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The Alps are a crescent shaped geographic feature of central Europe that ranges in a 800 km (500 mi) arc from east to west and is 200 km (120 mi) in width.The mean height of the mountain peaks is 2.5 km (1.6 mi).An alp refers to a high mountain pasture where cows are taken to be grazed during the summer months and where hay barns can be found, and the term "the Alps", referring to the mountains, is a misnomer.The term for the mountain peaks varies by nation and language: words such as Horn, Kogel, Kopf, Gipfel, Spitze, Stock, and Berg are used in German speaking regions; Mont, Pic, Tête, Pointe, Dent, Roche, and Aiguille in French speaking regions; and Monte, Picco, Corno, Punta, Pizzo, or Cima in Italian speaking regions.The mountains were formed over tens of millions of years as the African and Eurasian tectonic plates collided.Extreme shortening caused by the event resulted in marine sedimentary rocks rising by thrusting and folding into high mountain peaks such as Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn.The highest portion of the range is divided by the glacial trough of the Rhône valley, with the Pennine Alps from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn and Monte Rosa on the southern side, and the Bernese Alps on the northern.

X 13) that all high mountains are called Alpes by Celts.

The term may be common to Italo-Celtic, because the Celtic languages have terms for high mountains derived from alp.

This may be consistent with the theory that in Greek Alpes is a name of non-Indo-European origin (which is common for prominent mountains and mountain ranges in the Mediterranean region).

Mont Blanc spans the French–Italian border, and at 4,810 m (15,781 ft) is the highest mountain in the Alps.

The Alpine region area contains about a hundred peaks higher than 4,000 metres (13,000 ft).

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