The Bernese Alps form the centerpiece of this late summer view of Switzerland; Jungfrau (J—4158 m), Moench (M—4089 m), and Eiger (E—3970 m) are among the higher peaks of the Central Alps. North of the range is the city of Interlaken, flanked by the Thune See and Brienzer See (lakes); the long, straight-segmented valley of the Rhone lies to the south.
On the southern flank of the Jungfrau massif is the Aletsch glacier, meltwaters of which feed the upper Rhone; another source is the Rhone glacier at the eastern end of the valley. One estimate holds that roughly half the ice in glaciers of the European Alps has melted since 1850. U-shaped valleys carved by glaciers are clearly visible; some, such as that of the Rhone, have been modified by through-flowing rivers.
The Swiss Alps are elements of a great mountain system that was constructed as Africa and Eurasia collided, starting more than 90 million years ago. Ancient basement rocks (>325 million years old) of the Bernese Alps were uplifted, folded, and forced northward between ~29 and 10 million years ago.
The Bernese Alps form the centerpiece of this late summer view of Switzerland; Jungfrau (4158 m), Moench (4089 m), and Eiger (3970 m) are among the higher peaks of the Central Alps. North of the range is the city of Interlaken, flanked by the Thune See and Brienzer See (lakes); the long, straight-segmented valley of the Rhone lies to the south.
The formidable mountain system of the Alps stretches across much of central Europe, with seven countries claiming portions of the mountains within their borders: Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Austria, and Slovenia. The glacial landscape of the Bernese Alps, located in southwestern Switzerland, is well illustrated by this astronaut photograph. An astronaut took this picture looking north-northwest while the International Space Station was over the Mediterranean Sea between Corsica and Italy. Three of the higher peaks of the central Alps are visible: Jungfrau at 4,158 meters (13,642 feet); Moench at 4,089 meters (13,415 feet); and Eiger at 3,970 meters (13,025 feet).