Category : Soaring Mountains
Mountain Building: Block 4 (Understanding the Continents)
The most common type of mountain in the world are called fold mountains. When you see vast mountain ranges stretching on for thousands of kilometers, those are fold mountains. Fold mountains are formed when two of the Earth’s tectonic plates collide head on; like two cars crashing together. The edges of each tectonic plate crumple and buckle, and these create the mountains.
The plates may be either ‘continental and continental’ or ‘continental and oceanic’. The plates move towards each other, but there isn’t a free space for them to move into because they are already touching each other. With two massive plates of rock pushing against each other and continually moving, all that rock has to go somewhere!
At a destructive plate margin where oceanic and continental plates collide, the oceanic plate is subducted, pulled under the continental plate – whilst the continental plate is crumpled upwards to form a mountain range. The Andes are an example of fold mountains formed at a destructive plate margin.
Some examples of fold mountain ranges include the Rocky Mountains in North America, and the Himalayan Mountains in Asia.
The European Alps are a popular tourist location, as well as home to over eleven million people. Countries such as France,Italy,Switzerland,Austria and Germany have developed tourism in their mountains and have thriving tourism sectors. Not all fold mountain areas as as well developed as the Alps of course.
The Himalayas are popular with tourists, but much harder for Europeans, Africans and Americans to get to.
Whilst the European Alps are the most populated mountains in the world, the Himalayas have a low population density and are so high that people cannot survive for long in the highest parts!
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