Orographically Hungary is composed of an extensive central plain surrounded by high mountains.
The Carpathians do not form an uninterrupted chain of mountains, but consist of several orographically and geologically distinctive groups; in fact they present as great a structural variety as the Alps; but as regards magnificence of scenery they cannot compare with the Alps.
Orographically, therefore, the proper Carpathians are divided into: (a) the western Carpathians, (b) the eastern or wooded Carpathians, and (c) the central groups.
The next succeeding parallel range, the Koko-shili, which is continued eastwards by the Bayan-khara-ula, between the upper headstreams of the Hwang-ho or Yellow River and the Yangtszekiang, belongs orographically to the plateau of Tibet.
When the altitudes of the intermont latitudinal valleys are compared, the significance orographically of the Chimen valley and of the Kum-kol valley is strikingly emphasized.
Argaeus, which, however, can hardly be regarded as orographically one with it.
Orographically they are the N.
Orographically the country is remarkable.
The Tarbagatai Mountains and their north-western continuation, the Chinghiz-tau, are sometimes considered to belong orographically to the Altai system; but there are good reasons for regarding them as an independent range.
The other arm of the bifurcation, situated farther south, and beginning at the Terek-tau, is double; it consists of the Alai and Trans-Alai ranges, continued westwards in the Karateghin, Zarafshan, Hissar and Turkestan ranges, though orographically the Trans-Alai ought probably to be described as the border-ridge of the Pamir plateau.
Thus the Kuruktagh are linked, by the Kok-teke, on to the Khalyk-tau of the Khantengri group. The Khaidyk-tau, which are crossed by the passes of Tash-againyn (7610 ft.) and Kotyl (9900 ft.), are not improbably connected orographically with the Trans-Ili Ala-tau, or its twin parallel range, the Kunghei Ala-tau, in the west, in that they are an eastern prolongation of the latter.
It is not clear, however, whether orographically it is connected with the Alexander range or with the Talas-tau.
(2) The Atlas range, which, orographically, is distinct from the rest of the continent, being unconnected with any other area of high ground, and separated from the rest of the continent on the south by a depressed and desert area (the Sahara), in places below sea-level.
For the most part the main crest constitutes the Franco-Spanish frontier; the principal exception to this rule is formed by the valley of Aran, which belongs orographically to France but politically to Spain.