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Erosion Over Mountains

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The Mountains; Formation of Mountains; Types of Mountains; Location of Mountains; Growing Mountains; The Mountain Range and System; Highest and Tallest Mountain; Over 8000 Meters Tall; The Highest Mountains On Each Continent; Erosion Over Mountains; Mountaineering; Weather Conditions and Life On Mountains; Role Of Mountains In Social Life

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Erosion works in many ways to change the shape of a mountain. Millions of years ago during the ‘Ice Age’ slabs of ice covered parts of Earth. Gigantic glaciers, which are like rivers of ice, slowly slipped down the sides of mountains. Glaciers crushed and carves the surfaces of some mountains, changing their shapes. When a river flows down a mountain, it cuts into the rock and creates deep-sided valleys (left) and steep gorges. Grains of sand and dust carried by the wind and water slowly rub off bits of rock. Acid in rain also helps break apart rocks.

Where the rocks on a mountainside have cracked, plants fight to grow (right). They sink their roots into the cracks, looking for water and a foothold on the mountain's surface.

As time goes by, wind and water can wear away the rocks, which make them smoother and more rounded. This process is known as erosion. The Appalachian Mountains in North America are more than 2500 million years old. Their smooth, rounded tops are signs of their old age.

Plant roots make the cracks in the rocks wider, and the rocks are forced farther apart. Lichens growing on the rocks help break them down. A landslide can occur after a heavy rain. In a landslide, rain loosens mud and rocks, allowing them to crash down the mountains.

As snow melts or falls, it can send snow, ice and dirt tumbling down the mountain in an avalanche. Avalanches and landslides happen suddenly and without any warning. They can destroy everything in their ways. The world’s biggest single avalanche took place in 1962 in Peru, South America. It destroyed eight villages and killed 3500 people in minutes. In the Unites States, most avalanches are in the Rockies Avalanches also happen often in Canada, Europe, Peru and China.

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