountains are home for various ethnic communities.
Mountains are the major sources of freshwater. They harbor rich biodiversity. Maple, conifers, chestnut, mosses, ferns and climbers are found more commonly on mountains. Animals found in mountain areas are well adapted for extreme climatic conditions. Timberline is where growth of trees no longer occurs on a mountain.
Different types of mountains
Fold Mountains are formed by collision of the plates of crust (eg: Himalayan Mountains in Asia)
Fault-block Mountains are formed when cracks in the earth's crust force some materials or blocks of rock to rise high or fall low. (eg: the Harz Mountains in Germany)
Dome Mountains are formed as a result of a great amount of melted rock (magma) pushing its way up under the earth crust. Here earth’s crust doesn’t erupt. At some point of time, the magma cools down and forms hardened rock. (eg: Half Dome in California’s Sierra Nevada)
Volcanic Mountains are formed when molten rock (magma) deep within the earth, erupted, and piled upon the surface. ( eg: Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines)
Plateau Mountains are formed by the erosion of large flat areas. (Eg: Adirondack Mountains in the United States)
Mountains are the cradles of richest biodiversity on the earth, Mountains play crucial role in our life. Environmental degradation, exploitative mining, hydropower projects, armed conflict and so many other problems have encircled mountains. Today while celebrating international mountain day, let us hope the mountain biome will be protected and guarded as the treasure for future generation.
"It's always further than it looks. It's always taller than it looks. And it's always harder than it looks."
— The 3 rules of mountaineering.