Mountain belts differ from one one more in assorted respects, however they also have a variety of similarities that permit Earth scientists to group them into details distinct categories. Each of this categories is characterized by the principal process that produced a representative belt. Moreover, in ~ individual belts various tectonic processes can prevail and also can be associated with quite various landforms and also topography. Thus, for any kind of category there room exceptions and also special cases, and subdivisions.

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Mountain belts connected with volcanism

Volcanoes typically type in any type of of three tectonic settings. At the axes the the mid-ocean ridge system where lithospheric bowl diverge, volcanism is common; yet, high-standing volcanoes (above sea level) hardly ever develop. In ~ subduction zones wherein one bowl of oceanic lithosphere plunges beneath an additional plate, long linear or arcuate chains of volcanoes and also mountain belts linked with them room the norm. Volcanoes and associated landforms, and also linear volcano chains and also ridges (e.g., the Hawaiian chain) also can exist much from plate boundaries.


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Mid-ocean ridges and rises

Where two lithospheric plates diverge, brand-new material is intruded into the gap in between the plates and accreted to every of them together they diverge. The vast bulk of volcanic rocks ejected onto the surface ar of the earth is erupted at the mid-ocean ridges and rises whereby this process occurs. Thus, together submarine landforms comprise an extremely long, small volcanic centres. Back volcanoes do kind as secluded seamounts follow me the axes of mid-ocean ridges, they constitute only a small portion of the erupted material. Moreover, locations along the ridges and also rises wherein volcanism is particularly abundant are considered unusual; the excess amount of volcanic activity is normally attributed come “hot spots” in the mantle (see below). Finally, many of the relief that defines the mid-ocean ridges and also rises is not as result of volcanism at all however rather to heat expansion, as will be explained below.

Volcanic frameworks along subduction zones

Linear or arcuate belts the volcanoes room commonly connected with subduction zones. Volcanoes generally lie 150 to 200 kilometre landward of deep-sea trenches, such together those that border lot of the Pacific Basin. The volcanoes overlie a zone of intense earthquake activity that begins at a shallow depth close to such a trench and also that dips in ~ the volcanoes. Castle often type islands and also define island arcs: these room arcuate chain of islands such as the Aleutians or the Lesser Antilles (see deep-sea trench). Volcanoes usually are spaced a couple of to number of tens of kilometres apart, and single volcanoes generally define the broad of such belts. Elsewhere, as in Japan, in the Cascade chain of the northwestern joined States and southwestern Canada, or along lot of the Andes, volcanoes have erupted top top the margin that a continent. Virtually all features usual of one island arc, including the small belt of volcanoes, deep-sea trench, and intense earthquake activity, have the right to be found at such continental margins.

The see of island chains of this kind is characteristically overcame by steep volcanic cones topped by small craters, and the relief between these volcanoes is low. A few such volcanoes have undergone massive eruptions and have expelled a large fraction of their interiors, together did mount St. Helens in the northwestern United states in 1980. In the most intense eruptions the this sort, the remnants the the volcano collapse into the void in ~ its centre, periodically leaving a caldera (a very huge crater with relatively low rims). Instances of together structures include those developed by Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883 and by Thera (also dubbed Santorin or Santoríni) in the Aegean Sea a few thousand years ago.

The lavas erupted at this volcanoes are thought to be acquired from the mantle in the wedge of asthenosphere above the lithospheric plate plunging into it. Water brought down in the interstices the the subducted rock and by hydrous mineral to which water is loosely bound chemically is expelled into the wedge that asthenosphere above the subduction zone. The development of water reduces the melt temperature that the rocks and enables material in the wedge come melt and also rise to the surface.

Landforms associated with warm spot volcanism

Some volcano phenomena happen at huge distances from plate boundaries (for example, on the Hawaiian archipelago or in ~ Yellowstone nationwide Park in the west continental unified States). Also, as noted above, volcanism is specifically intense at some components of the mid-ocean ridge mechanism (as in Iceland or the Galápagos islands in the eastern Pacific). Magmas erupted in these setups originate in the asthenosphere, perhaps at depths of number of hundred kilometres or an ext at what are called hot clues in the mantle. Such sources of melting might be due to chemical differences rather 보다 to warm (see volcano: Intraplate volcanism). Energetic volcanoes are usually localized in a an ar with dimensions of 100 to 200 kilometres or less.

A chain of extinct volcanoes or volcanic archipelago (and seamounts), prefer the Hawaiian chain, or a volcanic ridge, choose Walvis Ridge in between the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha and the east coastline of Africa, can form where a lithospheric plate moves over a hot spot. The energetic volcanoes all lie at one finish of the chain or ridge, and also the ages of the archipelago or the ridge rise with their street from those sites of volcanic activity. Larger volcanoes are much more eroded than younger ones and are often marked only by coral reefs that prosper on the eroded and subsiding volcanic island.

Volcanic chain of this kind are not common in continent regions, in component because most continental masses move slowly over warm spots. Volcano activity, however, can be specifically abundant once a plate moves so slowly with respect to a hot spot. Moreover, a lengthy duration that volcanism often results in a warming that the lithosphere. This warming reasons a localized heat expansion and also consequently a localized upwarping or doming that the earth’s surface, together in the situation of the Yellowstone area or the Massif main in France. The resulting domes cover locations a couple of to numerous hundred kilometres in extent, and also the median elevations are rarely as much as 1,000 metres greater than the neighboring regions. Thus, other than for the diverted volcanoes that lie on the upwarps, relief is gentle and also due greatly to erosion.

Some warm spots are connected with enormous eruptions the lava and also ash, generally of basaltic composition, which cover large areas as comprehensive as 10s or numerous square kilometres. Together flood basalts, or traps, hidden the line River plain west the Yellowstone a few million year ago, the Columbia flow Valley some 20,000,000 years ago, and central India (the Deccan traps) 60,000,000 come 65,000,000 years ago. Flood basalts produce a remarkably level surface that is later on dissected right into a network of sharply incised valleys (see plateau).

Most volcanoes that cannot it is in ascribed either to a subduction zone or come seafloor spreading at mid-ocean ridges are attributed to warm spots. There are, however, part volcanoes, volcanic fields, and flood basalts the cannot however be ascribed to warm spots with any certainty. Nevertheless, the landforms associated with such volcanic phenomena resemble those in various other settings because that which a simple cause can be offered.

Mountain belts associated with crustal shortening

Most hill belts that the world and nearly all of those in Europe, Asia, and North America have actually been developed by horizontal crustal shortening and associated crustal thickening. The landforms linked with together belts depend on the rates, amounts, and species of crustal deformation that occur and on the species of rocks that space exposed come erosion. Come some level the deformation can be related to different tectonic settings. Big thrusted crystalline terrains and parallel fold and also thrust belts are commonly associated with continental collisions in i beg your pardon two different continents have actually approached every other and one has been thrust top top the other. Continent collisions are responsible for Alpine-, or Himalayan-, form mountain belts. Fold and thrust belts can also be connected with active continental spare or Andean-type margins, whereby oceanic lithosphere is subducted into the asthenosphere but where crustal shortening occurs landward the the volcano arc on the overriding continent plate. Block-faulted ranges commonly kind as intracontinental mountain ranges or belts, far from collision zones and also subduction zones.

Alpine- (or Himalayan-)type belts

These belts space thought to have been developed by the movement of one continent beneath another. In general, a special layer the light, buoyant continental crust cannot be brought deep right into the asthenosphere. Instead, the top edge of the diminish continent is scraped off, and the remainder of the continent then plunges in ~ the off-scraped slice. Eventually the convergence between the 2 plates transferring the continents concerns a halt, but usually not prior to several slices of continent material have been eliminated from the underthrusting continent and also stacked on optimal of it.

The sedimentary rocks deposit on the continent crust and its margin long prior to the collision frequently constitute one or component of one of the off-scraped slices. They commonly are deformed into a fold and also thrust belt as the basement under them proceeds to plunge beneath the overriding plate in ~ the subduction zone. Great of solid sedimentary rock detach indigenous the basic basement in ~ weak great that frequently consist that evaporites (salt, gypsum, or anhydrite) or that shale through a procedure called décollement (from the French word definition “ungluing”). The more powerful layers that sedimentary rock space then folded into linear, frequently spaced folds—alternating anticlines and also synclines—and thrust on peak of one another. The Valley and Ridge province of Pennsylvania, which was formed throughout the collision of Africa and also North America close to the finish of Paleozoic time (about 240,000,000 year ago), is a classic example.

Convergence between two lithospheric plates can be quick in such settings—10 to 100 millimetres every year—and the amount of displacement top top the major thrust faults also can it is in large—tens to more than 100 kilometres. Thus, once a slice of crystalline rock from deep in the crust is scraped turn off the remainder the the continent and is underthrust by it, lot of the part is uplifted and also pushed top top the relatively flat, ancient surface that the intact portion of the continent. Erosion generally removes the sedimentary cover of together slices and also leaves expanses the crystalline rocks, as have the right to be watched on Himalayan or Alpine peaks.

Faults along which a slice of continental crust is torn from the remainder of the continent and also thrust onto the are referred to as ramp overthrusts. When the fault very first forms, it dips at 10° to 30° (or more). On slide on this fault (i.e., the movement of one face of the fault relative to the other) brings the top edge that the off-scraped slice of crust to the surface of the Earth, where it climate slides follow me the surface. The undamaged continent is flexed down by the load of the product thrust on optimal of it. Together a consequence, its initially level surface dips in ~ a an extremely gentle angle of just a couple of degrees. Accordingly, a ramp overthrust is composed of 2 segments. The an initial segment, the ramp, dips fairly steeply; on slide on it causes uplift that the overriding slice and also of the crystalline rocks native deep in the tardy to create high relief and the high range. The other segment, which was as soon as the top surface of the continent, has been flexed down and also dips at a gentle angle. On slide on it enables the overthrust part to breakthrough over the rest of the continent, wherein it plows the sedimentary great in former of it into folds and smaller overthrusts.

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When a significant ramp overthrust is energetic and the undamaged continent is flexed under in former of the overriding hill range, a foreland container is formed by the flexure (see tectonic basins and also rift valleys). Foreland basins usually exist together subsurface features that have been filled v debris eroded indigenous the advancing overthrust slice of crust. These deposits, dubbed molasse, have the right to in revolve be folded and thrust over one an additional shortly ~ they are deposited. Fold and thrust belts in such material, as uncovered at the northern edge that the Alps or in ~ the foot of most of the Himalayas, are frequently narrow, created of just one or two parallel folds and faults. The topography associated with lock generally consists of low, elongated hills of poorly consolidated sedimentary rock that is easily and rapidly eroded.