section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures

A massif is a part of the Earth's crust that has been pushed up. Usually this happens when continental plates press against each other. One set of rocks goes up, the other goes down towards the Earth's mantle.[1][2][3]

Part of the Ennedi Massif in Chad. The sand is part of the surrounding plateau

The word "massif" means a block of mountains formed by this process, and surrounded by fault lines. Linear mountains like those on the western side of the Americas are usually not called massifs. They are called mountain chains.

An example of a massif is Saser Kangri in the Karakoram which is made up of six mountains. The most famous example of a massif is the Himalayan group.

Panoramic view of the Mont Blanc massif, an example of a massif, and the highest summit in the Alps.[4]


  1. Sawe, Benjamin (14 June 2018). "What is a massif?". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  2. "massif". Merriam-Webster Unabridged. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  3. "Mountains Information and Facts". National Geographic. 15 October 2018. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
  4. "The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6, 2009". 2009-11-06.