Atlas Mountains

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Atlas Mountains
Tizi'n'Toubkal.jpg
Highest point
Peak Toubkal, Morocco
Elevation 4,167 m (13,671 ft)
Coordinates 31°03′43″N07°54′58″W / 31.06194°N 7.91611°W / 31.06194; -7.91611 Coordinates: 31°03′43″N07°54′58″W / 31.06194°N 7.91611°W / 31.06194; -7.91611
Geography
AtlasRange.jpg
Location of the Atlas Mountains (red) across North Africa
Countries Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia
Region Maghreb
Geology
Age of rock Precambrian

The Atlas Mountains (Arabic : جِبَال ٱلْأَطْلَس, romanized: jibāl al-ʾaṭlas /ʒibaːl al atˤlas/) are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, which is in central Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft). [1] The Atlas mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. [2] The terms for 'mountain' are adrar and adras in some Berber languages. These terms are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are also home to a number of animals and plants which are mostly found within Africa but some of which can be found in Europe. Many of these species are endangered and a few are already extinct.

Contents

Geology

Map showing the location of the Atlas Mountains across North Africa Atlas-Mountains-Labeled-2.jpg
Map showing the location of the Atlas Mountains across North Africa

The basement rock of most of Africa was formed during the Precambrian supereon and is much older than the Atlas Mountains lying on the continent. The Atlas was formed during three subsequent phases of Earth's geology.

The first tectonic deformation phase involves only the Anti-Atlas, which was formed in the Paleozoic Era (~300 million years ago) as the result of continental collisions. North America, Europe and Africa were connected millions of years ago.

The tectonic boundary Atlas Mountains tectonic plates.png
The tectonic boundary

The Anti-Atlas Mountains are believed to have originally been formed as part of Alleghenian orogeny. These mountains were formed when Africa and America collided, and were once a chain rivaling today's Himalayas. Today, the remains of this chain can be seen in the Fall Line region in the Eastern United States. Some remnants can also be found in the later formed Appalachians in North America.

A second phase took place during the Mesozoic Era (before ~66 My). It consisted of a widespread extension of the Earth's crust that rifted and separated the continents mentioned above. This extension was responsible for the formation of many thick intracontinental sedimentary basins including the present Atlas. Most of the rocks forming the surface of the present High Atlas were deposited under the ocean at that time.

Finally, in the Paleogene and Neogene Periods (~66 million to ~1.8 million years ago), the mountain chains that today constitute the Atlas were uplifted, as the land masses of Europe and Africa collided at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. Such convergent tectonic boundaries occur where two plates slide towards each other forming a subduction zone (if one plate moves underneath the other), and/or a continental collision (when the two plates contain continental crust). In the case of the Africa-Europe collision, it is clear that tectonic convergence is partially responsible for the formation of the High Atlas, as well as for the closure of the Strait of Gibraltar and the formation of the Alps and the Pyrenees. However, there is a lack of evidence for the nature of the subduction in the Atlas region, or for the thickening of the Earth's crust generally associated with continental collisions. In fact, one of the most striking features of the Atlas to geologists is the relative small amount of crustal thickening and tectonic shortening despite the important altitude of the mountain range. Recent studies suggest that deep processes rooted in the Earth's mantle may have contributed to the uplift of the High and Middle Atlas. [3] [4]

View of the mountains Atlas Mountain range.jpg
View of the mountains

Natural resources

The Atlas are rich in natural resources. There are deposits of iron ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt, phosphate, marble, anthracite coal and natural gas among other resources.

Subranges

Satellite photograph of the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains. North is at the bottom; the city of Goulmima can be seen at center left. Morocco High Atlas Mountains.jpg
Satellite photograph of the High Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains. North is at the bottom; the city of Goulmima can be seen at center left.

The range can be divided into four general regions:

Anti-Atlas

The Anti-Atlas extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest of Morocco toward the northeast to the heights of Ouarzazate and further east to the city of Tafilalt (altogether a distance of approximately 500 kilometres or 310 miles). In the south it borders the Sahara. The easternmost point of the anti-Atlas is the Jbel Saghro range and its northern boundary is flanked by sections of the High Atlas range. It includes the Djebel Siroua, a massif of volcanic origin with the highest summit of the range at 3,304 m. The Jebel Bani is a much lower range running along the southern side of the Anti Atlas. [5]

High Atlas

High Atlas, Morocco AtlasOasis.jpg
High Atlas, Morocco

The High Atlas in central Morocco rises in the west at the Atlantic coast and stretches in an eastern direction to the Moroccan-Algerian border. It has several peaks over 4,000 m (2.5 mi), including the highest summit in North Africa, Toubkal (4,167 m (13,671 ft)) and further east Ighil m'Goun (4,071 m (13,356 ft)) the second major summit of the range. At the Atlantic and to the southwest, the range drops abruptly and makes a transition to the coast and the Anti-Atlas range. To the north, in the direction of Marrakesh, the range descends less abruptly. On the heights of Ouarzazate the massif is cut through by the Draa Valley which opens southward. It is mainly inhabited by Berber people, who live in small villages and cultivate the high plains of the Ourika Valley. Near Barrage Cavagnac [6] there is a hydroelectric dam that has created the artificial lake Lalla Takerkoust. The lake serves also as a source for fish for the local fishermen.

The largest villages and towns of the area are Ouarzazate, Tahannaout, Amizmiz, Imlil, Tin Mal and Ijoukak.

Panoramic picture of the artificial lake of Lalla Takerkoust near Barrage Cavagnac, with the hydroelectric dam (far right) Lake of Barrage Couvagnac Panoramic.jpg
Panoramic picture of the artificial lake of Lalla Takerkoust near Barrage Cavagnac, with the hydroelectric dam (far right)

Middle Atlas

The Middle Atlas is completely in Morocco and is the northernmost of its three main Atlas ranges. The range lies north of the High Atlas, separated by the Moulouya and Oum Er-Rbia rivers, and south of the Rif mountains, separated by the Sebou River. To the west are the main coastal plains of Morocco with many of the major cities and, to the east, the high barren plateau that lies between the Saharan and Tell Atlas. The high point of the range is the jbel Bou Naceur (3340m). The Middle Atlas experiences more rain than the ranges to the south, making it an important water catchment for the coastal plains and important for biodiversity. It is home to the majority of the world's population of Barbary macaque.

Snow on Atlas Mountains in Morocco on 9 January 2018 Atlas Mountains 2018009rgb.jpg
Snow on Atlas Mountains in Morocco on 9 January 2018

Saharan Atlas

The Saharan Atlas of Algeria is the eastern portion of the Atlas mountain range. Though not as high as the Grand Atlas, they are far more imposing than the Tell Atlas range that runs to the north of them and closer to the coast. The highest peak in the range is the 2,236 m (7,336 ft) high Djebel Aissa. They mark the northern edge of the Sahara Desert. The mountains see some rainfall and are better suited to agriculture than the plateau region to the north. Today, most of the population of the region are Berbers (Imazighen).[ citation needed ]

Tell Atlas

Panoramic view of typical Berber village in the Moroccan part of the High Atlas Panoramic view of typical Berber village (Morocco - High Atlas Mountains).jpg
Panoramic view of typical Berber village in the Moroccan part of the High Atlas

The Tell Atlas is a mountain chain over 1,500 kilometres (930 mi) in length, belonging to the Atlas mountain ranges and stretching from Morocco, through Algeria to Tunisia. It parallels the Mediterranean coast and forms the northernmost of two more or less parallel ranges which gradually approach one another towards the east. The southernmost of the two ranges is the Saharan Atlas, and the two merge in eastern Algeria,the mains moutains are situated in kabylia region, the djurdjura and biban, with babor (tala guilef) . The western end of the Tell Atlas is near the Middle Atlas range in Morocco. The area immediately to the south of the Tell Atlas is the high plateau of the Hautes Plaines, with lakes in the wet season and salt flats in the dry.

Aurès

Aures Mountains Hammam Essalhine Aquae Flaviane Khenchela Mont View 2.jpg
Aures Mountains

The Aurès Mountains are the easternmost portion of the Atlas mountain range. It covers parts of Algeria and Tunisia. The Aurès natural region is named after the range. [7]

Flora and fauna

A male Barbary lion photographed in Algeria by Alfred Edward Pease in 1893. Barbary lion.jpg
A male Barbary lion photographed in Algeria by Alfred Edward Pease in 1893.

Flora in the mountains include the Atlas cedar, [9] evergreen oak and many semi-evergreen oaks such as the Algerian oak.

Examples of animals that live in the area include the Barbary macaque, [10] Barbary leopard, [11] Barbary stag, Barbary sheep, Atlas Mountain badger, Cuvier's gazelle, northern bald ibis, Algerian nuthatch, dipper, and Atlas mountain viper.

Many animals used to inhabit the Atlas mountains such as the Atlas bear, [12] North African elephant, North African aurochs and bubal hartebeest, Atlas wild ass, [13] but these subspecies are all extinct. Barbary lions [8] are currently extinct in the wild, but descendants exist in captivity. [14] [15] [16]

See also

https://www.pinterest.fr/pin/373658100304980747/

References and notes

  1. "Atlas Mountains - Students | Britannica Kids | Homework Help". kids.britannica.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  2. "Atlas Mountains: Facts and Location | Study.com". Study.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  3. UAB.es [ permanent dead link ] Potential field modelling of the Atlas lithosphere
  4. UAB.es [ permanent dead link ]Crustal structure under the central High Atlas Mountains (Morocco) from geological and gravity data, P. Ayarza, et al., 2005, Tectonophysics, 400, 67-84
  5. "du Djebel Sarho aux dunes de Merzouga". vchery.free.fr. Retrieved 2021-01-19.
  6. French : L'INGÉNIEUR CAVAGNAC, un nom bien connu des Anciens de Marrakech...
  7. Algeria - Ethnic Groups and Languages
  8. 1 2 Pease, A. E. (1913). "The Distribution of Lions". The Book of the Lion. London: John Murray. pp. 109−147.
  9. Gaussen, H. (1964). Genre Cedrus. Les Formes Actuelles. Trav. Lab. For. Toulouse T2 V1 11: 295-320
  10. Van Lavieren, E. (2012). The Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus); A unique endangered primate species struggling to survive. Revista Eubacteria, (30): 1–4.
  11. Emmanuel, John (September 1982). "A Survey of Population and Habitat of the Barbary Macaqu Macaca Sylvanus L. In North Morocco". Biological Conservation. 24 (1): 45–66. doi:10.1016/0006-3207(82)90046-5.
  12. Johnston, H. H. (1899). Bryden, H. A. (ed.). Great and small game of Africa. London: Rowland Ward Ltd. pp. 544–608.
  13. Des Roses Moehlman, Patricia (2002). Equids: Zebras, Asses, and Horses: Status Survey and Conservation Action plan. Cambridge: IUCN. p. 2. ISBN   9782831706474.
  14. Yamaguchi, N.; Haddane, B. (2002). "The North African Barbary Lion and the Atlas Lion Project". International Zoo News. 49 (8): 465–481.
  15. Burger, J.; Hemmer, H. (2006). "Urgent call for further breeding of the relic zoo population of the critically endangered Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo Linnaeus 1758)" (PDF). European Journal of Wildlife Research. 52 (1): 54–58. doi:10.1007/s10344-005-0009-z. S2CID   30407194. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-07-03. Retrieved 2007-04-04.
  16. Black, S.; Yamaguchi, N.; Harland, A. & Groombridge, J. (2010). "Maintaining the genetic health of putative Barbary lions in captivity: an analysis of Moroccan Royal Lions" (PDF). European Journal of Wildlife Research. 56 (1): 21–31. doi:10.1007/s10344-009-0280-5. S2CID   44941372.

Related Research Articles

Geography of Algeria

Algeria comprises 2,381,740 square kilometres (919,590 sq mi) square kilometers of land, more than four-fifths of which is desert, in northern Africa, between Morocco and Tunisia. It is the largest country in Africa. Its Arabic name, Al Jazair, is believed to derive from the rocky islands along the Mediterranean coastline. The northern portion, an area of mountains, valleys, and plateaus between the Mediterranean Sea and the Sahara Desert, forms an integral part of the section of North Africa known as the Maghreb. This area includes Morocco, Tunisia, and the northwestern portion of Libya known historically as Tripolitania.

Geography of Tunisia

Tunisia is a country in Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, having a western border with Algeria (965 km) and south-eastern border with Libya (459 km) where the width of land tapers to the south-west into the Sahara. The country has north, east and complex east-to-north coasts including the curved Gulf of Gabès, which forms the western part of Africa's Gulf of Sidra. Most of this greater gulf forms the main coast of Libya including the city of Sirte which shares its root name. The country's geographic coordinates are 34°00′N9°00′E. Tunisia occupies an area of 163,610 square kilometres, of which 8,250 are water. The principal and reliable rivers rise in the north of the country with a few notable exceptions from north-east Algeria and flow through the northern plain where sufficient rainfall supports diverse plant cover and irrigated agriculture.

Maghreb Major region of North Africa; western half of Arab world

The Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa, the Arab Maghreb is the western part of North Africa and the Arab World. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. The Maghreb also includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Ceuta and Melilla. As of 2018, the region had a population of over 100 million people.

Kabylia Region of northern Algeria inhabited by Kabyle people

Kabylia is a cultural, natural and historical region in northern Algeria and the homeland of the Kabyle people. It is part of the Tell Atlas mountain range and is located at the edge of the Mediterranean Sea.

Barbary macaque Species of Old World monkey

The Barbary macaque, also known as Barbary ape or magot, is a macaque species native to the Atlas Mountains of Algeria and Morocco along with a small introduced population in Gibraltar.

Barbary lion Extinct lion population in North Africa

The Barbary lion is an extinct Panthera leo leo population that lived in North Africa from Morocco to Egypt, especially in the mountains and deserts of the Barbary Coast. It was eradicated following the spread of firearms and bounties for shooting lions. A comprehensive review of hunting and sighting records revealed that small groups of lions may have survived in Algeria until the early 1960s, and in Morocco until the mid-1960s. Today, it is locally extinct in this region.

Aurès Mountains

The Aures Mountains are an eastern prolongation of the Atlas Mountain System that lies to the east of the Saharan Atlas in northeastern Algeria and northwestern Tunisia, North Africa. The mountain range gives its name to the mountainous natural and historical region of the Aures.

Saharan Atlas

The Saharan Atlas is a range of the Atlas Mountain System. It is located mainly in Algeria, with its eastern end in Tunisia. Although not as tall as the High Atlas of Morocco its summits are more imposing than the Tell Atlas range that runs parallel closer to the coast. The tallest peak in the range is the 2,236 m (7,336 ft) high Djebel Aissa in the Ksour Range.

High Atlas

High Atlas, also called the Grand Atlas, is a mountain range in central Morocco, North Africa, the highest part of the Atlas Mountains.

Anti-Atlas

The Anti-Atlas, Lesser Atlas or Little Atlas is a mountain range in Morocco, a part of the Atlas Mountains in the northwest of Africa. The Anti-Atlas extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the southwest toward the northeast, to the heights of Ouarzazate and further east to the city of Tafilalt, altogether a distance of approximately 500 km. The range borders on the Sahara to the south.

Tell Atlas

The Tell Atlas is a mountain chain over 1,500 km (932 mi) in length, belonging to the Atlas mountain ranges in North Africa, stretching mainly across northern Algeria, with ends in both north-eastern Morocco and north-western Tunisia.

Middle Atlas

The Middle Atlas is a mountain range in Morocco. It is part of the Atlas mountain range, a mountainous region with more than 100,000 km2, 15 percent of its landmass, rising above 2,000 metres. The Middle Atlas is the northernmost and second highest of three main Atlas Mountains chains of Morocco. To south, separated by the Moulouya and Um Er-Rbiâ rivers, lies the High Atlas. The Middle Atlas form the westernmost end of a large plateaued basin extending eastward into Algeria, also bounded by the Tell Atlas to the north and the Saharan Atlas to the south, both lying largely in Algeria. North of the Middle Atlas and separated by the Sebou River, lie the Rif mountains which are an extension of the Baetic System, which includes the Sierra Nevada in the south of Spain. The basin of the Sebou is not only the primary transportation route between Atlantic Morocco and Mediterranean Morocco but is an area, watered by the Middle Atlas range, that constitutes the principal agricultural region of the country.

Permanent Maghreb

The Permanent Maghreb of World Wide Fund for Nature is a freshwater ecoregion of North Africa.

Mediterranean woodlands and forests

The Mediterranean woodlands and forests is an ecoregion in the coastal plains, hills, and mountains bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean in North Africa. It has a Mediterranean climate, and is in the Mediterranean forests, woodlands, and scrub biome.

Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests

Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests is an ecoregion, in the temperate coniferous forest biome, which occupies the high mountain ranges of North Africa. The term is also a botanically recognized plant association in the African and Mediterranean literature.

Babor Mountains

The Babor Range is a mountain range of the Tell Atlas in Algeria. The highest point of the range is 2,004 m high Mount Babor.

Jbel Saghro

The Jbel Saghro or Djebel Sahrho is a mountain range in southern Morocco. It is located south of the High Atlas and east of the Anti-Atlas in the northwest of Africa, northeast of Taliouine and southwest of Ouarzazate.

Tunisia, officially the Tunisian Republic, is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area is almost 165,000 square kilometres (64,000 sq mi), with an estimated population of just over 10.4 million. Its name is derived from the capital Tunis located in the north-east.

Belezma Range

The Belezma Range, also transliterated as Belzma, is a prolongation of the Aurès Mountains, at the confluence of the Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas in northeastern Algeria. It is separated from the main Aurès Range by the Batna-El Kantara basin.

The geology of Morocco formed beginning up to two billion years ago, in the Paleoproterozoic and potentially even earlier. It was affected by the Pan-African orogeny, although the later Hercynian orogeny produced fewer changes and left the Maseta Domain, a large area of remnant Paleozoic massifs. During the Paleozoic, extensive sedimentary deposits preserved marine fossils. Throughout the Mesozoic, the rifting apart of Pangaea to form the Atlantic Ocean created basins and fault blocks, which were blanketed in terrestrial and marine sediments—particularly as a major marine transgression flooded much of the region. In the Cenozoic, a microcontinent covered in sedimentary rocks from the Triassic and Cretaceous collided with northern Morocco, forming the Rif region. Morocco has extensive phosphate and salt reserves, as well as resources such as lead, zinc, copper and silver.