Hodges, Kip Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Convergent plate boundaries
- Topographic expression
- Ancient geological processes
- Links to Primary Literature
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The process of mountain building. As traditionally used, the term orogeny refers to the development of long, mountainous belts on the continents called orogenic belts or orogens. These include the Appalachian and Cordilleran orogens of North America, the Andean orogen of western South America, the Caledonian orogen of northern Europe and eastern Greenland, and the Alpine-Himalayan orogen that stretches from western Europe to eastern China (Fig. 1). It is important to recognize that these systems represent only the most recent orogenic belts that retain the high-relief characteristic of mountainous regions. In fact, the continents can be viewed as a collage of ancient orogenic belts, most so deeply eroded that no trace of their original mountainous topography remains (Fig. 2). By comparing characteristic rock assemblages from more recent orogens with their deeply eroded counterparts, geologists surmise that the processes responsible for mountain building today extended back through most (if not all) of geologic time and played a major role in the growth of the continents. See also: Continents, evolution of
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