Summit (topography)
Encyclopedia
"Mountaintop" redirects here. This can also refer to the speech by Dr. Martin Luther King
I've Been to the Mountaintop
"I've Been to the Mountaintop" is the popular name of the last speech delivered by Martin Luther King, Jr.King spoke on April 3, 1968, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee. The next day, King was assassinated....

.

In topography
Topography
Topography is the study of Earth's surface shape and features or those ofplanets, moons, and asteroids...

, a summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation
Elevation
The elevation of a geographic location is its height above a fixed reference point, most commonly a reference geoid, a mathematical model of the Earth's sea level as an equipotential gravitational surface ....

to it. Mathematically
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, a summit is a local maximum
Maxima and minima
In mathematics, the maximum and minimum of a function, known collectively as extrema , are the largest and smallest value that the function takes at a point either within a given neighborhood or on the function domain in its entirety .More generally, the...

in elevation. The topographic terms "acme", "apex", "peak"
Pyramidal peak
A pyramidal peak, or sometimes in its most extreme form called a glacial horn, is a mountaintop that has been modified by the action of ice during glaciation and frost weathering...

, and "zenith"
Zenith
The zenith is an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere. "Above" means in the vertical direction opposite to the apparent gravitational force at that location. The opposite direction, i.e...

are synonym
Synonym
Synonyms are different words with almost identical or similar meanings. Words that are synonyms are said to be synonymous, and the state of being a synonym is called synonymy. The word comes from Ancient Greek syn and onoma . The words car and automobile are synonyms...

s.

The term "summit" is generally only used for a mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

peak with some significant amount of topographic prominence
Topographic prominence
In topography, prominence, also known as autonomous height, relative height, shoulder drop , or prime factor , categorizes the height of the mountain's or hill's summit by the elevation between it and the lowest contour line encircling it and no higher summit...

(height above the lowest point en route to the nearest higher peak) or topographic isolation
Topographic isolation
The topographic isolation of a summit is the minimum horizontal distance to the nearest point of higher elevation. Topographic isolation represents a radius of dominance in which the summit is the highest point. Topographic isolation can be calculated for small hills and islands as well as for...

(distance from the nearest point of higher elevation); for example, a boulder
Boulder
In geology, a boulder is a rock with grain size of usually no less than 256 mm diameter. While a boulder may be small enough to move or roll manually, others are extremely massive....

next to the main summit of a mountain is not considered a summit. Summits near a higher peak, with some prominence or isolation, but not reaching a certain cutoff value for these quantities, are often considered subsummits (or subpeaks) of the higher peak, and are considered as part of the same mountain. The UIAA definition is that a summit is independent if it has a prominence of 30 metres (98.4 ft) or more; it is a mountain if it has a prominence of at least 300 metres (984.3 ft). This can be summarised as follows:
Term Prominence
Subpeak < 30 m
Independent peak or summit 30 m or more
Mountain 300 m or more

A pyramidal peak
Pyramidal peak
A pyramidal peak, or sometimes in its most extreme form called a glacial horn, is a mountaintop that has been modified by the action of ice during glaciation and frost weathering...

is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

of a mountain top.

Summit may also refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route. In many parts of the western United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the term refers to the highest point along a road, highway, or railroad. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80
Interstate 80
Interstate 80 is the second-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, following Interstate 90. It is a transcontinental artery running from downtown San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey in the New York City Metropolitan Area...

in California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

is referred to as Donner Summit (not to be confused with Donner Pass
Donner Pass
Donner Pass is a mountain pass in the northern Sierra Nevada, located above Donner Lake about nine miles west of Truckee, California. It has a steep approach from the east and a gradual approach from the west....

, which is located just to the south.)

• Geoid
Geoid
The geoid is that equipotential surface which would coincide exactly with the mean ocean surface of the Earth, if the oceans were in equilibrium, at rest , and extended through the continents . According to C.F...

• Hill
Hill
A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills often have a distinct summit, although in areas with scarp/dip topography a hill may refer to a particular section of flat terrain without a massive summit A hill is a landform that extends above the surrounding terrain. Hills...

• List of highest mountains
• Maxima and minima
Maxima and minima
In mathematics, the maximum and minimum of a function, known collectively as extrema , are the largest and smallest value that the function takes at a point either within a given neighborhood or on the function domain in its entirety .More generally, the...

• Mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...