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Carpathian Mountains

The Carpathian Mountains are the eastern wing of the great central mountain system of Europe curving 1500 km (~900 miles) along the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, and the Ukraine.

The name is probably derived from the Dacian Carp tribe, living in the 1st millennium BC on the Eastern Carpathian slopes. Another source could be the Indo-European word "korpata" which means mountain or rock. As Chrawat, it was first applied to the inhabitants of the region, whence it passed in the form Krapat or Karpa as the name of the mountain range. In official Hungarian documents of the 13th and 14th centuries the Carpathians are named Thorchal or Tarczal, and also Montes Nivium.

They begin on the Danube near Bratislava, surround Hungary and Transylvania in a large semicircle, the concavity of which is towards the south-west, and end on the Danube near Orsova, Romania. The total length of the Carpathians is over 1500 km and their width varies between 12 and 500 km. The greatest width of the Carpathians corresponds with its highest altitude. Thus the system attains its greatest breadth in the Transylvanian plateau, and in the meridian of the Tatra group (the highest range with Gerlachovsky - 2655 m (8705 ft.) above sea level ). It covers an area of 190 000 sq. km, and after the Alps is the most extensive mountain system of Europe.

The Carpathians do not form an uninterrupted chain of mountains, but consist of several orographically and geologically distinctive groups; in fact they present as great a structural variety as the Alps. The Carpathians, which only in a few places attain an altitude of over 2500 m, lack the bold peaks, the extensive snow-fields, the large glaciers, the high waterfalls and the numerous large lakes which are found in the Alps. They are nowhere covered by perpetual snow, and glaciers do not exist, so that the Carpathians, even in their highest altitude, recall the middle region of the Alps, with which, however, they have many points in common as regards appearance, structure and flora.

The Danube separates the Carpathians from the Alps, which they meet only in two points, namely, the Leitha Mountains at Bratislava, and the Bakony Mountains at Vacz (Waitzen), while the same river separates them from the Stara Planina or Balkan Mountains at Orsova, Romania. The valley of the March and Oder separates the Carpathians from the Silesian and Moravian chains, which belong to the middle wing of the great central mountain system of Europe. Unlike the other wings of the great central system of Europe, the Carpathians, which form the watershed between the northern seas and the Black Sea, are surrounded on all sides by plains, namely the great Hungarian plain on the south-west, the plain of the Lower Danube (Romania) on the south, and the Galiciann plain on the north-east.

The Carpathian Mountains form the southern edge of the outer ring of mountains around Mare Imbrium on Earth's Moon. They were raised by the same impact event that created the Imbrium basin, and separate Mare Imbrium from Oceanus Procellarum.

See also: List of Lunar mountains