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Austria, Land and Resources

Semmering Pass, Carnic Alps, Brenner Pass, Hohe Tauern, principal river

Austria is predominantly a mountainous country, with an average elevation of about 910 m (about 3,000 ft). Most of the land falls within the eastern division of the Alps. In general the major mountain ranges of Austria run in an east-west direction and are separated from one another by rather broad valleys. The northernmost line of ranges includes the North Tirol (Tyrol) Alps and the Salzburg Alps. Among the central ranges is the Hohe Tauern, which culminates in the Grossglockner, the highest elevation (3,797 m/12,457 ft) in the country; the Pasterze Glacier, one of Europe’s largest, descends from the Grossglockner peak. The southernmost ranges include the Otztal Alps, the Zillertaler Alps, the Carnic Alps, and the Karawanken Mountains. Besides these east-west ranges, several series of mountain spurs extend in a north-south direction. The mountain barriers of Austria are broken in many places by passes, including the Brenner Pass and the Semmering Pass.

The principal areas of Austria that are not within the Alps are the northern and eastern border sections. The northern section consists of rolling upland, and the eastern border section comprises part of the Danube basin, including Vienna.

The principal river is the Danube, which enters Austria at Passau on the German border; it continues its southeastern course, past Linz and Vienna, to Bratislava on the Slovakian border. Austrian tributaries of the Danube include the Inn (forming part of Austria’s German border), Traun, Enns, and Ybbs rivers. In the south, important rivers are the Mur and the Murz. In addition to the rivers, the hydrographic system of the country includes numerous lakes, notably Bodensee, forming the western border with Liechtenstein and Switzerland, and Neusiedler Lake in Burgenland, near Hungary. The lake is the country’s lowest elevation point (115 m/377 ft).

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Article key phrases:

Semmering Pass, Carnic Alps, Brenner Pass, Hohe Tauern, principal river, broad valleys, Bodensee, Burgenland, eastern division, rolling upland, Passau, important rivers, Enns, Traun, western border, northern section, Tyrol, highest elevation, Bratislava, average elevation, Danube, Alps, Inn, Vienna, Hungary, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, passes, places


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