Mountain belts different from one one more in various respects, but they also have a number of similarities that allow Earth scientists to team them into certain distinct categories. Every of these categories is defined by the principal process that produced a representative belt. Moreover, in ~ individual belts different tectonic processes deserve to prevail and can be connected with quite different landforms and topography. Thus, for any category there are exceptions and special cases, as well as subdivisions.

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Mountain belts associated with volcanism

Volcanoes typically form in any kind of of three tectonic settings. At the axes the the mid-ocean ridge mechanism where lithospheric bowl diverge, volcanism is common; yet, high-standing volcanoes (above sea level) seldom develop. At subduction zones whereby one plate of oceanic lithosphere plunges beneath one more plate, long linear or arcuate chain of volcanoes and also mountain belts connected with them room the norm. Volcanoes and also associated landforms, and linear volcanic chains and ridges (e.g., the Hawaiian chain) additionally can exist far from key boundaries.


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Mid-ocean ridges and rises

Where two lithospheric bowl diverge, new material is intruded right into the gap in between the plates and accreted to each of them together they diverge. The vast majority of volcanic rocks ejected ~ above the surface ar of the planet is erupted in ~ the mid-ocean ridges and also rises wherein this process occurs. Thus, such submarine landforms comprise very long, small volcanic centres. Back volcanoes do type as secluded seamounts follow me the axes of mid-ocean ridges, lock constitute just a small portion of the erupted material. Moreover, locations along the ridges and rises whereby volcanism is specifically abundant are considered unusual; the excess lot of volcanic activity is normally attributed come “hot spots” in the mantle (see below). Finally, most of the relief that defines the mid-ocean ridges and rises is not due to volcanism in ~ all yet rather to thermal expansion, as will be described below.

Volcanic frameworks along subduction zones

Linear or arcuate belts of volcanoes space commonly linked with subduction zones. Volcanoes commonly lie 150 to 200 kilometer landward of deep-sea trenches, such together those the border much of the Pacific Basin. The volcanoes overlie a zone of intense earthquake activity that begins at a shallow depth near such a trench and that dips beneath the volcanoes. Lock often kind islands and also define island arcs: these space arcuate chain of archipelago such together the Aleutians or the Lesser Antilles (see deep-sea trench). Volcanoes usually room spaced a few to numerous tens of kilometre apart, and solitary volcanoes frequently define the width of such belts. Elsewhere, as in Japan, in the Cascade chain that the northwestern unified States and southwestern Canada, or along lot of the Andes, volcanoes have actually erupted ~ above the margin the a continent. Almost 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 discovered at such continent margins.

The see of island chain of this kind is characteristically overcame by steep volcanic cones topped by tiny craters, and also the relief between these volcanoes is low. A couple of such volcanoes have actually undergone enormous eruptions and also have expelled a large fraction of your interiors, together did mountain St. Helens in the northwestern United says in 1980. In the many intense eruptions the this sort, the remnants that the volcano collapse into the void in ~ its centre, periodically leaving a caldera (a very huge crater with fairly low rims). Examples of together structures incorporate those developed by Krakatoa in Indonesia in 1883 and by Thera (also referred to as Santorin or Santoríni) in the Aegean Sea a couple of thousand year ago.

The lavas erupted at these volcanoes are thought to be obtained from the mantle in the wedge the asthenosphere above the lithospheric plate plunging right into it. Water lugged down in the interstices of the subducted rock and by hydrous minerals to which water is loose bound chemically is expelled right into the wedge the asthenosphere over the subduction zone. The advent of water reduces the melting temperature of the rocks and enables material in the wedge come melt and rise to the surface.

Landforms associated with warm spot volcanism

Some volcano phenomena happen at big distances native plate limits (for example, on the Hawaiian archipelago or at Yellowstone national Park in the west continental united States). Also, as detailed above, volcanism is especially intense at some components of the mid-ocean ridge system (as in Iceland or the Galápagos islands in the east Pacific). Magmas erupted in these settings originate in the asthenosphere, perhaps at depth of number of hundred kilometres or more at what are called hot clues in the mantle. Such resources of melting might be because of chemical differences rather 보다 to warm (see volcano: Intraplate volcanism). Active volcanoes are usually localized in a an ar with dimensions of 100 come 200 kilometer or less.

A chain of die out volcanoes or volcanic islands (and seamounts), favor the Hawaiian chain, or a volcanic ridge, prefer Walvis Ridge in between the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha and the east shore of Africa, can kind where a lithospheric key moves over a hot spot. The energetic volcanoes all lie in ~ one end of the chain or ridge, and also the ages of the islands or the ridge boost with their distance from those web page of volcanic activity. Enlarge volcanoes are an ext eroded 보다 younger ones and also are often marked only by coral reefs that prosper on the eroded and subsiding volcano island.

Volcanic chain of this sort are not typical in continental regions, in part because many continental masses move progressively over hot spots. Volcanic activity, however, have the right to be an especially abundant as soon as a plate move so progressively with respect come a warm spot. Moreover, a lengthy duration the volcanism regularly results in a warming the the lithosphere. This warming reasons a localized heat expansion and also consequently a localized upwarping or doming the the earth’s surface, together in the instance of the Yellowstone area or the Massif central in France. The resulting domes cover locations a couple of to number of hundred kilometres in extent, and the typical elevations are seldom as lot as 1,000 metres greater than the bordering regions. Thus, except for the isolated volcanoes the lie top top the upwarps, relief is gentle and also due mostly to erosion.

Some hot spots are linked with massive eruptions that lava and also ash, mainly of basaltic composition, i beg your pardon cover substantial areas as extensive as 10s or hundreds of square kilometres. Such flood basalts, or traps, hidden the snake River plain west of Yellowstone a few million year ago, the Columbia river Valley some 20,000,000 year ago, and central India (the Deccan traps) 60,000,000 to 65,000,000 years ago. Overwhelming basalts produce a remarkably flat surface that is later on dissected into a network of high solution incised valleys (see plateau).

Most volcanoes that cannot be ascribed either to a subduction region or to seafloor dispersing at mid-ocean ridges room attributed to warm spots. Over there are, however, some volcanoes, volcano fields, and also flood basalts the cannot however be ascribed to warm spots with any type of certainty. Nevertheless, the landforms linked with together volcanic phenomena resemble those in various other settings for which a straightforward cause have the right to be offered.

Mountain belts connected with crustal shortening

Most hill belts of the world and nearly all of those in Europe, Asia, and also North America have been constructed by horizontal crustal shortening and associated crustal thickening. The landforms associated with together belts depend on the rates, amounts, and types of crustal deformation the occur and also on the types of rocks that space exposed come erosion. To some extent the deformation have the right to be connected to various tectonic settings. Huge thrusted crystalline terrains and parallel fold and thrust belts space commonly associated with continental collisions in i m sorry two separate continents have approached each other and also one has been thrust top top the other. Continental collisions room responsible because that Alpine-, or Himalayan-, type mountain belts. Fold and thrust belts can additionally be connected with active continental spare part or Andean-type margins, wherein oceanic lithosphere is subducted right into the asthenosphere however where crustal shortening occurs landward the the volcanic arc ~ above the overriding continental plate. Block-faulted ranges commonly form as intracontinental mountain ranges or belts, much from collision zones and subduction zones.

Alpine- (or Himalayan-)type belts

These belts space thought to have been developed by the motion of one continent beneath another. In general, a special layer that light, buoyant continental crust can not be lugged deep into the asthenosphere. Instead, the top edge the the descending continent is scraped off, and the rest of the continent then plunges beneath the off-scraped slice. At some point the convergence between the 2 plates delivering the continents concerns a halt, however usually not prior to several slices of continental material have been gotten rid of from the underthrusting continent and also stacked on peak of it.

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

Convergence between two lithospheric plates can be fast in such settings—10 come 100 millimetres per year—and the quantity of displacement on the major thrust faults also can be large—tens to an ext than 100 kilometres. Thus, as soon as a slice of crystalline rock from deep in the crust is scraped off the remainder that the continent and is underthrust by it, lot of the part is uplifted and also pushed onto the reasonably flat, ancient surface of the intact section of the continent. Erosion generally gets rid of the sedimentary sheathe of together slices and also leaves expanses of crystalline rocks, as have the right to be watched on Himalayan or Alpine peaks.

Faults along which a part of continental crust is take it from the remainder of the continent and also thrust onto it are dubbed ramp overthrusts. Once the fault first forms, it dips at 10° to 30° (or more). On slide on this error (i.e., the movement of one confront of the fault loved one to the other) brings the leading edge that the off-scraped part of crust come the surface of the Earth, wherein it climate slides follow me the surface. The intact continent is flexed down by the weight of the product thrust on peak of it. Together a consequence, that initially level surface dips in ~ a really gentle angle of just a couple of degrees. Accordingly, a ramp overthrust consists of 2 segments. The very first segment, the ramp, dips fairly steeply; slip on it reasons uplift of the overriding slice and also of the crystalline rocks native deep in the crust to create high relief and the high range. The other segment, which was once the top surface the the continent, has actually been flexed down and also dips at a gentle angle. On slide on it permits the overthrust slice to advancement over the rest of the continent, where it plows the sedimentary class in prior of it into folds and smaller overthrusts.

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When a major ramp overthrust is energetic and the intact continent is flexed under in prior of the overriding mountain range, a foreland basin is created by the flexure (see tectonic basins and rift valleys). Foreland basins usually exist together subsurface functions that have actually been filled through debris eroded from the progressing overthrust slice of crust. These deposits, referred to as molasse, deserve to in revolve be folded and also thrust over one an additional shortly after they are deposited. Fold and also thrust belts in such material, as discovered at the north edge that the Alps or in ~ the foot of most of the Himalayas, are regularly narrow, created of only one or two parallel folds and also faults. The topography associated with them generally is composed of low, elongated hills that poorly consolidated sedimentary rock that is easily and rapidly eroded.