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Mashuk is a laccolith with a crystal nucleus, buried under sedimentary rock (limestone and marl of Upper Cretaceous and Palaeogene). The top of the mountain is flattened and domelike. There is a cavern called "Proval" (depth - 20 m) on the southern slope of Mashuk.
The slopes of the mountain are covered with broadleaved forests (ash trees, hornbeams, oaks, beeches). Also, there is the Perkalsky Dendrologic Orchard on the northern slope of the mountain, which contains approximately 800 kinds of different woody plants and brushwood.
The duel between a famous Russian poet Mikhail Lermontov and Nikolai Martynov took place at the foot of Mashuk Mountain, where now there is an obelisk with the poet's alto-relievo. The grave of a prominent Russian topographer Andrei Pastukhov is located on the southern slope of the mountain. The legend has it that the mountain is named after a Kabard warrior Mashuk, who fought bravely against the Mongols and committed suicide by jumping of a cliff of the mountain when surrounded by the enemy.
Mashuk features a 3,5 km downhill route and is home of Russia's annual downhill championship.