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A hill chain, sometimes also hill ridge, is an elongated line of hills that usually includes a succession of more or less prominent hilltops, domed summits or kuppen, hill ridges and saddles and which, together with its associated lateral ridges and branches, may form a complex topographic structure. It may occur within a hill range, within an area of low rolling hill country or on a plain. It may link two or more otherwise distinct hill ranges. The transition from a hill chain to a mountain chain is blurred and depends on regional definitions of a hill or mountain. For example, in the UK and Ireland a mountain must officially be 600 m (2,000 ft) or higher, whereas in North America mountains are often (unofficially) taken as being 1,000 ft (300 m) high or more.
The chain-like arrangement of hills in a chain is a consequence of their collective formation by mountain building forces or ice age earth movements. Hill chains generally have a uniform geological age, but may comprise several types of rock or sediment.
Hill chains normally form a watershed. They are crossed by roads that often use a natural saddle in the terrain.
- the Fläming south of Berlin in Germany
- the Malvern Hills in central England
- the ridge between the Taunus and Vogelsberg, which lies south of Giessen and forms the watershed between the Lahn valley and the Wetterau in Germany
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