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Growing Mountains



Growing Mountains
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.14

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    accordion-like, terranes, fault-block, grabens, subducting, subducts, circum-Pacific, hotspot, hotspots, supercontinent, divergent, mid-ocean, deformation, subduction, subducted, adjacent
     content words:    Mount Everest, Cascade Range, Mount St, United States, Appalachian Mountain, Green Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, Cumberland Mountains, Great Smoky Mountains, Pacific Ocean


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Growing Mountains
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     If you see them from a distance, you believe they are stationary. Even up close, you could not detect movement. However, an amazing fact of nature is that some of our mountains are growing.
 
2     The Earth's mountains are the result of extreme deformation. Without the forces on the surface and inside the planet, these majestic landforms would not exist. Once one of our most famous growing mountains is Mount Everest. It's the forces inside the Earth that cause it to grow taller each year. Scientists have classified our mountains into mountain ranges, mountain systems, and mountain belts. Mountain ranges are groups of adjoining mountains. These mountains are related in shape and in structure. The Cascade Range includes Mount St. Helens which is a volcanic mountain. Mountain systems are groups of adjacent mountain ranges. On the eastern coast of the United States lies the Appalachian Mountain system. This system includes the Green Mountains, the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Cumberland Mountains, and the Great Smoky Mountains. There are two major mountain belts on our planet. Located around the Pacific Ocean in the form of a ring is the circum-Pacific belt. The Eurasian-Melanesian belt does not form a ring. It begins in the Pacific Islands and runs through Asia, southern Europe, and ends in northwestern Africa. Geologists have found that these belts are located along active convergent plate boundaries. Based on this evidence scientists believe that most mountains are formed after the collision of tectonic plates. There are some mountains that are not located along active convergent boundaries. The Appalachian Mountains is one example. Scientists believe the boundaries where these and other mountains formed were once active plate boundaries.
 
3     As with other forms of deformation, different types of collisions form different types of mountains. When oceanic lithosphere collides with continental lithosphere, it subducts beneath the continental lithosphere. As a result, mountains are uplifted, and there is partial melting of overlying mantle and crust. This partial melting causes magma to form. Volcanic mountains may form in this area once the magma erupts on the surface. The Cascade Mountain Range and the Andes Mountains in South America were formed through this type of collision. Mountains may also form from terranes. During plate collision and subduction, terranes may be scraped off the oceanic lithosphere and become part of the continent.

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