A ridge or a mountain ridge is a geological feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance. The sides of the ridge slope away from narrow top on either side.The line along the crest formed by the highest points, with the terrain dropping down on either side, is called the ridgeline. Ridges are usually termed
mountains as well, depending on size.
There are several main types of ridges:
Dendritic ridge: In typical
dissected plateau terrain, the stream drainage valleys will leave intervening ridges. These are by far the most common ridges. These ridges usually represent slightly more
erosion resistant rock, but not always – they often remain because there were more
joints where the valleys formed or other chance occurrences. This type of ridge is generally somewhat random in orientation, often changing direction frequently, often with knobs at intervals on the ridge top.
Stratigraphic ridge: In places such as the
Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, long, even, straight ridges are formed because they are the uneroded remaining edges of the more resistant
dippingstrata that were
folded laterally. Similar ridges have formed in places such as the
Black Hills, where the ridges form concentric circles around the
igneous core. Sometimes these ridges are called "
Oceanic spreading ridge: In
tectonic spreading zones around the world, such as at the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the volcanic activity forming new plate boundary forms volcanic ridges at the spreading zone.
Isostatic settling and erosion gradually reduces the elevations moving away from the zone.
Shutter ridges: A shutter ridge is a ridge which has moved along a fault line, blocking or diverting drainage. Typically, a shutter ridge creates a valley corresponding to the alignment of the fault that produces it.