A massif ( /mæˈsf/ or /ˈmæsɪf/) is a principal mountain mass,[1] for example, a compact portion of a mountain range, containing one or more summits. In the science of geology, however, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole. A massif is a smaller structural unit than a tectonic plate, and is considered the fourth-largest driving force in geomorphology.[2]

A massif in Ukraine.

In mountaineering and climbing literature, a massif is frequently used to denote the main mass of an individual mountain.

The word is taken from French (in which the word also means "massive"), where it is used to refer to a large mountain mass or compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a range. One of the most notable European examples of a massif is the Massif Central of the Auvergne region of France.

The Face on Mars is an example of an extraterrestrial massif.[3]

Massifs may also form underwater, as with the Atlantis Massif.[4]

List of massifsEdit









Aerial view of Mont Blanc massif, an example of a massif and also the highest summit in the Alps.[5]
Gran Sasso d'Italia massif seen from an airplane. Part of the Apennine Mountains, it is located in the Abruzzo region of Italy.



United KingdomEdit

North AmericaEdit


British Columbia

United StatesEdit



South AmericaEdit



  1. ^ https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/massif
  2. ^ Allen, 2008, Time scales of tectonic landscapes and their sediment routing systems, Geol. Soc. Lon. Sp. Pub., v. 296, p. 7–28.
  3. ^ Britt, Robert Roy (2006-09-21). "Mars Face Makeover: Controversial Formation Observed from New Angles". Space.com. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  4. ^ Blackman, Donna (2002). "Geology of the Atlantis Massif (Mid-Atlantic Ridge, 30°N): Implications for the evolution of an ultramafic oceanic core complex". Marine Geophysical Researches. 23 (5): 443–469. Bibcode:2002MarGR..23..443B. doi:10.1023/b:mari.0000018232.14085.75. S2CID 96459991.
  5. ^ "The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2009". 2009-11-06.