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**Geography and Formation:**
– The Alps extend in an arc from France to Slovenia, covering areas in Austria, Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, and Monaco.
– The mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5km.
– The Alpine region was formed over tens of millions of years as tectonic plates collided, causing extreme shortening and the rise of marine sedimentary rocks into high mountain peaks.
– The age of rock in the Alps is classified as Tertiary, with rock types including Bündner schist, flysch, and molasse.
– The Alps are subdivided into Western, Eastern, and Southern Alps based on lithology and orogenic events.

**Climate, Ecology, and Wildlife:**
– The altitude and size of the Alps influence the climate in Europe, creating distinct climatic zones with varying precipitation levels.
– The Alps have a diverse range of flora and fauna due to the varying elevations and climates.
– Alpine plants are grouped by habitat and soil type, with thirteen thousand identified plant species in the region.
– The habitats in the Alps range from meadows to rock faces and ridges, supporting various vegetation types like deciduous trees and dwarf pine trees.
Wildlife such as ibex and plants like edelweiss can be found in the higher peaks of the Alps.

**History, Culture, and Transportation:**
– Evidence of human habitation in the Alps dates back to the Palaeolithic era, with the region having a strong cultural identity tied to traditional practices like farming and cheesemaking.
– The Alps have been crossed for various purposes like war, commerce, pilgrimage, education, and tourism, with important passes including Col de l’Iseran, Brenner Pass, and Great St. Bernard Pass.
– The region saw a surge of naturalists, writers, and artists in the 18th and 19th centuries, contributing to the cultural significance of the Alps.
– Various tunnels and railway lines have been constructed to facilitate transportation through the Alps, connecting regions like Austria, Italy, France, and Switzerland.

**Glaciers, Rivers, and Lakes:**
– Mountains in the Alps underwent severe erosion due to glaciation in the Miocene Epoch, with glaciers shaping the landscape and contributing to valley formation.
– The Alps provide lowland Europe with water, irrigation, and hydroelectric power, with rivers like the Rhine and Rhône having headwaters in the region.
– Glaciers in the Alps exhibit various shapes like rivers, fans, and curtains of ice, with moraines accumulating at glacier edges and terminus.
– Alpine runoff from the mountains supports diverse ecosystems and tourism, with major European rivers like the Rhône and Rhine originating from the Alps.

**Minerals, Highest Mountains, and Climate Change Impact:**
– The Alps are a source of minerals like iron ore, cinnabar, amethyst, and quartz, mined for thousands of years in regions like Styria and Slovenia.
– The UIAA has identified 82 official Alpine summits reaching at least 4,000m, with significant geological concepts established while studying the rock formations of the Alps.
Climate change projections expect increased temperatures affecting snowfall and river runoff in the Alps, with observed changes in snow cover duration and models predicting further reductions in snowpack and glaciation due to climate change.

Alps (Wikipedia)

The Alps (/ælps/) are one of the highest and most extensive mountain ranges in Europe, stretching approximately 1,200 km (750 mi) across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): Monaco, France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Germany, Austria and Slovenia.

Satellite view of the Alps
Highest point
PeakMont Blanc
Elevation4,808.73 m (15,776.7 ft)
ListingList of mountain ranges
Coordinates45°49′58″N 06°51′54″E / 45.83278°N 6.86500°E / 45.83278; 6.86500
Length1,200 km (750 mi)
Width250 km (160 mi)
Area200,000 km2 (77,000 sq mi)
Native name
Relief of the Alps. See also map with international borders marked.
Range coordinates46°35′N 8°37′E / 46.58°N 8.62°E / 46.58; 8.62
OrogenyAlpine orogeny
Age of rockTertiary
Type of rock
The Dolomites (Italy) are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Alpine arch extends from Nice on the western Mediterranean to Trieste on the Adriatic and Vienna at the beginning of the Pannonian Basin. The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided. Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.

Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,809 m (15,778 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps. The Alpine region area contains 128 peaks higher than 4,000 m (13,000 ft).

The altitude and size of the range affect the climate in Europe; in the mountains, precipitation levels vary greatly and climatic conditions consist of distinct zones. Wildlife such as ibex live in the higher peaks to elevations of 3,400 m (11,155 ft), and plants such as edelweiss grow in rocky areas in lower elevations as well as in higher elevations.

Evidence of human habitation in the Alps goes back to the Palaeolithic era. A mummified man ("Ötzi"), determined to be 5,000 years old, was discovered on a glacier at the Austrian–Italian border in 1991.

By the 6th century BC, the Celtic La Tène culture was well established. Hannibal notably crossed the Alps with a herd of elephants, and the Romans had settlements in the region. In 1800, Napoleon crossed one of the mountain passes with an army of 40,000. The 18th and 19th centuries saw an influx of naturalists, writers, and artists, in particular, the Romanticists, followed by the golden age of alpinism as mountaineers began to ascend the peaks of the Alps.

The Alpine region has a strong cultural identity. Traditional practices such as farming, cheesemaking, and woodworking still thrive in Alpine villages. However, the tourist industry began to grow early in the 20th century and expanded significantly after World War II, eventually becoming the dominant industry by the end of the century.

The Winter Olympic Games have been hosted in the Swiss, French, Italian, Austrian and German Alps. As of 2010, the region is home to 14 million people and has 120 million annual visitors.

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