Atlas Mountains

Atlas Mountains, series of mountain ranges in northwestern Africa, running generally southwest to northeast to form the geologic backbone of the countries of the Maghrib (the western region of the Arab world)—Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. They extend for more than 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometres), from the Moroccan port of Agadir in the southwest, to the Tunisian capital of Tunis in the northeast. Their thick rim rises to form a high sill separating the Mediterranean basin to the north from the Sahara to the south, thus constituting a barrier that hinders, without completely preventing, communication between the two regions. Across the mountains filter both air masses and human migrations. It is, however, only in the east–west direction that the Atlas Mountains facilitate movement. These are the conditions that create at the same time both the individuality and the homogeneity of the Atlas countries. Although the Saharan region is more likely to be described as the archetypal North African habitat, it is the well-watered mountains north of this vast desert that provide the foundation for the livelihood of most of the peoples of North Africa and a striking green or white background for many North African towns.

Atlas Mountains General Facts

  • The mountain range stretches approximately 1,600 miles (2,500 kilometers) across Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia.
  • The mountain range separates the coastlines of the Mediterranean and Atlantic from the Sahara Desert.
  • Toubkal, located in Morocco, is the highest mountain in the range, and in North Africa. It is 13,671 feet high (4,167 meters).
  • The second and third highest peaks in the Atlas range (after Toubkal) are on the mountain Ouanoukrim in Morocco. The two summits are Timzguida which is 13,415 feet (4,089 meters) high and Ras Ouanoukrim which reaches 13,396 feet (4,083 meters).
  • The mountains attract many tourists. It is a great travel destination for people who enjoy hiking and mountain climbing. It is also a place where tourist can enjoy incredible views.
  • There are also many places where one can enjoy a relaxing vacation.
  • The slopes of the High Atlas and Middle Atlas ranges have thick forests containing many trees including pine, oak, and cedar trees.
  • Mineral deposits found in this mountain range include gold, silver, zinc, lead, and iron.
    The mountain range has several passes that provide routes between the coast and the Sahara Desert.
  • The Berber people have lived in the Atlas Mountain range for thousands of years. In fact, they have been traced back to at least 3000 B.C.

Regions of the Atlas Mountains

The Atlas mountains are divided into four regions: The first region consists of three ranges, all located in Morocco. They are the Middle Atlas, High Atlas, and Anti-Atlas ranges. The High Atlas range (also called the Grand Atlas) is the highest range in the Atlas Mountains. The second region is the Saharan Atlas located in Algeria. The third region is the Tell Atlas located in Algeria and Tunisia. The fourth region is the Aures Mountains in Algeria and Tunisia. They are at the eastern end of the Atlas mountain range.

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