Mountains and Valleys - Commonly Asked Questions

How do mountains form?

Some mountains form from volcanoes. Dome Mountains occur where magma near the Earth’s surface forms a rounded bulge of rock, but does not erupt to become a volcano. Fold Mountains form when two colliding plates cause the Earth’s crust to buckle and fold, making mountain ranges. Block Mountains form when fractures in the Earth’s crust push a block of rock upwards.

Do mountains continue to grow?

Yes, some mountains continue to get taller after they first form? For Example, the Himalayas are growing by about 6 centimeters every year. The Himalayas were formed 50 million years ago when two of the Earth’s plates collided. As the plates continue to push into each other the mountains are gradually getting higher and even harder to climb.

Did you know?

The Mid-Atlantic Ocean Ridge is an underwater mountain range. It is as long as the Rocky, Andes and Himalaya mountain ranges combined.

What is a glacier?

A glacier is a huge river of ice. A buildup of snow and ice in very cold, high mountain areas causes the river of ice to flow downhill. Most glaciers flow so slowly you cannot tell they are moving. As glaciers move, they carry rocks along with them that help gouge out deep grooves, or valleys, into the land through which they pass.

Where is the tallest mountain?

The tallest mountain is Mauna Kea on Hawaii Island. It measures 10,203 meters from base to peak, but most of it is underwater. Only 4205 meters of it are above sea level. On land, Mountain Everest is the highest mountain, reaching 8850 meters above sea level. Also on Hawaii Island is Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest volcano.