Andes Case Study Geography Gcse

Fold mountains form along converging plate boundaries such as collision or destructive boundaries. As the plates are pushed together, the sediment that has formed in the seas between them is compressed and pushed upwards, as seen opposite.

The most recent period of mountain building involved the creating of the Alps, Andes, Rockies and the Himalayas.

Our Case study involves the Alps and these were formed 30-40 million years ago. They are located in central Europe and are found in France, Italy, Austria, Germany and Switzerland. The Alps consist of many high mountains such as Mt. Blanc, the Matterhorn and Eiger. This is also where Europe's great rivers begin such as the Rhine, Rhone and Danube. Finally it is also where some of the largest lakes in Europe are located such as Lake Garda, Geneva and Como.

The main features of this region  are the U - shaped valleys, glaciers and the snow especially in the winters. See below

The Andes Mountains - a case study of how Fold mountains are used

About the Andes Mountains

The Andes Mountains run the length of the West Coast of South America, rising in the North in Colombia and finishing in Chile and Argentina in the South.   They are world's longest mountain range running for over 7,000km and covering 6 countries. 

The mountains have been formed as a result of the convergence of the Nazca plate and the South American plate.  The heavier oceanic crust of the Nazca plate is pushed towards the South American plate, and because it is denser is subducted underneath.  The South American plate is less dense so sits on top of this subduction zone, but the rocks of the South American plate have been folded upwards and crumpled into fold mountains.  There are also Volcanoes and earthquakes along this destructive plate boundary - earthquakes caused by stresses building up as the 2 plates try to move past one another, and volcanoes caused by magma working its way up through vents in the Earth's crust.  This has created a sequence of volcanoes and fold mountains, rising up to 6962m at Aconcagua.  The trench (marking the boundary between the Nazca and South American plates) to the West of the Andes mountains is called the Peru-Chile Trench, and reaches an incredible depth of 8066m under the sea level.

These areas are very hard to live in because of the physical geography.  The relief is very steep making farming difficult, and the high altitude makes breathing difficult.  The mountainous terrain make it difficult to construct roads and railways to allow for communications.

How the Andes Mountains are used


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