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atlas mountains
atlas mountains
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Atlas Mountains

The Atlas Mountains lie in northwestern Africa and are an extention of the European Alpine system. Located primarily in Tunisia and Morocco, the Atlas Mountains extend approximately 1,500 miles (2,400 km). The highest range in the chain is to be found in southern Morocco and is called the High or Grand Atlas. The highest peak is Toubkal and measures over 13,665 feet (4165 m). The second-highest peak is to be found in central Morocco and is approximately 11,000 feet (3,350 m) high. Some other noteworthy ranges within the system include the Anti-Atlas that runs parallel to the High Atlas (elevation 6750 feet [2060 m]), the Sahara Atlas in eastern Morocco and Algeria (elevation 7,638 feet [2328 m] at Jebel Chelia), and the Tell or Maritime Atlas along the coast (elevation 5,000 feet [1520 m]).

The Atlas Mountains provide a route between the coast and the Sahara Desert. Both the High and Middle Atlas slopes have dense forests containing cedar, pine, cork, and oak trees. There are fertile valleys and tracts of pasture where livestock can feed. Within the mountain range, there is a wide variety of mineral deposits which have hardly been touched. Besides deposits of lead, zinc, iron, manganese, antimony, and phosphates, one also finds gold and silver. There are also petroleum reserves.

Traditionally, the Atlas Mountains are considered Berber territory.

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