THE HIGH MOUNTAINS OF EUROPE 492. Well-placed mountains.—Europe is more lucky than North America in the kinds of high mountains it has.
On the physical map of Europe notice that the high mountain wall extending from west to east is broken by wide openings into four sections. Find these sections: 1, Can tabrians and Pyrenees; 2, Alps; 3, Caucasus; 4, Carpathians. On the physical map of North America see if you can find a place in the western moun tains where the wall is broken by wide open ings.
We shall also study the mountains of Scandinavia in this chapter, because they, too, are high mountains of Europe.
If the high mountain wall of Europe had been as unbroken, as that of North America, it would have been extremely difficult for ancient peoples to have crossed from one side of the mountain ranges to the other side. But Europe is lucky in that the wide open ings in her moun tain wall have always allowed the people to pass. In recent times roads have been improved and extended, and tunnels have been dug through the mountains themselves. One of
the Alpine tunnels, through which a railroad passes, is eleven miles long—the Simplon, between Switzerland and Italy, more than twice as long as any tunnel in the United States.
In their highest parts all of these five high mountains save the Carpathians rise to the height of perpetual snow. Both sides of the five great ranges are swept by rain-bear ing winds. This abundant moisture gives the mountains a good cover of trees and grass wherever there is earth to feed plants.
Since the higher parts are not desirable places in which to live, most of the people live in the lower parts of the mountains. Valleys open out in almost every direction, and people from different parts of Europe have entered the valleys and settled there. This makes a. varied and interesting moun tain population. We shall study the moun tain groups separately.