Mountains and plains are the main landforms. They form the surface of continental uplifts and oceanic depressions. Smaller landforms - river valleys, dunes, hills, spits, ravines and many others - can be formed only at the base. The role of this base, bridgehead or parent rock, as you might guess, is played by the mountains and plains.
Mountains - these are huge, highly dissected areas of the earth's surface, which are elevated above the surrounding area. The highest mountain on Earth is Chomolungma, or Everest, whose height is 8850 m. But there is also the "amphibious" Hawaiian mountain Mauna Kea. It is a volcano and "rose" from the bottom of the Pacific Ocean to a height of 10203 meters, significantly overtaking Everest and its entire suite of eight-thousanders.
Plains are huge, fairly flat areas of the earth's surface, which are characterized by insignificant fluctuations in relative heights. The largest plain on Earth is the Amazonian Lowland, with an area of 5 million km².
The mountains are raised above the adjacent surface. In most cases, mountains are located in groups in the form of linearly elongated ridges. In the structure of each mountain, you can clearly distinguish the base, slopes and top. The plains are loners. Their area is huge. An example is the East European Plain, on the territory of which a dozen European countries are located. In appearance, the plains are divided into flat and hilly.
According to the height of the mountains are divided into 3 groups.
- Low. Their height does not exceed 1000 m (Crimean, Ural).
- Medium-high, with an altitude of 1000 to 2000 m (Carpathians, Scandinavian, Apennines).
- High. Those that have exceeded 2000 m (Himalayas, Andes, Alps, Caucasus).
Plains in height are also divided into 3 groups: lowlands, hills and plateaus. The lowlands have an absolute height of up to 200 m - the West Siberian Plain, the Amazon Lowland, the Caspian Lowland. Uplands are plains, the height of which ranges from 200 to 500 m. An example is the Volga Upland, Timan Ridge. Highlands are plains, the height of which exceeds 500 m. For example, the Deccan plateau or the Brazilian plateau.
The main difference between mountains and plains, on which their morphological differences depend, lies in the origin of both objects of comparison. In the overwhelming majority of cases, mountains are the result of the activity of the internal forces of the Earth. Therefore, there are volcanic mountains - Kilimanjaro, Kenya or Fujiyama. There are folded mountains - Pyrenees, Himalayas, Caucasus, Atlas. They were formed as a result of crushing of the earth's crust into folds during opposite horizontal tectonic movements. The third group is folded-block mountains. They are obtained as a result of vertical tectonism, when some part of one mountain range rises or falls, isolated from the total height of the parent orographic structure. The Urals and Tien Shan are ideal examples of such mountain systems. If the mountain building process is not completed, then in this place with a high percentage of probability it is possible to predict the processes of volcanism and earthquakes.
Most of the plains are based not on folding, but on a platform. For example, the East European Plain is based on the East European Plate, while the Deccan Plateau is based on a part of the Indo-Australian Plate. Platforms are stable areas of the earth's crust that are not potentially seismic areas. Plains can also be formed when the seabed rises, when old mountains are denudated, when sedimentary, alluvial rocks are covered with depressions and depressions of the earth's crust.
In theory, it is believed that the plains are better suited for economic activities - construction, agriculture, road-laying than mountainous areas. A controversial issue is the comparison of the comfort of the climate, living conditions and recreation in mountainous areas and on the plains.
- The appearance of mountains and plains is fundamentally different.
- Most of the plains do not exceed 500 meters, the mountains “easily” exceed 8000 meters and continue to grow.
- The area of the plains on Earth is much larger than the area of the mountains.
- Most of the mountains were due to the action of the internal forces of the Earth. Many plains are based on platforms that have been worked on by the external forces of the Earth.
- There is a high probability of earthquakes in the mountains. The standard plain cannot be the epicenter of an earthquake.
- Mountains and plains are used in different ways by people.