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Question by dAF0oL: when the rocky mountains didnt exist, was there another tectonic plate in the middle of the us?
mountain ranges are formed when 2 tectonic plates endure subduction, and one slides under another, so does that mean, the alps, the himalayas, the rocky mountains, and the andes mountains, there used to be more plates? so like the rocky mountains, there were originally 3 plates in the us then? the pacific plate, and 2 that created the rocky mountains?
Answer by jim z
Mountain ranges can be formed when plates collides such as the Himalaya. The compressional forces are very great. Yes, the North American Plate was formed from the accumulation of other smaller plates over time.
This site has some interesting animations
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Question by jewels277: Why are the Rocky Mountains taller and pointed and the Appalachian Mountains rounded?
I was just wondering Why are the Rocky Mountains taller and pointed and the Appalachian Mountains rounded?
Answer by Bradley Chapple
In my college geology class, we learned that it is due to both the orientation of the mountain ranges and the age of the mountains.
The Appalachians are supposedly older and also run east to west. This subjects more mountains to more “wear and tear” from the strong north and south winds, which over time has worn down the mountains to little nubbs.
The Rockies are both newer (but still millions of years old) and run north to south. This keeps many of the mountains in that range guarded from the stronger north / south wind currents, and has allowed them to stay taller and more pointy.
To see an example of a really young mountain range, check out the Tetons sometime. They are extremely tall and pointed. From a distance they almost look “brand new”, as if they’ve just poked up from the earth.
Hope this helps.
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