World Facts

The Longest Mountain Ranges in the World

The mid-ocean range is the world's longest mountain range.

Mountain ranges refer to a chain or group of mountains in the same locality or located close together. Unlike neighbouring mountains, mountain ranges have similar age, size, form, and the same geological origins. Mountain ranges are formed when parts of the earth’s crust known as plates collide in a process known as plate tectonics and bulge up more like the hood of a car involved in a head-on collision accident. The Himalaya mountain ranges, for instance, were formed in such a process about 55 million years ago, and 30 of the highest mountains in the world are found in the Himalaya Mountain ranges. Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, rises to 29,035 feet tall. However, the tallest mountain measure from the bottom to the top is an inactive volcano, Mount Kea on the island of Hawaii. From the base to the summit, mount Mauna Kea stands at 33,474 feet tall, although only 13,796 feet is above the sea level.

10. Mid-ocean Ridge - 40,389 km

The Mid-ocean ridge is a mountain range found under the sea and it is the longest covering a distance of 25,097 miles. The ranges were formed when the seafloor plates move away from each other as the magma rises and overflow. The drifting of the plates is attributed to volcanic eruptions taking under the sea. As the ocean floor moves away from each other, new floors are made and this increases the height of the ocean. The Mid-ocean ridges of all of the world’s oceans are connected. This makes the mid-ocean ridge the longest mountain range.

9. Andes - 7,000 km

Sunrise view of the Argentinian Andes from Mt. Aconcagua.

The Andes is the world’s longest mountain range on land covering a distance of 4,300 miles with an average width of 124 miles. The highest point of the range is Aconcagua and is 22,841 feet high. The Andes is found in the West coast of South America and they pass through seven countries. The countries are Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The Andes is divided into three climatic regions of the dry, tropical, and wet Andes. The biggest cities in the Andes are Bogota, Medellin, and Santiago de Chile. Cotton, coffee and tobacco are farmed in the Andes for export. Despite Coca being banned in other countries the people of the Andes still plant it for local use. The Andes of Chile and Peru contain copper mines with Peru also containing the largest goldmine in the world. The highest peaks of the Andes include Aconcagua, Cerro Bonete, Galan, Mercedario, and Pissis. The highest volcanoes in the world are in the Andes, and they are Ojos del Salado found on the border between Argentina and Chile, rising to 22,615 feet.

8. Rocky Mountains - 4,830 km

#8 Rocky Mountains - 4,830 km

The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are found in North America and cover a distance of 3,000 miles long. The highest point of the ranges is Mount Elbert in Colorado rising to 14,440 feet. The mountains have a width ranging from 70 miles in the narrowest part to 300 miles in the widest point. There are several minerals found in the mountains including lead, copper, molybdenum, gold, and silver. The Rockies is also a source of natural gas. The Rocky Mountains are a popular tourist attraction and are made up of forests, while other parts are national parks.

7. Great Diving Range - 3,500 km

Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Australia.

The great divide mountain range is found in Australia and is also known as the Eastern Highlands. The range stretches through Queensland, Victoria, and New South Wales covering a distance of 2,200 miles and has a width ranging from 100 to 190 miles. The peak of the range is 7,310 feet high and is named Mount Kosciuszko or the Snowy Mountains. The Great Dividing Range is named as it forms a drainage divide of rivers flowing through the range. Rivers on the east side drain to the Pacific Ocean and those to the south drain into Bass Strait, while those on the west and south drain into the Murray Darling water system. Farming is carried out in some parts of the ranges that are relatively flat while some of the parts that were not developed are part of the continent’s national parks.

6. Transantarctic Mountains - 3,500 km

#6 Transantarctic Mountains - 3,500 km

The Transantarctic Mountains is found in Antarctica and covers a distance of of 2,200 miles long. The range divides East and West Antarctica, and the peak of the ranges is Mount Kirkpatrick and measures 14,865 feet high. Captain James Clark Ross was the first to see the ranges from the Ross Sea in 1841. The only animal life in Antarctica is found along the Ross seashores. The mountains are volcanic in nature and are the oldest of all the ranges in the world.

5. Kunlun Mountains - 3,000 km

Yuzhu Peak of the eastern Kunlun Mountains.

The Kunlun Mountains are found in China and is one of the longest mountain ranges in Asia covering a distance of 1,900 miles long. The mountains pass through the three provinces of Qinghai, Tibet, and Xinjiang. Kunlun borders the Gobi desert and has only two roads going through it. The peak of the range measure 23,514 feet high and is known as Liushi Shan or the Kunlun goddess. The mountain range is located on the Xinjiang and Tibet border.

4. Ural Mountains - 2,500 km

#4 Ural Mountains - 2,500 km

The Ural Mountains range pass through the Western side of Russia to Kazakhstan, and covers a distance of 1,600 miles long. The highest peak is Mount Narodnaya reaching 6,217 feet high. The range is 93 miles wide and has several minerals such as coal, metal ore, and precious stones. The mineral resources have contributed significantly to the Russian economy. The ranges form part of the boundary between Asia and Europe.

3. Atlas Mountains - 2,500 km

Mountains of the Atlas range in Morocco.

The Atlas Mountain ranges are found in North Africa extending through Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco and cover a distance of 1,600 miles long. The highest point of the range is in Morocco, it measures 13,671 feet high and is named Toubkal. The mountains separate the Atlantic and Mediterranean shorelines from the Sahara desert. The mountain is largely inhabited by the Berbers and is a big tourist attraction site in Africa.

2. Appalachian Mountains - 2,414 km

#2 Appalachian Mountains - 2,414 km

The Appalachian Mountain ranges are found in the Eastern part of North America covering a distance of 1,500 miles, while they are 100 to 300 miles wide. The highest peak is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina and stands 6,684 feet high. The ranges pass through Canada, the US, and the islands of Miguel on and Saint Pierre. Squirrels, wild turkey, beavers and a many other animals inhabit the mountains.

1. Himalayas - 2,400 km

#1 Himalayas - 2,400 km

The Himalayas mountain ranges are found in Asia and cover a distance of 1,500 miles long. The name Himalaya Mountains means the land of snow and the range is largely made of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. The peak of the mountains is Mount Everest which is 29,029 feet high and is found on the border of Nepal and China. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world. The range has over 50 mountains that are over 23 feet high. Himalayas has a population of 52.7 million and it stretches across the countries of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Pakistan, and China. The rivers Ganges, Indus, and Tsangpo Brahmaputra rise in the ranges to form a catchment area.

More in World Facts