The core of the Alps

Part of Hall of Planet Earth.

The Core of the Alps AMNH/R.Mickens

Like other mountains, the Alps have a deep core of rocks that were once sediments and magmas (molten rocks) solidified in the shallow crust. As the mountains formed, these rocks were buried and re-crystallized by heat and pressure, in a process known as metamorphism. As the Alps were uplifted and eroded, belts of rocks metamorphosed under increasing temperature and pressure have been exposed. They provide important clues about the histories of mountains and how they are built.