Major European Mountain Ranges

Major European Mountain Ranges
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  • 0:03 Major European Mountain Ranges
  • 0:44 Apennine Mountains
  • 1:38 Pyrenees Mountains
  • 2:25 Alps
  • 3:05 Carpathian Mountains
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Julie Zundel

Julie has taught high school Zoology, Biology, Physical Science and Chem Tech. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Education.

Europe contains several amazing mountain ranges, and this lesson will highlight four of them. We will discuss their location, geology, and some fun facts about each.

Major European Mountain Ranges

Pack your bags - we're going to go on an exciting tour of the major European Mountain Ranges. A mountain range is a group of mountains that are related geologically, meaning they formed in a similar way and have similar rocks. We'll take a look at each range's location, its geology, as well as some interesting tidbits about the ranges themselves. We'll keep the geology brief so you don't get bogged down with details, but keep in mind, different ranges have different properties with regard to how they formed and the rocks that they contain. Our tour will start with the Apennine Mountains, then the Pyrenees Mountains, followed by the Alps, and ending with the Carpathian Mountains. Let's go!

Apennine Mountains

Our first stop is the Apennine Mountain Range, which extends in an arc shape for about 870 miles through Italy. Due to its location and shape, this mountain range is often referred to as the 'backbone' of Italy. The highest point within this range is Mount Corno, at 9,554 feet.

These beautiful mountains have proved to be quite deadly due to earthquakes and volcanoes. For example, in 1980 an earthquake in the southern part of the range killed 4800 people. Or you may have heard of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, which buried and destroyed cities like Pompeii. From a geological standpoint, this mountain range is relatively young and is composed of marine sedimentary rocks. The range has some extinct volcanoes; however, a few active ones remain.

Pyrenees Mountains

Let's head over to France for our next mountains, the Pyrenees Mountain Range, which creates the border between France and Spain. The range extends for about 270 miles.

The highest point in the range is Aneto Peak at 11,169 feet. The range is relatively young from a geological standpoint. These mountains have several thermal springs, which many claim have healing properties. The western part of the range consists of granite and limestone, whereas the eastern portion is primarily granite and gneissose rock. Oh, and a fun fact for you: you may have heard of the Pyrenees Mountain Dog. Well, you guessed it. The dog was used by people living in the Pyrenees Mountains for guarding sheep. Let's get you out of those thermal springs and head to our next destination.

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