Mountain, Superlatives

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Summary

A mountain is a large landform that stretches above the surrounding land in a limited area, usually in the form of a peak. A mountain is generally steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism. These forces can locally raise the surface of the earth. Mountains erode slowly through the action of rivers, weather conditions, and glaciers. A few mountains are isolated summits, but most occur in huge mountain ranges.

Details

Heights of mountains are typically measured above sea level. Using this metric, Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth, at . There are at least 100 mountains with heights of over above sea level, all of which are located in central and southern Asia. The highest mountains above sea level are generally not the highest above the surrounding terrain. There is no precise definition of surrounding base, but Mount McKinley, Mount Kilimanjaro and Nanga Parbat are possible candidates for the tallest mountain on land by this measure. The bases of mountain islands are below sea level, and given this consideration Mauna Kea ( above sea level) is the world's tallest mountain and volcano, rising about from the Pacific Ocean floor.

The highest mountains are not generally the most voluminous. Mauna Loa () is the largest mountain on Earth in terms of base area (about ) and volume (about ). Mount Kilimanjaro is the largest non-shield volcano in terms of both base area () and volume (). Mount Logan is the largest non-volcanic mountain in base area ().

The highest mountains above sea level are also not those with peaks farthest from the centre of the Earth, because the figure of the Earth is not spherical. Sea level closer to the equator is several miles farther from the centre of the Earth. The summit of Chimborazo, Ecuador's tallest mountain, is usually considered to be the farthest point from the Earth's centre, although the southern summit of Peru's tallest mountain, Huascarán, is another contender. Both have elevations above sea level more than less than that of Everest.

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