A mountain is a high natural landform that projects above the surrounding land, in a limited area. It is only when the natural elevation of a landform is more than 1000 feet high above the sea level; it is termed as a mountain.
The peaks of many high mountains are snow-capped because the temperature dips below zero beyond a certain height. Owing to the extreme cold, the rivers in some mountains are permanently frozen. Such rivers of ice are called glaciers.
Mountains have been found under the sea also. Owing to the steep slopes, relatively less land is available for farming in the mountains. People in the mountainous regions practice terrace cultivation. A mountain range is the term used for mountains arranged in a line.
There are three different types of mountains on the earth’s surface:
- Fold mountains,
- Block mountains and
- Volcanic mountains
Fold mountains are a result of folding and are formed when collision occurs between two parts of the earth’s crust. The oldest fold mountain system is found right here in India: The Aravali range.
Block mountains form when large areas of rock lying beneath the surface deposits of soil are broken and displaced in a vertical direction. The displacement of rocks results in elevated blocks known as horsts and lowered blocks known as grabens.
Volcanic mountains are formed because of volcanic activity. Glaciers in the mountains are source of water for many rivers. This water is stored in reservoirs and used by us for irrigation and generation of hydro-electricity.
Mountains act as storehouses of water for human beings. River valleys and terraces are used for cultivation of crops. Cardamom is produced through terrace cultivation. Mountains are also home to a variety of species of plants and animals. Therefore, tourists are also attracted to mountains for their scenic beauty.
The steep slopes of the mountains attract people who are involved in sports like paragliding, hand gliding, river rafting and skiing.