The Proccess of Mountain Building

How Earth builds its towering wonders of rock


Mountains formed by folding are usually brought about at a convergent boundary between two plates; fold mountains occur especially at subduction zones. As the continental plates push against each other, they crumple and fold, hence the name.
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The Zagros Mountains in Iran, Kurdistan, and Turkey are a great example of fold mountains.


Tensions in the crust can cause large blocks of rock to break, creating what is called a fault block. Plates on either side of it can push against the block, raising it to make a fault mountain. When plates pull away, it creates a rift valley.
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This example of a block mountain is in Yosemite Valley at the Yosemite National Park, California.


Volcanic mountains are formed in various ways, but are usually started by convergent boundaries pushing the crust upwards and causing magma to well up. Magma goes to the surface of the Earth as lava and cools, forming rock. Depending on the magma and the material that solidifies, different volcanoes are formed. Runny lava creates a gently sloped mountain called a shield volcano, combinations of ash and cinder create a composite volcano, and a deep cratered mountain is a cinder volcano that releases gases and ash.