Massif Central

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France's mountains from space (Taken by NASA)
Exactly where the Massif is
Neoproterozoic gneiss of the Arverne domain near Nontron, Dordogne. The light-coloured greywacke layer dips steeply to the NNE.

The Massif Central is a high region in south-central France. It has mountains and plateaux. It covers 15% of the country. The geological history of the massif is complicated. It is very ancient, and many things have happened to it.[1][2]

The Massif Central is an ancient massif. It was formed during the Variscan orogeny, consisting mostly of granitic and metamorphic rocks. It looks younger in the East because the Alps uplifted during the Paleogene period. The crystalline base of the Massif is Proterozoic, and so is older than most types of life.

Many extinct volcanos are there. It has the largest concentration in the world, with 450 volcanos. The Auvergne Volcanoes National Park is in the massif. The Massif is separated from the Alps by the valley of the Rhone.

These departments are usually considered as part of the Massif Central: Allier, Ardèche, Aveyron, Cantal, Corrèze, Creuse, Haute-Loire, Haute-Vienne, Loire, Lot, Lozère, and Puy-de-Dôme.

Mountains[change | change source]

Here are some well-known mountains in the massif central:

Geography[change | change source]

Puy de Sancy: solidified lava tells its tale

The Massif Central is an important mountain range in France. The Alps, the Pyrénées, and Corsica are higher; Jura, Vosges, Morvan and Ardennes are lower.


References[change | change source]

  1. Faure, Michel, Lardeaux, Jean-Marc & Ledru, Patrick 2009. A review of the pre-Permian geology of the Variscan French Massif Central. Les grands traits de l’évolution anté-permienne du Massif central français. Comptes Rendus Géoscience, 341, numéro 2-3, pages 202-213.
  2. Peterlongo, J.M. 1978. Massif Central. Guides géologiques régionaux, Masson. ISBN 2-225-49753-2