Mountains have always served as a barrier for travel and communication. Since they are so massive,
it is difficult to travel over them. In the past, they separated religions and cultures. Now, they are
economically important for their metallic mineral deposits. Also, people use mountains for recreational
purposes. We enjoy hiking to the top of some mountains. Some even dare to try Mt. Everest, the world's
highest mountain. Mountains differ greatly in size. The highest mountain in the United states is over 10,000 feet
above sea level and Mt. Everest is over 28,000 feet above sea level! Some mountains are just a couple of
thousand feet above sea level.
This web page will help you understand how and why mountains are formed, you can learn about tectonic plates,
visit other pages about mountains, and even see some pictures of me hiking on some mountains! Enjoy!
Mountains can be formed in a couple of different ways. Different kinds of mountains are formed
different ways. There are four different kinds of mountains: Volcanic, erosional, fault-block, and folded.
Volcanic mountains, also known as volcanoes, can be standing alone or be part of one big chain of volcanoes.
Volcanoes are areas in which lava and magma move to the surface and burst through the crust. Igneous rocks are formed
here. Sometimes, hot molten rock spews out of volcanoes. This is earth's way of releasing its internal heat. Many
people have died and cities have been buried from volcanic eruptions. An area with a chain of volcanoes is Hawaii.
Mauna Kea (4,205 m/13,796 ft) is an example of a volcanic mountain.
Erosional mountains are formed by wind or water wearing down weak spots in land and carrying it away.
Non-resistant material is washed away, whereas the stronger material remains.
Pike's Peak (4,301 m/ 14,110 ft) is an example of an erosional mountain. Pike's Peak is a large mass of
granite that has resisted erosion for many years. It is all that is left of the mountain.
Fault-block mountains are formed by the vertical faulting of large blocks of earth. These are common
in the western United States. Fault-block valleys are also formed by this manner.
Folded Mountains are the most common type of mountain. They are created by tectonic plates pushing against each other. This creates intense pressure. Therefore, the only direction for these mountains to move is up. When two plates move away from each other, they create a rift valley in between them. Sometimes, if plates collide, one will force the other under itself. This is another way that folded mountains occur.Back to top
Different mountain chains were formed different ways. There are chains of each of the four
different kinds of mountains.
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