about 45 million years ago, once the Eurasian continent collided v the Indian subcontinent, the Himalayan mountains formed. In key tectonics, the clinical theory that describes the structure of the earth’s crust and also how that moves, the planet has around nine major plates and many smaller sized ones, arranged in puzzle pieces approximately the globe. These plates skate over the mantelpiece of the Earth, an inside layer composed of rocks the surround the earth core. Together a unifying concept in geology, many geologists subscribe to key tectonics together it help them explain these changes that occur to the earth’s crust.

You are watching: When an oceanic plate collides with a continental plate


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When continent plates collide, hills form. The least understood of all tectonic boundaries, continental plates have higher density, occasionally reaching lower than the mantel. Once these key collide, it’s reminiscent that the force of 2 bulls butting heads. While some subduction have the right to occur, the results at these borders often encompass a wide-ranging and creased mountain range, intense crumpling, faulting and a condensed, thickened area inside the collision zone.


Where plates accomplish in plate tectonics, three varieties of boundaries form: convergent, divergent and transform. Convergent boundaries include as soon as two continental plates collide, two oceanic key converge or when an oceanic key meets a continent plate. Several events can occur. Generally, as soon as the oceanic plate access time a continental one, the continental plate uplifts, and the oceanic key goes beneath it or subducts. When two oceanic key collide, the older, more heavier plate commonly subducts in ~ the other.


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Continental plates generally do not subduct beneath oceanic plates due to the fact that of just how thick and buoyant lock are. Instead, continental plates commonly bend, break and also crumple, producing folds, special creases and mountain ranges prefer the Andes, Swiss Alps and the Himalayas. Rocks trapped in ~ the collision zone experience changes because of the excessive heat and also squeezing. Referred to as metamorphic rocks, you can discover slate, gneiss and schist in these mountain ranges. This includes the eroding Appalachians, which at one time stood together high or greater than the Himalayas, and also formed as soon as the north American key collided through Gondwana, a super continental plate that had South America and Africa in ~ one time.


In locations where oceanic key collide v continental plates, volcanoes often form, favor the volcanoes that circle the Pacific Ocean called the Ring the Fire. Follow me the Pacific bowl in the Northwestern joined States, the Cascade Mountain range consists of numerous volcanoes formed by the oceanic bowl subducting in ~ the continental one. Change boundaries additionally form, like the san Andreas error zone, wherein the 2 sides the the fault move in opposite directions sliding past each other. The Pacific bowl on the west grinds horizontally to the southeast, while the phibìc American plate move northwest.

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As a journalist and also editor for several years, Laurie Brenner has actually covered many topics in her writings, but science is just one of her very first loves. Her stint as Manager that the California State Mining and also Mineral Museum in California's gold country served come deepen her attention in science which she currently fulfills by composing for online scientific research websites. Brenner is additionally a released sci-fi author. She graduated from mountain Diego's Coleman university in 1972.