The Greater and the Lesser Caucasus together constitute the Caucasus Mountains which lie between the Caspian and the Black Sea. The mountain range acts as part of the natural physical boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia. It hosts the highest mountain range in Europe, Mount Elbrus, which is higher than Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps in Europe.
The Caucasus mountains were formed due to tectonic plate movements. The collision of two plates triggered folding of the crust that resulted in the Caucasus mountain range formation. The plate collisions triggered volcanic activity in the region and volcanic features are thus present in parts of the Caucasus mountain range today. The area is also susceptible to earthquakes due to plate tectonics being active in the region.
The Highest Peaks In The Caucasus Mountain Range
1. Mount Elbrus
The Caucasus Mountain Range’s highest peak is the highest peak in Europe. It is the 18,510 ft tall Mount Elbrus. The mountain, a dormant volcano, is located in Russia near the Russia-Georgia border. The two volcanic domes of Mount Elbrus constitute its two summits with the western summit being higher than the eastern one. The lower summit is 18,442 ft tall and was first summited in 1829. The taller, western summit was first ascended in 1874 by an expedition team from Britain.
Located in Russia, near the country’s border with Georgia, Dykh-Tau is the second tallest peak in the Caucasus mountain range. The peak is 17,077 ft tall and was first summited in 1888. Its name means the “Jagged Mount.”
The third highest peak in the Caucasus mountain range, the Shkhara is 17,060 ft tall. It is located in Georgia and is the nation’s highest point. Shkhara is heavily glaciated and is difficult to climb. It thus has some of Europe’s most difficult climbing routes. A British/Swiss team was the first to climb to the top of the Shkhara in 1888.
The Koshtan-Tau peak has an elevation of 16,877 ft. It is the Koshtan mountain’s highest peak and is located near Russia’s border with Georgia. In 1889, a team led by Herman Woolley was the first to summit the peak.
The fifth tallest summit in the Caucasus mountain range, the Jangi-Tau is 16,572 ft above sea level. Large glaciers cover the slopes of the mountain which is located in the central part of the Caucasus range. Dormant volcanoes remain hidden beneath the ice-covered facade of the Janga.