ATLAS Mountain Hike
ABOUT ATLAS MOUNTAIN HIKE
Altitude - 3,050m (10,000ft)
Best months to go: March - November
The Atlas are a mountain range in the Maghreb. It separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert. It stretches around 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The range's highest peak is Toubkal, which is in central Morocco, with an elevation of 4,167 meters (13,671 ft).
The Atlas Mountains are primarily inhabited by Berber populations. The terms for 'mountain' are adrar and adras in some Berber languages. These terms are believed to be cognates of the toponym Atlas. The mountains are also home to a number of animals and plants which are mostly found within Africa but some of which can be found in Europe. Many of these species are endangered and a few are already extinct.
The most impressive range within the Atlas system is the High Atlas, which extends for some 560 kilometers (350 miles) through the center of Morocco and has an average elevation of around 3,050 meters (10,000 feet). Many High Atlas peaks are snow-clad for much of the year.
Most of the populations around the Atlas are small villages, rather than cities. The most famous and numerous of the Atlas populations is the Berber People, a North African culture which traces its roots back thousands of years.
The beginnings of the Atlas range can be traced to three distinct stages:
• Over 80 million years ago, the first phase of Atlas Mountain formation began. This stage consisted of a series of continental collisions between African and Eurasian plates.
• In the second stage of geological development the Earth‘s crust significantly expanded, resulting in a separation of many previous continental formations. When the continents broke apart, many sedimentary basins were formed, including the Atlas Mountain Range.
• The last stage of geological development was marked by a massive continental collision between the southern end of the Iberian peninsula and the European plate.
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