Truncated upland

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Typical landscape of the Vosges, a truncated upland in France Metzeral.jpg
Typical landscape of the Vosges, a truncated upland in France

A truncated upland, truncated highland or bevelled upland (German : Rumpfgebirge) is the heavily eroded remains of a fold mountain range, often from an early period in earth history. [1] [2] The term Rumpfgebirge ("rump mountains") was first introduced into the literature in 1886 by Ferdinand von Richthofen. [3] The rumps of the former mountain ranges may be found in many lowland regions of the earth's crust (where they form the so-called basement rocks) and especially outcrop in Central Europe through more recent tectonics. This could result in an uplifted peneplain which is one type of truncated upland.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Ferdinand von Richthofen German geographer and explorer

Baron Ferdinand Freiherr von Richthofen FRSFor HFRSE BGS, better known in English as Baron von Richthofen, was a German traveller, geographer, and scientist. He is noted for coining the terms "Seidenstraße" and "Seidenstraßen" = "Silk Road(s)" or "Silk Route(s)" in 1877. He also standardized the practices of chorography and chorology. He was an uncle of the World War I flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, best known as the "Red Baron".

Tectonics The processes that control the structure and properties of the Earths crust and its evolution through time

Tectonics is the process that controls the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. In particular, it describes the processes of mountain building, the growth and behavior of the strong, old cores of continents known as cratons, and the ways in which the relatively rigid plates that constitute the Earth's outer shell interact with each other. Tectonics also provides a framework for understanding the earthquake and volcanic belts that directly affect much of the global population. Tectonic studies are important as guides for economic geologists searching for fossil fuels and ore deposits of metallic and nonmetallic resources. An understanding of tectonic principles is essential to geomorphologists to explain erosion patterns and other Earth surface features.


The valley structures of truncated uplands are often more irregular than in the younger fold mountains, which is due to the considerably younger tectonic processes and stronger erosion of the former mountain ranges that were originally often up to several thousand metres high. By contrast, their plateaux are orographically similar in shape.

Valley Low area between hills, often with a river running through it.

A valley is a low area between hills or mountains typically with a river running through it. In geology, a valley or dale is a depression that is longer than it is wide. The terms U-shaped and V-shaped are descriptive terms of geography to characterize the form of valleys. Most valleys belong to one of these two main types or a mixture of them, at least with respect to the cross section of the slopes or hillsides.

Fold mountains Mountains formed by compressive crumpling of the layers of rock

Fold mountains are mountains that form mainly by the effects of folding on layers within the upper part of the Earth's crust. Before either plate tectonic theory developed, or the internal architecture of thrust belts became well understood, the term was used for most mountain belts, such as the Himalayas. The term is still fairly common in physical geography literature but has otherwise generally fallen out of use except as described below. The forces responsible for formation of fold mountains are called orogenic movements. The term orogenic has derived from a Greek word meaning mountain building. These forces act at tangent to the surface of the earth and are primarily a result of plate tectonics.

Mountain range A geographic area containing several geologically related mountains

A mountain range or hill range is a series of mountains or hills ranged in a line and connected by high ground. A mountain system or mountain belt is a group of mountain ranges with similarity in form, structure, and alignment that have arisen from the same cause, usually an orogeny. Mountain ranges are formed by a variety of geological processes, but most of the significant ones on Earth are the result of plate tectonics. Mountain ranges are also found on many planetary mass objects in the Solar System and are likely a feature of most terrestrial planets.


In western Europe many of the Central Upland ranges fall into the category of truncated uplands – for example the Harz, the Ore Mountains, the Fichtel Mountains and the Rhenish Massif. Other ranges also date to the time of the Variscan orogeny, including those on either side of the Rhine, such as the Black Forest and Vosges and, from the Bavarian Forest in northeast Bavaria, through the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic to the Bohemian Massif in Austria and the Czech Republic, not to mention the French Massif Central. This mountain formation took place in the Middle Palaeozoic, during the Devonian and Carboniferous epochs about 350 to 250 million years ago. Already by the Permian the Variscan mountains had been eroded into the so-called Permian peneplain and overlain by sedimentary strata. These remains survive as Variscan "islands" between the younger sedimentary rocks of the Mesozoic. During the course of subsequent earth history, fault block tectonics followed, which characterised the present appearance of the German Central Uplands. These truncated Variscan mountains are usually strongly affected by magmatic processes.

Harz Low mountain range in northern Germany

The Harz is a Mittelgebirge that has the highest elevations in Northern Germany and its rugged terrain extends across parts of Lower Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Thuringia. The name Harz derives from the Middle High German word Hardt or Hart, Latinized as Hercynia. The Brocken is the highest summit in the Harz with an elevation of 1,141.1 metres (3,744 ft) above sea level. The Wurmberg is the highest peak located entirely within the state of Lower Saxony.

Ore Mountains low mountain range in central Europe

The Ore Mountains or Ore Mountain Range in Central Europe have formed a natural border between Saxony and Bohemia for around 800 years, from the 12th to the 20th centuries. Today, the border between Germany and the Czech Republic runs just north of the main crest of the mountain range. The highest peaks are the Klínovec, which rises to 1,244 metres (4,081 ft) above sea level and the Fichtelberg.

Fichtel Mountains low-mountain range in Bavaria, Germany

The Fichtel Mountains, form a small horseshoe-shaped mountain range in northeastern Bavaria, Germany. They extend from the valley of the Red Main River to the Czech border, a few foothills spilling over into the Czech Republic. They continue in a northeasterly direction as the Ore Mountains, and in a southeasterly direction as the Bohemian Forest. The Fichtel Mountains contain an important nature park, the Fichtel Mountain Nature Park, with an area of 1,020 square kilometres (390 sq mi).

The erosion of the mountains exposed numerous mineral resources e.g. silver and iron ore in the Harz as well as copper (the Rammelsberg is a type locality for SEDEX deposits), or uranium in the Ore Mountains.

Silver Chemical element with atomic number 47

Silver is a chemical element with the symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it exhibits the highest electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and reflectivity of any metal. The metal is found in the Earth's crust in the pure, free elemental form, as an alloy with gold and other metals, and in minerals such as argentite and chlorargyrite. Most silver is produced as a byproduct of copper, gold, lead, and zinc refining.

Iron ore ore rich in iron or the element Fe

Iron ores are rocks and minerals from which metallic iron can be economically extracted. The ores are usually rich in iron oxides and vary in colour from dark grey, bright yellow, or deep purple to rusty red. The iron is usually found in the form of magnetite (Fe
, 72.4% Fe), hematite (Fe
, 69.9% Fe), goethite (FeO(OH), 62.9% Fe), limonite (FeO(OH)·n(H2O), 55% Fe) or siderite (FeCO3, 48.2% Fe).

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

Even older are the Caledonian Mountains of Scotland and the rest of the plateaux and coastal mountains in Scandinavia, which were formed about 500 million years ago.

Caledonian orogeny

The Caledonian orogeny was a mountain-building era recorded in the northern parts of Ireland and Britain, the Scandinavian Mountains, Svalbard, eastern Greenland and parts of north-central Europe. The Caledonian orogeny encompasses events that occurred from the Ordovician to Early Devonian, roughly 490–390 million years ago (Ma). It was caused by the closure of the Iapetus Ocean when the continents and terranes of Laurentia, Baltica and Avalonia collided.

Scotland Country in Europe, part of the United Kingdom

Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Sharing a border with England to the southeast, Scotland is otherwise surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, the North Sea to the northeast, the Irish Sea to the south, and the North Channel to the southwest. In addition to the mainland, situated on the northern third of the island of Great Britain, Scotland has over 790 islands, including the Northern Isles and the Hebrides.

Scandinavia Region in Northern Europe

Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe, with strong historical, cultural, and linguistic ties. The term Scandinavia in local usage covers the three kingdoms of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The majority national languages of these three, belong to the Scandinavian dialect continuum, and are mutually intelligible North Germanic languages. In English usage, Scandinavia also sometimes refers to the Scandinavian Peninsula, or to the broader region including Finland and Iceland, which is always known locally as the Nordic countries.

In North America the almost 3,000-kilometre-long mountain chain of the Appalachians is one of the largest areas of truncated highland in the world. It extends in widths of 200 to 300 kilometre from the southern states of the United States to the east Canadian Newfoundland, but only reaches heights of just over 2,000 metres in the south. Many mineral deposits of coal, mineral oil and iron ore, as well as fertile plains make the range and its surrounding area into one of the richest regions of America.

Mountain chain row of mountains within a larger mountain range

A mountain chain is a row of high mountain summits, a linear sequence of interconnected or related mountains, or a contiguous ridge of mountains within a larger mountain range. The term is also used for elongated fold mountains with several parallel chains.

Southern United States Cultural region of the United States

The southern United States, also known as the American South, Dixie, Dixieland, or simply the South, is a region of the United States of America. It is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the western United States, with the midwestern United States and northeastern United States to its north and the Gulf of Mexico and Mexico to its south.

Mineral oil liquid mixture of higher alkanes from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum

Mineral oil is any of various colorless, odorless, light mixtures of higher alkanes from a mineral source, particularly a distillate of petroleum.

The Urals between eastern Europe and Siberia have a similar importance in terms of mining and the economy; and the extent of these mountains in Russia, which are up to 1,900 metres high, is similar to that of the Appalachians.

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Sudetes low mountain range in central Europe

The Sudetes are a mountain range in Central Europe. They are the highest part of Bohemian Massif. Stretches from the Saxon capital of Dresden in the northwest, to the Głubczyce plateau in Poland and to the Ostrava Basin and Moravian Gate in the Czech Republic in the east. Geographically the Sudetes are a Mittelgebirge with some characteristics proper of high mountains. Its plateaus and subtle summit relief makes the Sudetes more akin to mountains of Northern Europe than to the Alps.

Rhyolite An igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic (silica-rich) composition

Rhyolite is an igneous, volcanic rock, of felsic (silica-rich) composition (typically > 69% SiO2 – see the TAS classification). It may have any texture from glassy to aphanitic to porphyritic. The mineral assemblage is usually quartz, sanidine and plagioclase (in a ratio > 2:1 – see the QAPF diagram). Biotite and hornblende are common accessory minerals. It is the extrusive equivalent to granite.

Thuringian Forest mountain range in the German state of Thuringia

The Thuringian Forest, is a mountain range in the southern parts of the German state of Thuringia, running northwest to southeast between the valley of the river Werra near Eisenach and the Thuringian-Vogtlandian Slate Mountains. The geographical boundary with the latter range follows approximately a line from Gehren via Großbreitenbach to Schönbrunn near Schleusingen, defined by the rivers Schleuse and Neubrunn on the southwestern slope, and Talwasser, Wohlrose and Möhre on the northeastern slope.

Sauerland rural, hilly area in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

The Sauerland[ˈzaʊɐlant] is a rural, hilly area spreading across most of the south-eastern part of North Rhine-Westphalia, in parts heavily forested and, apart from the major valleys, sparsely inhabited. For these reasons, it has been chosen as the first place in Germany to reintroduce the Wisent.

Geology of Great Britain

The geology of Great Britain is renowned for its diversity. As a result of its eventful geological history, Great Britain shows a rich variety of landscapes across the constituent countries of England, Wales and Scotland. Rocks of almost all geological ages are represented at outcrop, from the Archaean onwards.

Elbe Sandstone Mountains Mountains in Germany

The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe sandstone highlands is a mountain range straddling the border between the state of Saxony in southeastern Germany and the North Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, with about three-quarters of the area lying on the German side. The mountains are also referred to as Saxon Switzerland and Bohemian Switzerland in both German and Czech or simply combined as Saxon-Bohemian Switzerland. In both countries, the mountain range has been declared a national park. The name derives from the sandstone which was carved by erosion. The river Elbe breaks through the mountain range in a steep and narrow valley.

Variscan orogeny

The Variscan or Hercynianorogeny is a geologic mountain-building event caused by Late Paleozoic continental collision between Euramerica (Laurussia) and Gondwana to form the supercontinent of Pangaea.

Geology of the Iberian Peninsula The origins, structure use and study of the rock formations of Spain, Portugal, Andorra and Gibraltar

The geology of the Iberian Peninsula consists of the study of the rock formations on the Iberian Peninsula, which includes Spain, Portugal, Andorra, and Gibraltar. The peninsula contains rocks from every geological period from the Ediacaran to the Holocene, and many types of rock are represented. World-class mineral deposits are also found there.

Rhenish Massif mountain range

The Rhenish Massif, Rhine Massif or Rhenish Uplands is a geologic massif in western Germany, eastern Belgium, Luxembourg and northeastern France.

Bohemian Massif mountain range

The Bohemian Massif is in the geology of Central Europe a large massif stretching over central Czech Republic, eastern Germany, southern Poland and northern Austria. It is surrounded by four ranges: the Ore Mountains in the northwest, the Sudetes in the northeast, the Bohemian-Moravian Highlands in the southeast, and the Bohemian Forest (Šumava) in the southwest. The massif encompasses a number of mittelgebirges and consists of crystalline rocks, which are older than the Permian and therefore deformed during the Variscan Orogeny.

Central Uplands

The Central Uplands is one of the three major natural regions of Germany and covers most of the land area of the country. To the north lies the North German Plain or Northern Lowland; to the south, the Alps and the Alpine Foreland.

Geology of the Pyrenees

The Pyrenees are a 430-kilometre-long, roughly east–west striking, intracontinental mountain chain that divide France, Spain, and Andorra. The belt has an extended, polycyclic geological evolution dating back to the Precambrian. The chain's present configuration is due to the collision between the microcontinent Iberia and the southwestern promontory of the European Plate. The two continents were approaching each other since the onset of the Upper Cretaceous (Albian/Cenomanian) about 100 million years ago and were consequently colliding during the Paleogene (Eocene/Oligocene) 55 to 25 million years ago. After its uplift, the chain experienced intense erosion and isostatic readjustments. A cross-section through the chain shows an asymmetric flower-like structure with steeper dips on the French side. The Pyrenees are not solely the result of compressional forces, but also show an important sinistral shearing.

Geology of Germany

The geology of Germany is heavily influenced by several phases of orogeny in the Paleozoic and the Cenozoic, by sedimentation in shelf seas and epicontinental seas and on plains in the Permian and Mesozoic as well as by the Quaternary glaciations.

The geology of Georgia is the study of rocks, minerals, water, landforms and geologic history in Georgia. The country is dominated by the Caucasus Mountains at the junction of the Eurasian Plate and the Afro-Arabian Plate, and rock units from the Mesozoic and Cenozoic are particularly prevalent. For much of its geologic history, until the uplift of the Caucasus, Georgia was submerged by marine transgression events. Geologic research for 150 years by Georgian and Russian geologists has shed significant light on the region and since the 1970s has been augmented with the understanding of plate tectonics.

The geology of Austria consists of Precambrian rocks and minerals together with younger marine sedimentary rocks uplifted by the Alpine orogeny.

The geology of the Czech Republic is highly tectonically complex, split between the Western Carpathian Mountains and the Bohemian Massif.


  1. Murawski, H., Meyer, W. (2004): Geologisches Wörterbuch. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, 11th edn., 262 pp. ISBN   3-8274-1445-8
  2. Leser, Hartmut, ed. (2005). Wörterbuch Allgemeine Geographie, 13th ed., dtv, Munich, p. 778. ISBN   978-3-423-03422-7.
  3. Ferdinand von Richthofen (1886), Führer für Forschungsreisende : Anleitung zu Beobachtungen über Gegenstände der physischen Geographie und Geologie (Online) (in German), p. 654