Difference Between Mountain and Hill

Mountain and hill are geographical features that determine the topography of physical land. They hold no official classification that can distinguish them. The U. S. Board initially considered hills have summits of less than 1000 feet. The statement was abolished in the 1970s. They are categorized as generic terms that lack significant characteristics.

Mountain vs Hill

The main difference between mountain and hill is that a mountain is steeper than a hill. The summits of mountains are prominent to that of hills. Mountains have a spontaneous slope whereas hills decline gradually. Mountains are relatively high in altitude, hills have low altitudes. Mountains and hills are the results of erosions that occur on the earth’s surface.

Mountain vs Hill

Mountains are a pile of land rising above the horizon that is formed due to the simultaneous nudging of plates situated beneath the earth. Continuos eruptions result in the formation of those higher and steeper peaks. The formation of the spectacular Himalayas is the result of such erosion that was initiated 55 million years before.

Hills refer to those part of lands which rises above its neighboring land. It has a significant height with respect to its circumambient. Hills are not as steep as mountains. Hills have a distinct summit. Accumulation of sediment and rock soil results in the formation of hills. Likewise, hills get eroded due to certain geological occurring.

Comparison Table Between Mountain and Hill

Parameters of ComparisonMountain Hill 
Altitude High low
Nomenclature Mountains are assigned with names.Hills are often unnamed.
Occurrence Faulting results in the formation of a mountain.Hills are formed by erosion.
Slope The slope of the mountains is steep.The slope of hills is less steep than those of the mountains.
Heights Mountains are more than 2000 feet.Natural hills are lesser than 2000 feet.

What is Mountain?

Mountains are chunks of land that rise above the land surface throughout the earth, including oceans. Mountains are steeper than hills. They have erect slopes with high altitudes. According to geologers, a mountain must be more than a thousand feet from sea level. Series of mountains with no distinct space between them forms a mountain range.

These massive mountain ranges are formed when the plates inside the earth’s crust interact with each other resulting in plate tectonics. They pile up forming a huge bump on the earth’s surface. The Himalayas are the result of such interaction that was initiated fifty-five million ago. The apex of  Mount Everest is the highest peak on earth.

Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain, but it is 4,205 meters high from sea level. Otherwise, it is as tall as 10,203 meters. Mountains can be classified into the following types. They are as follows with corresponding examples

  • Volcanic mountains (Mount St. Helens and Mount Fuji)
  • Dome mountains (the Adirondack Mountains, black mountains)
  • Fault block mountains (the Sierra Nevada, Harz Mountains)

Mountains have impacts on territories. Their massive boundaries serve the purpose of borders. They have an influence on the climate including storms swaying through the ocean to rain pouring from the clouds. Mountains provide shelter to fugitives.

What is Hill?

A hill denotes that section of land that is on a higher level with respect to its neighboring surfaces. Hill is a cluster of land that resembles a lump in your body. One can expect a better view of the surroundings standing on the hill. Hills are not difficult to climb. The earth’s surface is full of hills frequently resulting due to natural erosion.

Hills are less steeper in contrast to mountains. People can climb them at ease. Besides mountains, hills have summits, which is its apex. Hills are not pointed as mountains, rather they are blunt. History shows ancient people sculpted hills, they were named mounds. One such community is Hopewell. The mounds were 305 meters wide with a height of 9 meters. Archeologists are unaware of the purpose of the mounds. 

On the other hand, the natural occurring of hills is caused by the spontaneous nudging of the plates underneath the earth’s layer. Hills occurring via natural causes can turn into mountains through further erosion. The plates are constantly vibrating resulting in changes in topography.

A hill can be roughly classified into three categories. They are

  • A drumlin (resulted due to movement of the glaciers)
  • A butte ( an entire area having one hill)
  • A tor (formation of rock on a hilltop)

Main Differences Between Mountain and Hill

  1. Mountains have steeper slopes whereas the slope of hills is not so steep.
  2. Mountains are challenging to climb whereas most of the hills can be climbed with ease.
  3. Mountains are often identified with specific names, whereas hills are not named often.
  4. Mountains have higher altitudes while hills have lower altitudes.
  5. Faulting is the cause behind the formation of mountains whereas erosion leads to the formation of hills.
Difference Between Mountain and Hill


Mountains and hills do not bear any significant distinctions. Mountains are elevated surfaces with steep slopes that are quite a challenge to climb. Whereas hills are not that elevated and can be climbed without immense effort. Mountains have higher altitudes in comparison to that of the hills. Hills have lower altitudes. Mountains are significant features in the land surface, they are massive. Any natural bump on the earth’s surface can be classified as a hill. There are possibilities that certain hills were once a mountain and simultaneous erosion worn out its top resulting in it being classified as a hill. The summit of mountains is pointed whereas the summit of hills does not have significant edges. Also, there are situations when these general classifications cannot justify an exception. The Pocono Mountains, which is originated in Pennsylvania are old enough and thus they can appear to be smaller. Overall mountain and hills are generic terms that have no specific clarifications. There are not enough data to draw a distinguishable boundary between them.


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