Introductionmountain, high land mass projecting conspicuously above its surroundings and usually of limited width at its summit. Although isolated mountains are not unusual, mountains commonly form ranges, comprising either a single complex ridge or a series of related ridges. A group of ranges closely related in form, origin, and alignment is a mountain system; an elongated group of systems is a chain; and a complex of ranges, systems, and chains continental in extent is called a cordillera, zone, or belt.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Geology and Oceanography