Everything below the equator, which is zero degrees latitude, is part of the Earth's Southern Hemisphere. There are many different mountain ranges in the Southern Hemisphere. Some mountains are more than 10,000 feet tall and many have snowy peaks or even glaciers. These mountains can be found in Antarctica, near the equator, and everywhere in between.
Mountains in South America
There are many mountain ranges on the South American continent. The Andes Mountains are the largest and the most well-known, stretching more than 5,500 miles. The Andes also contain South America's highest peak, Mount Aconcagua, which rises to 22,831 feet on the border of Argentina and Chile. The Andes are made up of multiple smaller mountain ranges, including the Cordillera Oriental and the Cordillera Occidental, which both run from north to south. The Andes Mountains were formed through global plate tectonic movement around 65 million years ago.
The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is another significant mountain range in South America. It covers an area of 6,500 square miles in the shape of a pyramid. The highest peak in this mountain range is Pico Simon Bolivar with an elevation of 18,799 feet. The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is among the world's highest coastal mountain ranges and was created through plate tectonic movements during the Mesozoic Era, approximately 250 million years ago. Today, the mountain range is home to pristine forests and granite formations, and serves as the source of thirty-six different rivers.
Mountains in Africa
Significant mountains are spread across the African continent. Many of them were formed through volcanic processes, while others were formed through the cracking and pushing of the earth's crust. The most famous mountain in Africa (and the tallest, at 19,341 feet) is Mount Kilimanjaro. Kilimanjaro is also one of the world's largest volcanoes, as well as being the world's tallest free-standing mountain, with an area of more than 1,500 square miles.
Two other notable mountains on the continent can also be found in eastern Africa. Mount Kenya is an extinct volcano that rises above the Kenyan highlands. The Rwenzori range of mountains are older than Mount Kilimanjaro or Mount Kenya, and were created during the formation of the Great Rift Valley. All of these mountains have glaciers, though with our warming climate they likely will not last forever.
Mountains in New Zealand
Mountain ranges in New Zealand can be found on both the north and south islands of the country. On the South Island, there are more than 24 mountains with elevations of 9,000 feet or more. At 12,218 feet tall, New Zealand's tallest mountain is Aoraki (also known as Mt. Cook).
There are also more than 3,000 glaciers or permanent snow patches on the South Island. Aoraki/Mt. Cook is part of the Southern Alps, a mountain range that stretches for more than 300 miles.
Mountains make up about 20% of the North Island of New Zealand. The three highest peaks are Mt. Ruapehu (9,177 feet), Mt. Taranaki/Mt. Egmont (8,261 feet), and Mt. Ngauruhoe (7,516 feet). All three of these peaks are volcanoes.
Mountains in Antarctica
In Antarctica, the Transantarctic Mountains stretch for more than 2,000 miles across the continent, dividing it into eastern and western portions. Most of the mountain range passes through regions covered by an ice sheet and other large glaciers. Mount Kirkpatrick is the highest mountain on the continent at 14,856 feet. There is also a shorter mountain range called the Gamburtzev Mountains. These mountains are unique because they are a subglacial range. This means they are completely buried by more 1,970 feet of ice, even though the tallest mountain in the range is 11,120 feet tall.
About the Author
Lindsey is finishing her M.S. Environmental Conservation degree at the University of Wisconsin Madison. She spent four summers communicating science in Denali National Park and has continued to search for ways to communicate science in and outside of work. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, backpacking, making music, and sitting around the campfire.
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