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Mountains and Uplift

  • Mountains and Uplift. Image: Julian Thomson.

    Image: Julian Thomson.

    Tectonic uplift: Our mountains are being uplifted along fault lines by up to a centimetre a year due to tectonic collision at the plate boundary that crosses New Zealand. Flat terraces along our coasts also indicate where uplift has occurred.
  • Mountain erosion: Extreme weather conditions drive powerful erosion processes that eat away at the mountains, sculpting them into complex and imposing landscapes.
  • Ice sculpting: Glaciers are giant scrapers that carve out valleys, and carry away rock debris on giant ice conveyor belts.

Eruptions of ash and lava create volcanic peaks, or may destroy the land entirely, leaving only a huge caldera (collapse crater). These explosive volcanoes create a myriad of characteristic landforms.

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