What’s The Longest Mountain Range On Earth?

Mighty mountain ranges can be found on every continent, yet the longest continuous chain of peaks is not located on any of these seven landmasses. Instead, the world’s most extensive range lies at the bottom of the sea.

Known as the mid-ocean range, this absurdly lengthy mountain chain traces the outline of the Earth’s tectonic plates and spreads around the globe in a pattern that is often likened to the seams on a baseball. With a total continuous length of around 65,000 kilometers (40,390 miles), the mid-ocean range laughs at the puny shortcomings of the world’s longest continental range, which happens to be the Andes and its 7,600-kilometer (4,700-mile) span. Pathetic.

In truth, though, the mid-ocean range has an unfair advantage as it is actually made up of several separate underwater ridge systems that exist on the boundaries of the various tectonic plates. It’s at these frontiers that the plates push apart, allowing magma to surge up and fill the gaps.

The Mid-ocean range system is a series of connected underwater mountain chains that criss-cross the planet. Image credit: NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

The result is a line of mountains and valleys that scars the seafloor. On average, the peaks of these various submarine ridges lie some 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) beneath the surface of the ocean. Among the most famous of these is the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which runs right down the center of the Atlantic Ocean, reaching from the Arctic to the Antarctic.

Of course, because the world’s plate tectonics are in contact with one another, the ridges that form between them are all connected, forming an unbroken series of underwater ranges that collectively make up the mid-ocean range.

All “explainer” articles are confirmed by fact checkers to be correct at time of publishing. Text, images, and links may be edited, removed, or added to at a later date to keep information current.  

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