Mountain Ranges of Southeastern Europe
Various mountain ranges running through Spain, Andorra, France, Italy and Switzerland are capped with bright white snow.
The Pyrenees (lower left quadrant) are a range of mountains that form a natural border between France and Spain. For the most part, the main crest forms a massive frontier, with the country Andorra sandwiched in between.
The range separates the Iberian Peninsula from the rest of continental Europe, and extends for about 430 km from the Bay of Biscay (Cap Higuer), left, to the Mediterranean Sea (Cap de Creus), right.
Moving northeastward, some peaks of the Massif Central, an elevated region in south-central France consisting of mountains and plateaus, can be seen.
Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north-south cleft created by the Rhône River. The entire region contains the largest concentration of extinct volcanoes in the world with approximately 450 volcanoes.
The largest range in the image is part of the Alps, which stretch from Austria and Slovenia in the east; through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany; to France in the west. The highest mountain in the Alps is Mont Blanc, at 4,808 metres (15,774 ft), on the Italian–French border.
The Alps are generally divided into the Western Alps and the Eastern Alps. The division is along the line between Lake Constance and Lake Como, following the rivers Rhine, Liro and Mera. The Western Alps, the section visible here, are higher, but their central chain is shorter and curved; they are located in Italy, France and Switzerland.