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So in many a fantasy world mountains, or in some cases a particular mountain that play an important role in the story.

Maybe it's the seat of the gods or hosts a hidden Shangri La, you get the idea.

Often times one mountain stands alone (a la Erebor) or one mountain stands significantly taller than all the rest.

In my world I have a mountain range that with a few exceptions splits an entire continent in half. I would like one mountain to stand maybe a third taller than all the rest.

Style wise (geologically) the mountains should resemble the rocky mountains in the US. What I want to know is can a single mountain stand out and be in the range of 50% taller than the rest of the mountains in the range.

  • For the sake of this question assume the average height is somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 feet (3657.6 M) tall. I am looking for one mountain to clearly stand out and be in the neighborhood of 18,000 feet (5486.4 M) tall.

Can this wide of a range be supported?

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    $\begingroup$ What about the entire "range" being one mountain? See Olympus Mons. $\endgroup$ – Samuel Dec 10 '15 at 22:31
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    $\begingroup$ Are you wondering whether this is geologically possible? $\endgroup$ – Era Dec 10 '15 at 23:23
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That sounds very similar to the Alaska Range - a "large" amount of peaks in the 10-13 kft range, with Denali at over 20 kft, towering far above the others.

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DISCLAIMER I'm not a geologist. I would love to have one correct me on the following.

A lone mountain significantly higher than its surrounding is very likely a volcano. Bear that in mind.

A long mountain range running through the continent is likely a scar of a plate collision (consider Ural mountains - now rather old and worn out, but they were higher once).

Before continents collide, there should be a sea between them - and the edge of that sea was a subduction zone during its demise.

And volcanoes are quite common in subduction zones (think Japan). One thing that bugs me is that subduction zone volcanoes typically form arcs and chains rather than lone big mountains, but maybe there are exceptions.

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    $\begingroup$ Lone volcanoes... Hawaii or Iceland they are well away from continental shelves and are results of magma plumes. $\endgroup$ – Burgi Dec 14 '15 at 14:48
  • $\begingroup$ Makes sense. A plume would be ideal. But I'm still unsure if a plume can exist near converging plate border. $\endgroup$ – Dallaylaen Dec 14 '15 at 15:12
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It's certainly supportable. It sounds like the range that your describing though is more like the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas on the Nepal-China Border, home of the famous Mt. Everest. The geological history of the area is (IIRC) that India was a separate continent that slammed into Asia which caused the ring of mountain ranges to appear after Pangea had their break-up. You could use the same history for your continent - originally two, but collided years ago, causing that mountain range to occur only in the middle of continent where the collision happened.

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    $\begingroup$ Note that the Indian Plate started moving with the breakup of Pangaea (~170 million years ago) but the Himalayas did not begin to grow until it impacted the Eurasian Plate about 40 to 50 mya. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Dec 13 '15 at 19:54

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