Modeling mountain building

  • For Educators

    • Topic: Earth Science

      Subtopic: Mountain Building

      Keywords: Rock deformation, Geological modeling, Orogeny

      Audience: General

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Physical models can provide insight into how the deep structures—the folds and faults—of mountain belts actually form. To understand how mountains form some geologists build models with sand, since it mimics the slow deformation of rocks over geological time.

In the video below, Dr. Edmond Mathez from the American Museum of Natural History examines a sand model built by Dr. Jacques Malavieille from University of Montpellier.


This video was produced in 1999 for the David S. and Ruth L. Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth at the American Museum of Natural History.

Video credits:
American Museum of Natural History
Ballentyne Brumble Communications

In This Section

Why mountains rise

Why mountains rise

Like icebergs or ships in water, continents and their mountains “float” on the denser mantle.

Formation of the Himalayas

Formation of the Himalayas

Forty million years ago, the continent of India, which was being carried northward by the Indo-Australian plate, collided with Asia.