An introduction to mountains
A mountain is something that’s part of the land, but that rises above everything else. Mountains can join up with other mountains to make up a range.
Mountains are very rocky and difficult to grow things on. Also, the higher the mountain goes up, the colder it gets – this means different kinds of plants and animals might live at the top of a mountain than at the bottom, depending on just how high it is.
The highest mountains in each continent:
- Europe – Mount Elbrus (Russia)
- Asia – Mount Everest (Nepal)
- Australia – Mount Kosciuszko
- Antarctica – Vinson Massif
- South America – Aconcagua (Argentina)
- North America – Mount McKinley (United States of America)
- Africa – Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
Some famous mountain ranges around the world are:
- The Himalayas, Asia
- The Rocky Mountains, North America
- The Andes, South America
- The Ural Mountains, Europe
- The Alps, Europe
- The Pyrenees, Europe
The highest mountains in the countries of the UK are:
- Ben Nevis in Scotland (which is also the highest in all of the UK)
- Mount Snowdon in Wales
- Scafell Pike in England
- Slieve Donard in Northern Ireland
Top 10 facts
- Most mountains are formed when things happen inside the Earth to push rocks up – the longer this happens, the higher the rocks are pushed, and the higher the mountains can be.
- While some mountains are getting taller, you can’t see them grow. It takes a very, very long time for mountains to form.
- The top of a mountain is called the summit.
- It means two different things to say how high a mountain is and how tall it is – measure from sea level to summit to find out how high a mountain is, and measure base to summit to find out how tall it is.
- Some very tall mountains aren’t very high because a lot of the base is under the ocean. Some mountains are even completely underwater!
- The highest mountain in the world is Mount Everest in Nepal – it’s 8,850 metres high!
- The tallest mountain in the world is Mauna Kea in Hawaii, USA – its base is below sea level, and when you measure from base to summit it’s over 10,000 meters tall.
- The highest mountain in the UK is Ben Nevis in Scotland – it’s 1,344 metres high.
- There are five different types of mountains – fold, fault-block, dome, volcanic and plateau.
- Living on mountains is difficult because air gets thinner and colder the higher you go up. Different species of plants and animals can be found at different heights because they’ve had to adapt to the special conditions.
Everest - Getting to the Top | National Geographic
50 years ago, James Whittaker, accompanied by Sherpa Nawang Gombu, became the first American to reach the summit of Everest by climbing the Southeast Ridge, the same route pioneered in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Today, hundreds of climbers each season brave crevasses, crowds, and corpses to make it to the top of Everest.