• This page: Natural Feature: Mountain
  • Status : Complete 90% examples to be added.]
  • First published: 01 Nov 2018

Feature: Mountain

An image gallery of mountains [Source: Flickr - can be viewed at full screen]

Mountain - a description

Descriptive name

There is no overall agreed definition. The following "A large natural elevation of the earth's surface rising abruptly from the surrounding level; a large steep hill" [Oxford English Dictionary] appears to as good as any. The boundary between hill and mountain being suitably vague.

Distinctive Names

Some well known mountains:

  • Mt Everest*, Nepal/China - 8,848m
  • Mt Robson*, Canada - 3,954m
  • Aoraki /Mt Cook, New Zealand - 3,724m
  • Yr Wyddfa /Snowdon, Wales - 1,056m

* no universally agreed local name


The height of a mountain (in particular) attracts a lot of attention - but what does it mean? The height above sea level might be one answer - but the heigth of what point? relative to sea level where? and at what time? even "mean" sea levels are rarely static. The mountain itself only exists because lateral pressure has buckled the land and this process has raised a section up - and that process has not stopped.

Reference to the local geoidal surface is the only practical solution based on many observations resulting in an estimate. It is a relative distance.

Mountain - publication examples

A selection of maps and other types of example describing mountain(s).

Relief Map

sitetype missing

Source: 1946 OS 1:250,000 map of North Wales

Common on early coloured small scale maps - the tints indicate different levels of land above sea level. While effective at this scale/resolution of map the colours can conflict with other map features. The colour densities therefore have to be carefully chosen to minimise this problem.


Last Updated: 18 Mar 2018
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29 October 2019