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Types and How Mountains are Formed – For kids

Updated on August 19, 2013
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Livingsta is a writer who writes about anything that fascinates, provokes or interests her by putting in her best of efforts and thoughts.

Introduction to mountains:

Mountains can be explained as landforms that rise well above the surrounding land for a limited area in the form of a peak. Mountains are steeper, larger and taller than hills and are more than 600 metres in height. Mountainous regions are called montane. The Oxford English Dictionary defines a mountain as a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which, relatively to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable. Many mountains are so high that they reach the colder layers of the atmosphere. This fact leads to different climates forests, flora and fauna in the same mountain. Mountain life is less preferable due to harsh climates, less suitability for agriculture and also less oxygen as we go higher up.

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Continental-continental convergenceContinental-oceanic convergenceOceanic-oceanic convergenceFormation of dome mountainsFormation of block mountainsFormation of block mountainsFormation of fold mountainsFormation of block mountains
Continental-continental convergence
Continental-continental convergence
Continental-oceanic convergence
Continental-oceanic convergence
Oceanic-oceanic convergence
Oceanic-oceanic convergence
Formation of dome mountains
Formation of dome mountains
Formation of block mountains
Formation of block mountains
Formation of block mountains
Formation of block mountains
Formation of fold mountains
Formation of fold mountains
Formation of block mountains
Formation of block mountains

How are these mountains formed?

The earth’s crust is made up of large plates called tectonic plates that fit into each other. These plates keep moving a few centimetres every year. Mountains form along the boundaries where the tectonic plates move towards each other (convergent boundaries). The tectonic plates collide triggering deformation and thickening of the crust. This in turn leads to crustal uplift and mountain formation. This process is a horizontal compression that leads to deformation folding and faulting of layers into folds or wrinkles along the convergent plate boundaries. This crustal uplift can be either a hill or a mountain depending upon the height and slope of the formation. But also to balance the weight of the earth surface, much of the compressed rock is forced downward, producing deep mountain roots making mountains for both upward and downward.

Convergence due to converging plates can be either continental-oceanic convergence, oceanic-oceanic convergence or continental-continental convergence.

  1. When a plate of continental crust converges with a plate of oceanic crust, the heavier oceanic crust will move under the continental crust and this process is called subduction. This is the process through which mountains and volcanoes are formed when the subducted oceanic crust is melted and recycled to the surface (e.g. West coast of North and South America).
  2. When a place of oceanic crust converges with another plate of oceanic crust, the older crust will subduct under the newer crust that is less dense leading to volcanic ring islands (e.g. Japanese islands).
  3. When two plates of continental crusts come into contact with each other, neither of them will subduct beneath the other due to their densities. So this collision leads to formation of big mountains with fragments of oceanic sediments in them even in the highest peaks (e.g. Alps in Europe, Himalayas in Asia).

 

Types of mountains:

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)
  2. Fault-block Mountains (BlockMountains)
  3. Dome Mountains
  4. Volcanic Mountains
  5. Plateau Mountains

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Lewis thrust fold
Lewis thrust fold
Lewis thrust fold

Fold Mountains:

These are the most common types of 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.

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Sierra Nevada Mountains Harz areaHarz MountainHarz MountainSierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Harz area
Harz area
Harz Mountain
Harz Mountain
Harz Mountain
Harz Mountain
Sierra Nevada Mountains
Sierra Nevada Mountains

Fault-Block Mountains:

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.

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this figure clearly shows why Fault block mountains are steeper on one side and slope on the otherFigure shows exact structure of earth's crust beneath the Mountain
this figure clearly shows why Fault block mountains are steeper on one side and slope on the other
this figure clearly shows why Fault block mountains are steeper on one side and slope on the other
Figure shows exact structure of earth's crust beneath the Mountain
Figure shows exact structure of earth's crust beneath the Mountain
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Dome MountainsBlack HillsDome Mountain
Dome Mountains
Dome Mountains
Black Hills
Black Hills
Dome Mountain
Dome Mountain

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.

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Mount RainerVolcanic MountainMauna KeaMount fuji
Mount Rainer
Mount Rainer
Volcanic Mountain
Volcanic Mountain
Mauna Kea
Mauna Kea
Mount fuji
Mount fuji

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.

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Argentina, Patagonia, grassy plateau, mountains in backgroundColorado Plateau at Canyonlands National ParkColorado Plateau Mount Wutai, literally Five Plateau MountainMountain rising from the valleysTable Mountain
Argentina, Patagonia, grassy plateau, mountains in background
Argentina, Patagonia, grassy plateau, mountains in background
Colorado Plateau at Canyonlands National Park
Colorado Plateau at Canyonlands National Park
Colorado Plateau
Colorado Plateau
Mount Wutai, literally Five Plateau Mountain
Mount Wutai, literally Five Plateau Mountain
Mountain rising from the valleys
Mountain rising from the valleys
Table Mountain
Table Mountain

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.

The highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas. Mauna Loa, stands taller than Mount Everest when measured from its base on the ocean floor but not in terms of summit altitude. The tallest mountain in the solar system is Olympus Mons, located on Mars.

Mountains and mountain ranges throughout the world have been left in their natural state, and are primarily used for recreation, while others are used for logging, mining, grazing. Hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, rock climbing, ice climbing, downhill skiing, and snowboarding are recreational activities enjoyed on mountains.

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      I am groot 5 weeks ago

      Wow I can't believe how much you can write I know everything now

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      Rosa  6 weeks ago

      Thank u so much!! That helped my so much with my homework

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      jeff 6 weeks ago

      that helped me with homework

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      harves 2 months ago

      im only 8 but that advice,WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!! I loved it.

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      Rheanna 2 months ago

      Thank you so much for this helpful information. I fell off a mountain once.

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      Fastspeed 360 4 months ago

      Thanks For The Information. (:

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      Nour 5 months ago

      thank you this helped me a lot in my science research

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      kajal 7 months ago

      this really helped in my assignment thanksss

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      Jose Perez 8 months ago

      Hi Livingsta, this article about types of mountains is very interesting. I got a picture of a mountain with a very particular types of rocks and terrain that i`ve been trying to indentifiy some time ago. There is no matches for this site in Google Images Search, but maybe you know some database of photos of mountains or mountains chains that may help me to identify this place. This is very important for me because this picture is part of a study i am doing. I would appreciate any suggestion from you. Jose Perez, The Caribbean Islands.

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      livingsta 19 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Katrinastormsx5, you're welcome. Glad that it helped! :)

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      Hello Orange Apple, glad that this was helpful. All the best! :)

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      Thank you Utkarsh Tandon :)

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      Thank you Bob, glad that this was helpful! All the best! :)

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      eyamon pokemon 21 months ago

      this year im gonna get an A+ in scholl

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      This really helped me in my exams THANKS!!!!

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      thanks guyz for your coments

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      alisha 24 months ago

      It is amazing. I got yo know a great information

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      orange apple 2 years ago

      Add Your Comment.. wow this will help a lot on my geography project

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      It's awesomeeeeeeeeee

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      Utkarsh Tandon 2 years ago

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      hi I'm wess

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      Derpman 2 years ago

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      De roman 2 years ago

      Deep

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      bob 2 years ago

      thanks this really helped a lot

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      roaa kassem 2 years ago

      i love mountains

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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Aww, all the best to you Sarah :)

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      Thank you, I'm glad that you found this useful @Bigmama :)

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      You're welcome Lamine and all the best :)

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      Thank you Rijul, all the best :)

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      Sarah 3 years ago

      This is so gona get me a A+ on my Science test.

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      Bigmama 3 years ago

      all the things i need are in here!! your a genius, well to me anyway

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      Bigmama 3 years ago

      nice!!

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      Jasmin 3 years ago

      Wow!!! Omg thxs so much !! Im gona get an A+ thxs to

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      Lovi 3 years ago

      Thanks for these very useful infos,,keep up the good work

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      Thank. U soooooooo much!!!!!!

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      Mils 3 years ago

      yes this is gr8 info!! i am only 10 bt this is extreemleeyyyyy helful!!!! lol

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      thanks for these good works

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      this information has worked for my project

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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Sameal, thank you and I am pleased that you found this useful and interesting. All the best.

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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi Cool Story Of Mountains, thank you. Glad you like this!

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      Cool Story Of Mountains 3 years ago

      Man! This is really a GREAT Information. It:

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      Hi Marah, you're welcome!

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      thank you Hub.

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      Hi William, thank you for stopping by. I am glad that you found this interesting. All the best :-)

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      William 3 years ago

      Im 8 this is amazing

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      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi MD, sorry, it was a mistake and I was not aware of so many rules regarding usage of pictures when I posted this hub back in 2009. Thank you for pointing this out. I have removed that picture and I need to go through all of my old hubs to see through the usage of pictures.

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      MD 3 years ago

      Nice article however I am not really pleased to see my image "Himalayan Mountain" appear here without my approval or knowledge. Can you please remove the image?

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      Teejay 4 years ago

      I reckon its very interesting to read :-]

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      Teejay 4 years ago

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      Thank you for letting me use hubpages

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      I got 2 and a half pages in my own words

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      Wow SpeedBump, thank you for the appreciation. I am glad it helped. You will get a good score. Wishing you all the best!

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      This is great for my science project, has nice info, hopefuly i get a 4:)

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      thanks this helped me with my homework

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      thank u so much it was a good material for me because my subject is geography.

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      Thank you Ally, glad it was useful for you!

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      Ally with hard work 4 years ago

      Thanks this REALLY helped thx so much!!

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      livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you Ally, I am glad it helped! All the best!

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      I am in GT in my school i am learning about volcanoes this really helped (well actulauly i haven't read it all yet but fixing to)

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      such a good speech for scienceperhaps the best speech award will go to the sayer of this

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      Thank you Selina !

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      So useful for school homework

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      @Mwaka, Thank you :)

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      @Aney, I am glad it helped! :)

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      5 years ago

      thank you hub

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      Mwaka G. 5 years ago

      Very useful information..