Jura (jŏrˈə, Fr. zhüräˈ, Ger. yōˈrä) [key], mountain range, part of the Alpine system, E France and NW Switzerland, occupying parts of the French region of Franche-Comté and the Swiss cantons of Vaud, Neuchâtel, Bern, Solothurn, and Basel. It extends in narrow, parallel ridges c.160 mi (260 km) from the Rhine River at Basel to the Rhône River SW of Geneva; Crêt de la Neige (5,652 ft/1,723 m), in France, is the highest peak. The Jura's rounded crests and summits are covered with dense pine forests and good pasture lands. The region is drained by the Doubs, the Ain, the Loué, and smaller streams. Major cities include La Chaux-de-Fonds, Neuchâtel, and Biel, Switzerland, and Besançon, France. Hydroelectric plants in the Jura supply power to pulp and paper, textile, and woodworking industries. Important watch industries, particularly in the Swiss towns of Le Locle, La Chaux-de-Fonds, and Grenchen, are also there. Export products from the French Jura include brierwood (for pipes), plastics, and cheese. The Jura Mts. are a popular year-round resort region. Composed of sandstone and limestone and rich in fossils, the Jura gives its name to the Jurassic period. The mountains N of Lake Constance in SW Germany are called the Swabian Jura.
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