Tell Atlas

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Tell Atlas
View of the southern slopes of the Haizer Range in the Djurdjura Mountains
Highest point
Peak Lalla Khedidja
Elevation 2,308 m (7,572 ft)
Coordinates 36°0′0″N2°0′0″E / 36.00000°N 2.00000°E / 36.00000; 2.00000 Coordinates: 36°0′0″N2°0′0″E / 36.00000°N 2.00000°E / 36.00000; 2.00000 [1]
Length1,500 km (930 mi)E/W
Width115 km (71 mi)N/S
Native nameالاطلس التلي'  (Arabic)
Algeria relief location map.jpg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
Tell Atlas
Country Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia
Parent range Atlas Mountains
Orogeny Alpine orogeny
Age of rock Miocene
Type of rock Crystalline metamorphic
First ascent unknown
Easiest route drive
Location of the Atlas Mountains across North Africa Atlas-Mountains-Labeled-2.jpg
Location of the Atlas Mountains across North Africa

The Tell Atlas (Arabic : الاطلس التلي) is a mountain chain over 1,500 km (932 mi) in length, belonging to the Atlas mountain ranges in North Africa, stretching from Morocco, through Algeria to Tunisia.


The ranges of this system have an average elevations of about 1,500 m (4,900 ft) and form a natural barrier between the Mediterranean and the Sahara. Its highest summit is the 2,308 m (7,572 ft) high Lalla Khedidja in the Jurjura Range. [2]

Several large cities such as the Algerian capital, Algiers, with ~1,500,000 residents (2005) and Oran with ~770,000 residents (2005) lie at the base of the Tell Atlas. The Algerian city Constantine with approximately 505,000 residents (2005) lies 80 km inland and directly in the mountains at 650 meters in elevation. A number of smaller towns and villages are situated within the Tell; for example, Chiffa is nestled within the Chiffa gorge.


The Tell Atlas runs parallel to the Mediterranean coast. Together with the Saharan Atlas to the south, it forms the northernmost of two more or less parallel ranges which approach one another towards the east, remaining quite distinct from one another in Western Algeria and merging in Eastern Algeria. At the western end, it ends at the Rif and Middle Atlas ranges in Morocco. The Tell Atlas is also a distinct physiographic section of the larger Atlas Mountains province, which in turn is part of the larger African Alpine System physiographic division.

The Tell Atlas and the Saharan Atlas form two natural barriers, the first against the Mediterranean and the second against the Sahara. Between them lies the valley of the Chelif and various lesser rivers.

South of the Tell Atlas is the high plateau of the Hautes Plaines (~1000 m in elevation) with level terrain where water collects during the wet season, forming large shallow salt lakes which become salt flats as they dry. Agriculture includes grazing of sheep and goats on the grass in better-watered high plateau areas and some farming; dry-land barley is grown there. [3]

The Chelif is a 725 km long river with headwaters in the Tell Atlas to its discharge into the Mediterranean. The Chelif is characterized by an extremely fertile valley. Other noteworthy rivers having their sources in this range are the Medjerda and the Seybouse River. Only seasonal streams are found flowing south from the Tell Atlas.

Climate and vegetation

The Tell Atlas enjoys a typical Mediterranean climate, warm with dry summers and mild, rainy winters with snow at upper elevations. As a consequence, the northern slopes of the Tell Atlas are forested with the endemic Abies numidica , and Atlas cedar, pine, and cork oak. In the summer a hot, dry wind, the Sirocco, blows north from the Sahara across the Tell Atlas, causing dusty, dry conditions along the northern coast of Africa.

Despite the arid climate, some agriculture for barley and wheat farming is found in the Tell Atlas region. [4] The Chiffa gorge is situated within the Tell Atlas; this location is one of the few remaining habitats for the endangered primate, the Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus. [5]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Wildlife of Morocco

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Djurdjura National Park

The national park of Djurdjura is one of the national parks of Algeria. It is located in Kabylie and is named after the Djurdjura Range of the Tell Atlas.

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Chréa Commune and town in Blida Province, Algeria

Chrea is a town in Algeria, located in Blida Province, Ouled Yaïch District, in a mountainous area named Tell Atlas, near Blida.

<i>Fraxinus dimorpha</i> Species of ash tree

Fraxinus dimorpha is a species of ash tree native to Morocco and Algeria in Northern Africa. An example occurrence of F. dimorpha is the Ourika River Valley, which is also the sole location within the High Atlas Range where the endangered primate Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus is known to occur, is the southernmost species of the genus in the world.

Chiffa Commune and town in Blida Province, Algeria

Chiffa is a town and gorge in the Tell Atlas Mountains of northern Algeria. This gorge is one of the few habitat areas in Algeria that supports a sub-population of the Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus.

The Djebel Babor Nature Reserve is a protected area in Algeria. The reserve is within the Babor Mountains. Much of this area is forested with Mediterranean conifer and mixed forests. This reserve offers one of the few remaining disjunctive habitats for the endangered Barbary macaque, Macaca sylvanus, a primate species which prehistorically held a much wider range. The reserve is also a significant birdwatching area.

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.

Pic des Singes

Pic des Singes is a peak in northern Algeria, northwest of the town of Béjaïa. It is located in the Cap Carbon area of the Tell Atlas range, on the Mediterranean coast.

<i>Hautes Plaines</i> Natural region in Algeria and NE Morocco

The Hautes Plaines, also known as Hauts Plateaux, is a steppe-like natural region located in the Atlas Mountains in northern Algeria. It stretches more than 600 km (370 mi) in an east northeast – west southwest direction from northeastern Morocco to the Aures. It is a high plateau area consisting of undulating, steppe-like alluvial plains lying between the Tell and Saharan Atlas ranges.


  1. Google Earth
  2. Mamdouh Shahin, Water resources and hydrometeorology of the Arab region, 2007 ISBN   978-1-4020-5414-3
  3. Les Hautes Plaines algéro-marocaines et le Maroc central
  4. William Adams Hance (1975) The Geography of Modern Africa, 2d Ed., Columbia University Press, 657 pages ISBN   0-231-03869-0
  5. C. Michael Hogan (2008) Barbary Macaque: Macaca sylvanus,, ed. Nicklas Strõmberg Archived 2012-04-19 at the Wayback Machine