AskDefine | Define massif

Dictionary Definition

massif n : a block of the earth's crust bounded by faults and shifted to form peaks of a mountain range

User Contributed Dictionary



1885 , massif, adjective, from Middle French


  1. A principal mountain mass.
  2. A block of the earth's crust bounded by faults or flexures and displaced as a unit without internal change; normally consists of gneisses and schists





fr-noun m


  1. massive

Extensive Definition

In geology, a massif is a section of a planet's crust that is demarcated by faults or flexures. In the movement of the crust, a massif tends to retain its internal structure while being displaced as a whole. The term is also used to refer to a group of mountains formed by such a structure. The massif is a smaller structural unit of the crust than a tectonic plate.
The word is taken from French (in which the word also means "massive"), where it is used to refer to a large mountain mass or compact group of connected mountains forming an independent portion of a range. One of the most notable European examples of a massif is the Massif Central of the Auvergne region of France.
In mountaineering and climbing literature, a massif is frequently used to denote the main mass of an individual mountain.
massif in German: Massiv
massif in Spanish: Macizo
massif in French: Liste des massifs montagneux
massif in Hebrew: מסיב
massif in Dutch: Bergmassief
massif in Japanese: 山塊
massif in Occitan (post 1500): Lista dels massisses montanhoses
massif in Polish: Masyw górski
massif in Portuguese: Maciço
massif in Russian: Горная система
massif in Swedish: Massiv
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