Mapping of the world’s tallest mountains, by continent

Shareable world's highest mountains across continents

Mapping of the world’s tallest mountains, by continent

From the snow-capped Himalayas in Asia to dormant Mauna Kea in Hawaii, mountains have long been a source of fascination for humans.

They are geological wonders, sacred spaces, and the crowning glory of nature and nations. And while there are mountain ranges found all over the world, some peaks literally stand out from the rest.

In this graph, Arijit Gupta uses data from various sources including Wikipedia, Peakbagger and EarthENV to highlight three mountains that crown each of the world’s continents.

1. Asia

With its three highest peaks all exceeding 8,000 metres, Asia has the tallest mountains in the world in terms of absolute elevation.

Mountain Align Height
Mount Everest Himalayas 8,845 m
K2 Karakoram 8,609 m
Kanchenjunga Himalayas 8,586 m

Towering over the Himalayas, the famous Mount Everest on the border of China and Nepal is the highest peak on Earth by elevation. Climbers train for months and sometimes years to scale this challenging peak.

Not far behind Everest are the Karakorum mountain ranges K2 between Pakistan and China. Although its summit is just over 200 meters shorter than Everest’s, the more inclement weather locally is said to make it much more dangerous for climbers.

The main peak of Kanchenjunga, another Himalayan mountain between India and Nepal, stands at 8,586 meters. While this peak is the third highest in the world, its range includes four other peaks that are not far behind.

2. South America

South America’s highest peaks are visible along the Andes mountain range, starting with the highest peak in the Southern HemisphereAconcagua.

Mountain Align Height
Aconcagua Andes 6,961 m
Ojos del Salado Andes 6,893 m
Mount Pissi Andes 6,793 m

Located in Argentina, Aconcagua sits at a staggering elevation of 6,961 meters above sea level. It is also the highest peak in the Americas.

Ojos del Salado on the border with Argentina and Chile it ranks second in height. This peak is considered the tallest volcano in the world, with its upper reaches containing lava domes, lava flows and volcanic craters.

Another Argentine mountain, Mount Pissi, is located just 100 meters lower than Ojos del Salado. At an elevation of 6,793 meters, it is still the third tallest mountain in the Western Hemisphere.

3. North America

Unlike the continents above, the tallest mountains in North America are spread across several mountain ranges.

Mountain Align Height
Denali Alaska 6,190 m
Monte Logano Sant’Elia 5,959 m
Pico de Orizaba Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt 5,636 m

The United States Denali in the Alaska range it is the tallest mountain in North America at 6,190 meters. Formerly called Mount McKinley, Denalis’ subarctic location and elevation are said to make it the coldest mountain in the world.

Located in the Canadian Yukon Territory, Monte Logano it is the second tallest mountain in North America. Thanks to a process known as tectonic uplift, it’s actually still increasing in height by about 0.35mm every year.

Mexicans Pico de Orizaba, a dormant volcano, comes in third. Although part of the distant Trans-Mexican Volcanic Range, all of the continent’s largest mountains are part of the North American Cordillera of related mountain ranges.

4. Africa

Africa is home to three of the world’s highest peaks and some of the most diverse mountainous climates that surround them.

Mountain Align Height
Mount Kilimanjaro Eastern split 5,895 m
Mount Kenya Eastern split 5,199 m
Mount Stanley Rwenzori 5,109 m

Of Tanzania Mount Kilimanjaro it is the highest peak in Africa and the tallest free-standing mountain globally. Climbing Kilimanjaro is a unique experience, as it takes you through five different ecological zones including rainforests, heaths, alpine deserts and glaciers.

Meanwhile, Africa’s second highest peak in Kenya, its namesake Mount Kenya, it actually has three distinct peaks. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to various species of wildlife, including elephants and hyenas.

Following close behind is the Rwenzori Ranges Mount Stanley. Located on the border between Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is believed to be a sacred place where ancestors reside on the mountain peaks.

5. Europe

The Caucasus Mountains on the edge of Eastern Europe contain the tallest mountains on the continent.

Mountain Align Height
Mount Elbrus Caucasus Mountains 5,642 m
Gora Dych-Tau Caucasus Mountains 5,205 m
Shkhara Caucasus Mountains 5,193 m

Mount Elbrus in Russia it is number one with an altitude of 5,642 m. The mountain is a dormant volcano with a symmetrical double cone shape, but as its most recent eruption occurred around AD 50, it is currently covered in snow and glaciers.

Nearby Goa Dych-Tau it is the second highest mountain in Europe. It has a sharp, pyramid-like peak that rises sharply from its base and is located a few kilometers north of the Georgian border.

Just across the border on the southern side is it Shkhara, the third highest peak on the European continent. It is known for a distinctive double summit, with the western summit being slightly higher than the eastern one.

6. Oceania

While many of the above continents have high-ranking mountain peaks located in different countries, Oceania lies entirely within Indonesia on the island of New Guinea.

Mountain Align Height
Punchak Jaya Sudirman 4,884 m
Sumantri Sudirman 4,870 m
Punchak Mandala Jayawijaya 4,760 m

The highest peak in Oceania is Punchak Jayaalso known by other local names including Carstenz Pyramid, the mountain of which Puncak Jaya is a distinct peak. It is the world’s tallest mountain on an island, and reaching its summit is a challenging climb due to its remote location and difficult terrain.

Decades ago, second place Sumantri he was known as Ngga Pulu and was taller than Puncak Jaya. However, this has changed because glacial melt since 1850 has helped isolate and clarify the local peaks of Carstensz Pyramid. Today, Sumantri stands at 4,870 meters as the second highest on the continent.

East in the Jayawijaya Range, Punchak Mandala it is third on this list. But as an independent mountain, it is sometimes considered the second highest peak in Oceania, while Sumantri is disqualified as a branch peak of Carstensz Pyramid.

Bonus: Antarctica

While they haven’t been mapped, Gupta also included data for Antarctica’s mountains, which are unlike any other mountain on Earth.

These mountains are relatively low-lying and often completely covered in ice and snow.

Mountain Align Height
Vinson massif Sentinel 4,892 m
Mount Tyre Sentinel 4,852 m
Mount Shinn Sentinel 4,661 m

THE Vinson massif contains Antarctica’s highest peak, known as Mount Vinson. Discovered in 1958, the mountain is a challenging climb with lots of frozen ground, and was the last of the Seven Summits to be first climbed in 1966.

Mount Tyre it is the second highest on the continent and is only 13 kilometers from Vinson. It is only 40 meters shorter in elevation, but is also difficult to access.

Comparatively, Mount Shinnthe third highest peak on the continent is also sometimes reached by experienced climbers who come to Antarctica to climb Mount Vinson.

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This article was published as part of the Visual Capitalist Creator Program, which features data-driven imagery from some of our favorite creators from around the world.

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