|The Processes of Mountain Building. Interlayered Coal Seams and mudstones from Alaska Range|
Mountains are magnificent and inspiring features. Just thinking of mountains conjures up beautiful images of places like the Rockies, the Andes, Hawaii and the Alps. But not all mountains are the same. Though they all take a very long time to form, mountains are created in different ways depending on where they are on Earth. Some mountains are created by land pushing together, while others are formed over hotspots on Earth. Let's take a closer look at the mountain building process to better understand how these incredible structures come to be Plate Boundary Mountains.
The most common type of mountain is a fold mountain. Fold mountains form when continental tectonic plates are pushed together, like the Himalayas in South Asia. Tectonic plates make up the Earth's crust (both the continents and the ocean floor) and are like puzzle pieces floating around on the mantle below. They move around very slowly, but sometimes push into each other along their edges.
When this happens, the intense pressure of the edges pushing together forces the plate material upward since there's nowhere else for it to go. This would be like you taking two pieces of bread and sliding them across a surface into each other from opposite directions. As the edges of the bread are compressed together, they rise upward, forming a sort of bread mountain.