Most mountains form at places where the Earth's plates move towards one another and the planet's crust is subjected to immense forces.
For example, the Himalayas formed when the Indo-Australian plate and the Eurasian plate collided. As one plate moved below the other, what is modern day India and central Asia came together and were forced upwards creating 'fold mountains'.
The Cacasades mountain range (which includes Mount St Helens) on the west coast of the United States is formed by the oceanic crust of the Juan de Fuca plate subducting below the continental crust of the North American plate. These are volcanic mountains.
Image: Massive rock folds hint at the powerful forces that created Sichelkamm, a mountain in Switzerland (credit: Dr Juerg Alean/SPL)
Aerial view of the spectacular, diverse formations that make up the Alps.
These stunning views of the different parts of the Alps took 10 days to film using the high-definition heligimbal camera. The camera's ability to swivel 360 degrees enables sweeping panoramic aerials and tracking shots across the spikey peaks of the Italian Dolomites.
Iain Stewart visits New Zealand to explain how mountains form.
Dr Iain Stewart visits New Zealand to explain how the collision of two plates results in mountain ranges forming over millions of years.
Mountain formation refers to the geological processes that underlie the formation of mountains. These processes are associated with large-scale movements of the Earth's crust (plate tectonics).Folding, faulting, volcanic activity, igneous intrusion and metamorphism can all be parts of the orogenic process of mountain building. The formation of mountains is not necessarily related to the geological structures found on it.
The understanding of specific landscape features in terms of the underlying tectonic processes is called tectonic geomorphology, and the study of geologically young or ongoing processes is called neotectonics.[clarification needed]