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Europe / Elbrus

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Flash
158632.  Thu Mar 22, 2007 6:41 am Reply with quote

What is the highest mountain in Europe?

F: Mont Blanc

Mount Elbrus in the Caucasus is 18,841 ft as against Mt Blanc's 15,771.

Might make a quickfire Gen Ig in the Europe show. I don't think we've run this before, have we?

 
Foxy
620860.  Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:41 am Reply with quote

Elbrus featured on a show exposing Mount Blanc as the popularly incorrect answer for the highest mountain in Europe. Somewhat akin to the argument between the Nile and Amazon as the longest rivers, the status of the Caucus mountains that separate Europe from Asia has long been debated Both of these questions are usually answered by consensus of expert definition and the vast majority of sources place Europe's border at the start of the Causcus and the range firmly in Asia.

Mount Blanc is therefore the highest mountain in Europe and the show was wrong.

 
Flash
620889.  Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:02 am Reply with quote

Stated with great confidence, Foxy - and we can only envy you that.

Clearly you're right to point out that the boundaries of Europe are a matter of convention, but I have to say that I can't track down the "vast majority" which exclude Elbrus. In fact, I get the opposite outcome - the vast majority seem to place Elbrus in Europe.

Not that this is definitive, but it is typical:
http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761572933/Caucasus_Mountains.html , and my Times Atlas concurs.

Here's an account of the debate:
Quote:
The eastern boundary of Europe has been variously defined since antiquity. While Europe is considered a geographical entity, it is done so as a super-peninsula of the mainland of Asia as there is no tectonic plate boundary separating the two; as for example there is with the Indian subcontinent, which does reside on a different tectonic plate to the rest of Asia and Europe but is still considered to be part of Asia.

Some atlases state that the Europe-Asia boundary follows the watershed of the Ural Mountains from near Kara, Russia on the Kara Sea to the source of the Ural River, then follows that river to the Caspian Sea. The border then follows the watershed of the Caucasus Mountains from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea....

By this definition, the Greater Caucasus mountains are on the border of Europe and Asia. Mount Elbrus is north of the watershed divide and would be entirely in Europe by this definition, making it the highest point in Europe. The Lesser Caucasus is located entirely in Asia by the same criterion.

However, Russian geographers in mid-18th century (and now the current Russian definition and taught in textbooks in the USSR, now Russia, since 1958), marked the boundary between Europe and Asia as running along the Mugodzhar Hills, then down the Emba River to the Caspian Sea. From the Caspian Sea it runs to the Black Sea along the Kuma-Manych Depression, marked by the rivers of the same name.

It places all of the Caucasus, including countries of Georgia and Azerbaijan and North Caucasian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, entirely in Asia.

... so it's arguable, but if you want to follow the modern cartographers' convention I think you'll find yourself in QI's camp after all. Suit yourself, though.


Last edited by Flash on Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:11 am; edited 1 time in total

 
samivel
620890.  Fri Oct 02, 2009 8:08 am Reply with quote

Quote:
If the black box survives air crashes, why don't they make the whole aircraft out of the same material?


Because if they did the aircraft would be too heavy to fly.

 
costean
621125.  Fri Oct 02, 2009 3:57 pm Reply with quote

Your logic is as impeccable as ever, samivel, but it does have something of a random quality to it.

Flash - maybe it is my internet that is playing up again, but I cannot get the first (encarta) link to work.


Edit - it goes to an encarta page and typing 'Caucasus' in the search bar will do the trick - it's probably my internet.

 
Sophie.A
621150.  Fri Oct 02, 2009 5:09 pm Reply with quote

costean wrote:
Flash - maybe it is my internet that is playing up again, but I cannot get the first (encarta) link to work.

Flash accidentally included a comma at the end of the URL. Just remove the stray comma and it will work.

 
Flash
621241.  Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:11 am Reply with quote

Thanks for pointing that out - I've edited it.

 
Foxy
621775.  Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:14 pm Reply with quote

samivel wrote:
Quote:
If the black box survives air crashes, why don't they make the whole aircraft out of the same material?


Because if they did the aircraft would be too heavy to fly.


I think if you filled the luggage area with helium and made sure each crew member did not exceed nine stone and was naked, it would work

 
Foxy
621778.  Sun Oct 04, 2009 6:34 pm Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Stated with great confidence, Foxy - and we can only envy you that.

Clearly you're right to point out that the boundaries of Europe are a matter of convention, but I have to say that I can't track down the "vast majority" which exclude Elbrus. In fact, I get the opposite outcome - the vast majority seem to place Elbrus in Europe.

Not that this is definitive, but it is typical:
http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761572933/Caucasus_Mountains.html , and my Times Atlas concurs.

Here's an account of the debate:
Quote:
The eastern boundary of Europe has been variously defined since antiquity. While Europe is considered a geographical entity, it is done so as a super-peninsula of the mainland of Asia as there is no tectonic plate boundary separating the two; as for example there is with the Indian subcontinent, which does reside on a different tectonic plate to the rest of Asia and Europe but is still considered to be part of Asia.

Some atlases state that the Europe-Asia boundary follows the watershed of the Ural Mountains from near Kara, Russia on the Kara Sea to the source of the Ural River, then follows that river to the Caspian Sea. The border then follows the watershed of the Caucasus Mountains from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea....

By this definition, the Greater Caucasus mountains are on the border of Europe and Asia. Mount Elbrus is north of the watershed divide and would be entirely in Europe by this definition, making it the highest point in Europe. The Lesser Caucasus is located entirely in Asia by the same criterion.

However, Russian geographers in mid-18th century (and now the current Russian definition and taught in textbooks in the USSR, now Russia, since 1958), marked the boundary between Europe and Asia as running along the Mugodzhar Hills, then down the Emba River to the Caspian Sea. From the Caspian Sea it runs to the Black Sea along the Kuma-Manych Depression, marked by the rivers of the same name.

It places all of the Caucasus, including countries of Georgia and Azerbaijan and North Caucasian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan, entirely in Asia.

... so it's arguable, but if you want to follow the modern cartographers' convention I think you'll find yourself in QI's camp after all. Suit yourself, though.


Perhaps I exuded a little too much confidence here!. No cockiness intended especially as I spelled the name of the range wrong! For the record my source is the Encyclopedia Britannica 15th edition (1998 revision). quote "The Caucasus is part of the traditional dividing line between Europe and Asia, but there is now general agreement to assigning the mountains wholly to Asia". Wikipedia, for what its worth, does offer both arguments in irs Caucasus article. I think it could boil down to how much deference one has for Britannica's compilers

 

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