MOUNTAIN FORMATION refers to the geological processes that underlie
the formation of mountains . These processes are associated with
large-scale movements of the Earth's crust (tectonic plates ).
Folding , faulting , volcanic activity , igneous intrusion and
metamorphism can all be parts of the orogenic process of mountain
building. The formation of mountains is not necessarily related to
the geological structures found on it.
The understanding of specific landscape features in terms of the
underlying tectonic processes is called tectonic geomorphology , and
the study of geologically young or ongoing processes is called
* 1 Types of mountains
* 1.1 Volcanic mountains
* 1.2 Fold mountains
* 1.3 Block mountains
* 1.4 Uplifted passive margins
* 2 Models
* 2.1 Hotspot volcanoes
* 2.2 Fault blocks
* 3 See also
* 4 Notes
* 5 External links
TYPES OF MOUNTAINS
List of mountain types
There are three main types of mountains: volcanic, fold, and block.
A more detailed classification useful on a local scale predates plate
tectonics and adds to these categories.
Shield volcano , and
Zimina , and Udina
Kamchatka , Russia. Oblique view taken on November
12, 2013 from ISS. Stratovolcanoes associated with a
subduction zone (left) and a spreading ridge volcano (right). A
hotspot volcano is center.
Movements of tectonic plates create volcanoes along the plate
boundaries, which erupt and form mountains. A volcanic arc system is a
series of volcanoes that form near a subduction zone where the crust
of a sinking oceanic plate melts.
Most volcanoes occur in a band encircling the Pacific Ocean (the
Pacific Ring of Fire
Pacific Ring of Fire ), and in another that extends from the
Mediterranean across Asia to join the Pacific band in the Indonesian
Archipelago. The most important types of volcanic mountain are
composite cones or stratovolcanoes (
Vesuvius , Kilimanjaro and Mount
Fuji are examples) and shield volcanoes (such as
Mauna Loa on Hawaii,
a hotspot volcano).
A shield volcano has a gently sloping cone due to the low viscosity
of the emitted material, primarily basalt .
Mauna Loa is the classic
example, with a slope of 4°-6°. (The relation between slope and
viscosity falls under the topic of angle of repose . ) The composite
volcano or stratovolcano has a more steeply rising cone (33°-40°),
due to the higher viscosity of the emitted material, and eruptions are
more violent and less frequent than for shield volcanoes. Besides the
examples already mentioned are
Mount Shasta ,
Mount Hood and Mount
Fold (geology) ,
Fold and thrust belt
Fold and thrust belt , and
Zard-Kuh , a fold mountain in the central
Zagros range of Iran.
When plates collide or undergo subduction (that is – ride one over
another), the plates tend to buckle and fold, forming mountains. Most
of the major continental mountain ranges are associated with thrusting
and folding or orogenesis . Examples are the Jura and the Zagros
Fault-block mountain of
tilted type. Sierra Nevada Mountains (formed by delamination)
as seen from the
International Space Station
International Space Station .
When a fault block is raised or tilted, block mountains can result.
Higher blocks are called horsts and troughs are called grabens . A
spreading apart of the surface causes tensional forces. When the
tensional forces are strong enough to cause a plate to split apart, it
does so such that a center block drops down relative to its flanking
An example is the Sierra Nevada Range , where delamination created a
block 650 km long and 80 km wide that consists of many individual
portions tipped gently west, with east facing slips rising abruptly to
produce the highest mountain front in the continental United States.
UPLIFTED PASSIVE MARGINS
Unlike orogenic mountains there is no widely accepted geophysical
model that explains elevated passive continental margins such as the
Scandinavian Mountains ,
Eastern Greenland , the Brazilian Highlands
Great Dividing Range
Great Dividing Range . Different elevated passive
continental margins most likely share the same mechanism of uplift.
This mechanism is possibly related to far-field stresses in Earth’s
lithosphere . According to this view elevated passived margins can be
likened to giant anticlinal lithospheric folds , where folding is
caused by horizontal compression acting on a thin to thick crust
transition zone (as are all passive margins).
Extensional tectonics ,
Rift valley ,
Rift , Prediction of
volcanic activity , and
Hotspots are supplied by a magma source in the Earth's mantle called
a mantle plume . Although originally attributed to a melting of
subducted oceanic crust, recent evidence belies this connection. The
mechanism for plume formation remains a research topic.
Several movements of the earth's crust that lead to mountains are
associated with faults . These movements actually are amenable to
analysis that can predict, for example, the height of a raised block
and the width of an intervening rift between blocks using the rheology
of the layers and the forces of isostasy . Early bent plate models
predicting fractures and fault movements have evolved into today's
kinematic and flexural models.
3D Fold Evolution
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