Folded Mountains

twisted mountain

Notice the twisted rock layers in this mountain – they are all topsy-turvy!

This mountain is an example of how the Rocky Mountains were formed.

All the land on the earth is in a bunch of pieces of land that ‘float’ around on a deep layer of melted rock deep in the ground. These pieces are called ‘tectonic plates’. They move slowly, but over thousands of years, their movement causes huge changes to the surface of the earth.

Originally, all the rock in the Rockies lay flat on a shallow seabed of the western continental shelf – one of the tectonic plates that make up the surface of the earth. It took many millions of years for all the layers of rock to form.

About 175 million years ago, two tectonic plates moved toward each other and caught the continental shelf in the squeeze. As the plate was squeezed from both sides, the flat-lying layers of rock slowly buckled into folds.

It took about 50 million years for the Rockies to fold and buckle enough to show above the sea.

The Rocky Mountains continued to grow for 75 million years, and were (at one time) higher than the Himalayas. About 45 million years ago, they stopped growing and have now eroded away to a small fraction of their original size.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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