What is the difference between a mountain range, a mountain system, and a mountain belt? How do you measure the height of a mountain?
--- Cheryl, 6th grade; San Diego, OK
It seems like the following would make sense: A range is a linked series of mountains, like the Sierra Nevada, or Cascade Range. A system could be a series of ranges (like the Klamath Mountains is a series of associated, individual ranges). The term belt is generally used to indicate a large-scale tectonic feature (like the Himalaya belt of Asia). Nearly all are related to plate tectonics, and as such commonly define relatively long, linear trends of mountain building. Height is measured several ways: from walking to the top and taking careful measurements, to bouncing a laser off the moon.
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