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A mountain range is a chain of mountains bordered by highlands or separated from other mountains by passes or valleys. Individual mountains within the same mountain range do not necessarily have the same geology, though they often do; they may be a mix of different orogeny, for example volcanoes, uplifted mountains or fold mountains and may, therefore, be of different rock. The Himalaya Rangemarker contains the highest mountains on the Earth's surface, the highest of which is Mount Everestmarker. The world's longest mountain range is Ocean Ridge, which runs on the seafloor of five oceans around the world; it has a length of , and the total length of the system is . The Andes is the world's longest mountain range on the surface of a continent; it is in length. The Arctic Cordillera is the world's northernmost mountain system and contains the highest point in eastern North America.


The mountain systems of the earth are characterized by a tree structure, that is, many mountain ranges have sub-ranges within them. It can be thought of as a parent-child relationship. For example, the Appalachian Mountains rangemarker is the parent of other ranges that comprise it, some of which are the White Mountainsmarker and the Blue Ridge Mountains. The White Mountains are a child of the Appalachians, and there are also children of the Whites, including the Sandwich Range and the Presidential Rangemarker. Further, the Presidential Range can be broken up into the Northern Presidential Range and Southern Presidential Range.For more information, see List of mountain ranges and Peakbagger Ranges Home Page.


The position of mountains influence climate, such as rain or snow. When air masses move up and over mountains, the air cools producing orographic precipitation (rain or snow). As the air descends on the leeward side, it warms again (in accordance with the adiabatic lapse rate) and is drier, having been stripped of much of its moisture. Often, a rain shadow will affect the leeward side of a range.

Mountains location also affects temperature. If the sun is shining from the east, then the eastern side of the mountain will receive sunlight and warmth, while the other side will be shaded and cooled, so certain ecosystems maintain different biological clocks depending on the location of a mountain.


Uplifted regions or volcanic caps can undergo erosion, which makes them move resulting in a range of mountains. An example is the English Lake Districtmarker. Mountain streams carry eroded debris downhill and deposit it in alluvial plains or in deltas. This forms the classical geological chain of events, leading to one type of sedimentary rock formation: erosion, transportation, deposition and compaction.

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