Mount Elbrus is one of the world’s dormant mountains, sitting in the Caucasus Mountains.

Why Is It Famous?

Part of the fame of Mount Elbrus comes from the fact that some consider it the tallest mountain in Europe. This is a somewhat complicated designation since the Caucasus Mountains sit where Asia and Europe intersect. Mount Elbrus is also the world’s peak that is tenth most prominent.

What Is Nearby?

You can find Mount Elbrus within the Caucasus Mountains of Southern Russia. It sits close to the country’s border with Georgia.

There is some debate as to whether Mount Elbrus lies in Europe or Asia since there is a similar debate about the Caucasus Range as a whole. Most modern authorities agree that the Caucasus watershed is the continental boundary. This division would place Mount Elbrus in Europe, to the north of the watershed.

Geological Description

There are two summits on Elbrus, with each being dormant volcanic domes. The west summit is taller at 5,642 meters while the east summit measures 5,621 meters. Mount Elbrus is on a tectonic area that moves, with connections to a fault. There is a magma supply underneath this dormant volcano.

The formation of Mount Elbrus began over 2.5 million years ago. The Global Volcanism Program indicates that its last eruption was around 50 A.D. The volcano’s main activity was during the Holocene.

There is some evidence of recent volcanic activity, albeit of a minor nature. There are multiple lava flows, which geologists say appear fresh. There is also about 260 square kilometers with volcanic debris. The longest of these is 24 kilometers, indicating a large eruption. Geologists have also noticed solfataric activity as well as hot springs.

Events in Time

The first to ascend the east summit of Mount Elbrus was Khillar Khachirov on July 10, 1829. A British expedition was the first to ascend the west summit, doing so in 1874.


Mount Elbrus is technically Europe’s highest mountain, although it sits almost right on the border between Asia and Europe. This mountain is a dormant volcano that has not had a major eruption in several thousand years.