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Most geologists classify a mountain as a landform that rises at least 1,000 feet (300 meters) or more above its surrounding area. A mountain range is a series or chain of mountains that are close together.

Mountains can be classified into five different basic types based on the cause that formed the mountain, type of rocks, shape and placement on land. 1. Fold Mountains (Folded Mountains) - These are formed when two continental tectonic plates collide and their edges crumble to form mountains. The crust is uplifted forming folds on top of the other. Vast mountain ranges stretching across thousands of kilometres areFold Mountains. The Rocky Mountains in North America, the Alps in Europe, the Andes in South America, the Urals in Russia and the Himalayan Mountains in Asia are examples of Fold Mountains. 2. Fault-block Mountains (BlockMountains) - The Fault-block Mountains or block mountains are created when faults or cracks in the Earth's crust force materials or blocks of rocks upward or down. The uplifted blocks are Block Mountains or horsts. The intervening dropped blocks are called graben, which can be small or form rift valley systems. These block mountains break up into chunks or blocks and move either up or down. When they move apart blocks of rock get stacked on one another Fault-block Mountains usually have a steep front side and then a sloping back side. The Sierra Nevada Mountains in North America and the Harz Mountains in Germany are examples of Fault-Block Mountains. 3. Dome Mountains - Dome Mountains are also called Upwarped Mountains. These mountains are formed when large amounts of molten rock or magma push the earth's crust from underneath. The magma in this case never reaches the top surface of the earth. So even before it can erupt the source of magma goes away leaving the pushed up Rock as such. This rock then cools and forms a mountain. With time the mountain forms a dome shape, where it gets warped due to erosion. The Black hills of South Dakota in the USA and the Adirondack Mountains in New York are examples for Dome Mountains. 4. Volcanic Mountains - Volcanic mountains are created by volcanoes as the name suggests. They are created when magma pushes its way from beneath the earth to the crust, and when it reaches the surface, it erupts as lava, ash, rocks and volcanic gases. These erupting materials build around the vent through which they erupted. These mountains are then shaped by further eruptions, lava flows, and collapses. Mount Fuji in Japan, MountRainer in the US, including Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii are examples of volcanic mountains. 5. Plateau Mountains - Plateau Mountains are formed by Erosion. These are large areas of high levels of flat land, over 600 meters above sea level formed due to earth's internal activity. Over billions of years, the rivers can cut deep into a plateau and make tall mountains. These mountains are found near Fold Mountains. The mountains in New Zealand and the Catskills of New York are examples of Plateau Mountains. Volcanic mountains form when molten rock from deep inside the Earth erupts through the crust and piles up on itself. The island chain of Hawaii is actually the tops of volcanoes. Well-known volcanoes on land include Mount St. Helens in Washington State and Mount Fuji in Japan. Sometimes volcanic eruptions break down mountains instead of building them up, like the 1980 eruption that blew the top off Mount St. Helens. When magma pushes the crust up but hardens before erupting onto the surface, it forms so-called dome mountains. Wind and rain pummel the domes, sculpting peaks and valleys. Examples include the Black Hills of South Dakota and the Adirondack Mountains of New York. Plateau mountains are similar to dome mountains, but form as colliding tectonic plates push up the land without folding or faulting. They are then shaped by weathering and erosion. Other types of mountains form when stresses within and between the tectonic plates lead to cracking and faulting of the Earth's surface, which forces blocks of rock up and down. Examples of fault-block mountains include the Sierra Nevada in California and Nevada, the Tetons in Wyoming, and the Harz Mountains in Germany.

Mountain Ranges

    * Adirondack Mountains (New York, United States)
    * Alaskan mountains (United States)
    * Allegheny Mountains (United States)
    * Altai Mountains (Asia)
    * Andes Mountains (South America)
    * Appalachian Mountains (North America)
    * Atlas Mountains (Africa)
    * Black Hills (South Dakota, United States)
    * Blue Ridge (United States)
    * Cascade Range (United States)
    * Caucasus (Eurasia)
    * Changbai Mountains (Asia)
    * Coast Ranges (North America)
    * Da Hinggan Range (China)
    * Daba Mountains (China)
    * Dolomites (Italy)
    * Drakensberg (Africa)
    * East African mountains (East Africa)
    * Elburz Mountains (Iran)
    * Ghats (India)
    * Great Himalayas (Asia)
    * Great Smoky Mountains (North Carolina-Tennessee, United States)
    * Harz (Germany)
    * Himalayas (Asia)
    * Hindu Kush (Asia)
* Jura Mountains (Europe) * Karakoram Range (Asia) * Kilimanjaro (Tanzania) * Kunlun Mountains (Asia) * Nan Mountains (southern China) * Olympic Mountains (Washington, United States) * Ore Mountains (Europe) * Ozark Mountains (United States) * Pacific mountain system (North America) * Pindus Mountains (Europe) * Pyrenees (Europe) * Rocky Mountains (North America) * Ruwenzori Range (Africa) * Saint Elias Mountains (North America) * Salt Range (Pakistan) * Sierra Madre (North America) * Sierra Nevada (United States) * Siwalik Range (Asia) * Tatra Mountains (Europe) * Teton Range (Wyoming, United States) * Tien Shan (Asia) * Ural Mountains (Eurasia) * Virunga Mountains (Africa) * White Mountains (Maine-New Hampshire, United States) * Zagros Mountains (Iran)
Highest mountain on each continent Summit Elevation m Continent Range Country Kilimanjaro (Kibo Summit) 5,895 (19,341 ft) Africa Kilimanjaro Tanzania Vinson Massif 4,897 (16,500 ft) Antarctica Ellsworth Mountains n/a (claimed by Chile) Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) 4,884 (16,024 ft)[1] Oceania The Sudirman Range Indonesia Everest 8,848 (29,035 ft) Asia Himalayas Nepal Elbrus 5,642 (18,510 ft) Europe Caucasus Russian Federation Mount McKinley (Denali) 6,194 (20,320 ft) North America Alaska Range United States Aconcagua 6,962 (22,841 ft) South America Andes Argentina about 1.3-1.1 billion years ago, a very important tectonic event occurred along the southern and eastern part of North America, called the Grenville orogeny. The continent of Laurentia grew even further to the southeast, as part of the formation of what would become the supercontinent of Rodinia. New land from North Carolina, across Pennsylvania and New York, even as far away as Newfoundland, formed at this time. The Adirondack Mountains were enormously tall at this time, made from metamorphosed subduction zone materials.

Links:
Earth History
List of mountains - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Types and Formation of Mountains - For kids
GG101 Mountain Building at Hawaii.edu
27. Assembling North America

last updated 18 Jan 2010