Matterhorn Mountain of the Swiss Alps

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mt. Matterhorn and its location

Mains level : Not Much

Switzerland has expressed solidarity with India in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic by projecting the tricolour on the famous Matterhorn Mountain in the Swiss Alps.

It has been long time since a question on global mountains/mountain ranges has not been asked in the prelims. Gear up for the uncertainty. Make a special sheet of geographical locations in news.

Mt. Matterhorn

  • The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, separating the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy.
  • It is a large, near-symmetric pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres.
  • It is one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe (Mont Blanc being highest).
  • The four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Furggen, Leone/Lion, and Zmutt ridges.

Its formation

  • The Matterhorn is mainly composed of gneisses originally fragments of the African Plate before the Alpine orogeny.
  • The mountain’s current shape is the result of cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from the peak, such as the Matterhorn Glacier at the base of the north face.

Back2Basics: Alps mountain range

  • The Alps are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe.
  • It stretches approximately 1,200 kilometres across eight Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, and Slovenia.
  • The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided.
  • Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.
  • Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,809 m (15,778 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps.
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