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A tripoint, trijunction,triple point, or tri-border area is a geographical point at which the boundaries of three countries or subnational entities meet. There are approximately 176 international tripoints. Nearly half are situated in rivers, lakes or seas. On dry land, the exact tripoints may be indicated by markers or pillars, and occasionally by larger monuments.
Usually, the more neighbours a country has, the more international tripoints that country has. China with 16 tripoints and Russia with 11 to 14 lead the list of states by number of tripoints. Within Europe, landlocked Austria has nine tripoints, among them two with Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Island countries such as Japan have no country tripoints (some, like Bahrain and Singapore, have tripoints in the territorial waters), and the same goes for states with only one neighbour state, like Portugal or Lesotho. Likewise, the United States with two neighbour states has no country tripoints; it has a number of tristate points as well as one point where four states meet. Canada, as well, has five tripoints on land where the boundaries of provinces and territories meet, and one quadripoint where four provinces and territories meet.
Border junctions (or "multiple points" or "multipoints" as they are also sometimes called) are most commonly threefold. There are also a number of quadripoints, and a handful of fivefold points, as well as probably unique examples of a sixfold, sevenfold, and eightfold points (see quadripoint § Multipoints of greater numerical complexity). The territorial claims of six countries converge at the south pole in a point of elevenfold complexity, though this is an example of points subject to dispute.
International tripoints include:
Some historic tripoints:
For a full list, see list of tripoints.
While the exact line of an international border is normally fixed by a bilateral treaty, the position of the tripoints may need to be settled by a trilateral agreement. For example, China, Russia, and Mongolia have set the position of the two relevant tripoints (the junction points of the China–Russia border, the Mongolia–Russia border, and the China–Mongolia border) by the trilateral agreement signed in Ulaanbaatar on January 27, 1994. The agreement specified that a marker was to be erected at the eastern tripoint, called Tarbagan-Dakh, but that no marker would be erected at the western tripoint (which was defined as the peak of the mountain Tavan-Bogdo-Ula (Kuitunshan, Tavan Bogd Uul).
The Tavan Bogd is a mountain massif in Mongolia, near the triple border with China and Russia. Its highest peak, the Khüiten Peak, is the highest point of Mongolia at 4374 meters above sea level.
In geography, a confluence occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join to form a single channel. A confluence can occur in several configurations: at the point where a tributary joins a larger river ; or where two streams meet to become the source of a river of a new name ; or where two separated channels of a river rejoin at the downstream end.
The Three-Country Cairn is the point at which the international borders of Sweden, Norway and Finland meet, and the name of the monument that marks the point. It is an example of a geographical feature known as a tripoint. It is the northernmost international tripoint in the world.
A quadripoint is a point on Earth where four distinct territories meet. The territories can be of different types, such as national and provincial. In North America, several such places are commonly known as Four Corners. Several examples exist throughout the world that use other names.
A boundary marker, border marker, boundary stone, or border stone is a robust physical marker that identifies the start of a land boundary or the change in a boundary, especially a change in direction of a boundary. There are several other types of named border markers, known as boundary trees, pillars, monuments, obelisks, and corners. Border markers can also be markers through which a border line runs in a straight line to determine that border. They can also be the markers from which a border marker has been fixed.
Khüiten Peak is the highest peak with 4,356 m above sea level and a permanent snow cap in the Altai Range, the international border between China and Mongolia runs across its summit point. It is also the highest point of Mongolia and Altay Prefecture in Western China.
The borders of Brazil are the international borders that Brazil shares with neighbouring countries. Brazil has borders with ten countries, every country in South America with the exception of Chile and Ecuador, totalling 16,885 kilometres (10,492 mi). Brazil has the world's third longest land border, behind China and Russia.
Three Emperors' Corner is a former tripoint at the confluence of the Black and White Przemsza rivers, near the towns of Mysłowice, Sosnowiec and Jaworzno in the present-day Silesian Voivodeship of Poland. During the Partitions of Poland, from 1871 to 1918, it marked the place at which the borders of three empires that had divided Poland – the Russian Empire, Austria-Hungary and the German Empire – met.
Nairamdal Peak or Friendship Peak is the one of five peaks of the Tavan Bogd mountain and it marks the border tripoint between Russia, Mongolia, and China. The Peak towers at the elevation of 4,082 m ( 13,392 ft).
The Mongolia–Russia border is the international border between Mongolia and the Russian Federation. It runs from west to east between the two tripoints with China for 3,452 km (2,145 mi). The boundary is the third longest border between Russia and another country, behind the Kazakhstan–Russia border and the China–Russia border.
The Chinese–Russian border or the Sino-Russian border is the international border between China and the Asian portion of Russia. After the final demarcation carried out in the early 2000s, it measures 4,209.3 kilometres (2,615.5 mi), and is the world's sixth-longest international border.
The France–Switzerland border is 572 km (355 mi) long. Its current path is mostly the product of the Congress of Vienna of 1815, with the accession of Geneva, Neuchâtel and Valais to the Swiss Confederation, but it has since been modified in detail, the last time being in 2002. Although most of the border, marked with border stones, is unguarded, several checkpoints remain staffed, most notably on busy roads.
The France–Germany border separates the boundaries of France and Germany and has a length of 450 km (280 mi). About half of the length runs along the Rhine.
The border between the modern states of Switzerland and Italy extends for 744 kilometres (462 mi), from the French-Swiss-Italian tripoint at Mont Dolent in the west to the Austrian-Swiss-Italian tripoint near Piz Lad in the east. Much of the border runs across the High Alps, rising above 4,600 metres (15,100 ft) as it passes east of Dufourspitze, but it also descends to the lowest point in Switzerland as it passes Lago Maggiore at below 200 metres (660 ft).
The Dreiländereck is a monument in Basel, Switzerland. It marks the tripoint where the borders of France, Germany and Switzerland meet. The France–Germany border, the Germany–Switzerland border and France–Switzerland border meet there.
The China–Mongolia border is the international border between China and Mongolia. It runs from west to east between the two tripoints with Russia for 4,630 km (2,880 mi), with most of the boundary area lying in the Gobi Desert. It is the world's fourth longest international border.
The North Korea–Russia border, according to the official Russian definition, consists of 17.3 kilometres (10.7 mi) of "terrestrial border" and 22.1 km of "maritime border". It is the shortest of the international borders of Russia.
A triple divide or triple watershed is a point on the Earth's surface where three drainage basins meet. A triple divide results from the intersection of two drainage divides. Triple divides range from prominent mountain peaks to minor side peaks, down to simple slope changes on a ridge which are otherwise unremarkable. The elevation of a triple divide can be thousands of meters to barely above sea level. Triple divides are a common hydrographic feature of any terrain that has rivers, streams and/or lakes.
The China–North Korea–Russia tripoint is the tripoint where the China–Russia border and the North Korea–Russia border intersect. The tripoint is in the Tumen River about 500 meters upstream from Korea Russia Friendship Bridge and under 2,000 meters from the Russian settlement of Khasan.