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The Sierra Nevada
moved up along one
side of the fault.
Approximate location of fault
The land on the
other side of the
fault dropped down.
The Sierra Nevada in California is a fault-block mountain range.
The range moved up along a normal fault along its eastern edge. The
block on the other side of the fault dropped down. This combination
of upward and downward movement formed the steep eastern side of
the Sierra Nevada. The western side of the range tilts down gently
toward California’s Central Valley.
In summary, both folded mountains and fault-block mountains
form over millions of years. Folded mountains are pushed up by slow,
continual stress that causes rock to gradually bend. Fault-block mountains form, earthquake by earthquake, as stress built up in the crust is
released by the movement of rock. Folded mountains form where
continental crust is being compressed, and fault-block mountains
form where it is being stretched.
1. How is the formation of
mountain belts related to
tectonic plate boundaries?
4. Analyze The Ural Mountain
belt is no longer along the edge
of a tectonic plate. Would you
expect the Urals to be tall and
steep or low and rounded?
2. How do folded mountains
3. How do fault-block mountains
5. Synthesize How could it be
possible for a mountain range
to be continually pushed up
but not get any higher?
6. Analyze This graph shows
how the heights of two mountains changed as they formed.
Which line shows the formation of a folded mountain? a
fault-block mountain? Explain.
260 Unit 2: The Changing Earth