The Appalachian Mountains Essay

The Appalachian Mountains

The Appalachian Mountains are located in eastern North America. They stretch from Newfoundland to Alabama and are made up of valleys, ridges, and mountains (Dykeman, 2017). Between 310 and 245 million years ago, the Appalachian Mountains formed. Continental plates that are continually altering their positions make up the earth's crust's outermost layer. They move roughly an inch every year, according to estimates. The Appalachian Mountains were formed as a result of a continental collision between the African and North American tectonic plates.

Development of the Appalachian Mountains

Many events contributed to the development of the mountain. The second episode involved the mountains rising. As the African tectonic pushed the North American tectonic plate, the horizontal rocks got folded, bent and broke apart due to faults. In this regard, the huge masses of deeply buried older rocks were pushed over the younger rocks. The last episode was marked by the gradual shifting of the tectonic plates to their present positions.

The Cascade Mountains

On the other hand, the Cascade Mountains are also found on the western side of North America. The Cascade ranges are seen to be roughly parallel to the Pacific Ocean extending from Northern California to the British Columbia ("Cascade Range | mountains, United States", 2017). These ranges are believed to have been formed 36 million years ago but some of the peaks seen today are as a result of volcanic activity during the last 1.6 million years ago. These ranges were formed from the subduction of the Farallon plate (Frank, 2017).

Comparison of the Appalachian and Cascade Mountains

The Appalachian mountain is associated with the Pangaea because of the continental collision of the African and North American tectonic plates. There are several differences and similarities between the Appalachian and the Cascade Mountains. The Cascade ranges are as a result of volcanic eruption while the Appalachian resulted from the continental collision. Between the two ranges, the Cascade Mountains are still active to date due to the series of volcanoes and earthquakes experienced in the recent past. In this regard, the Cascade ranges are still growing unlike the Appalachian ranges this is due to the accumulation of lava after a volcanic eruption.

Question 2

When snow is transformed into ice after remaining in one place for a long time, it is compressed into large thick mass referred to as glaciers. Glaciers are thought to be the last remnants of the ice age. They can move like rivers; however, they are slow in the movement because of their sheer mass. Besides, the movement at the bottom is slower than at the top because of the friction created while sliding along the ground's surface. Glaciers cover almost 10% of the earth's surface; they are mostly found at the Polar Regions and the mountain ranges ("National Snow and Ice Data Center", 2017).

Glacial Impact on Ohio's Topography

The presence of glaciers in Ohio affected the topography of the state. For instance, there was the change of ecology in Northeast Ohio as some plant species were brought into the northern boreal forest like the cedar, tamarack, hemlock, fir, and spruce. After the climate warmed, the glacial ice melted and the species moved to form the deciduous forest to the south evident today. Also, interesting glacial landforms were left behind with the movement of glaciers. The flow of glaciers can reshape the landscape after a period. The formation of horns, glaciated valleys, and fjords are also attributed to the movement of glaciers.

Role of Glacial Ice in Shaping the Earth

The process of changing the topography of a particular region or place involves various natural events. The glacial ice played a fundamental role in shaping the earth we see today. Researchers agree that the movement of the glaciers was due to changes in the environment which allowed the glacial ice to melt or the movement was due to the sheer mass of the glaciers ("Glacial History | Cincinnati Museum Center", 2017).

Glacial Impact on Northeast Ohio

Glacial ice dominates Northeast Ohio. It is estimated that the glaciers have been in existence for about 300,000 years ago. In Ohio, parts affected by glaciers include the western, the central, and the northern regions. There is a big difference between the areas affected by glaciers and those that never experienced the ice age. The lakes, seas, and valleys we see today are a manifestation of the presence of glaciers, especially in Ohio. Besides, these regions are rich in minerals and a variety of special rocks created or deposited by glaciers which are essential in industrial processes (Hansen, 1997). Some of these materials include the sand and gravel, clay, and the rich agricultural soils.

Glacial Moraines in Ohio

The deposition of rocks and dirt on the surface of the glacier as it moves is referred to as moraines. According to Hansen (1997), about 10,000 years ago, the state of Ohio experienced the retreat of the Wisconsin glacier. Apart from the Wisconsin glacier, the Fraser glacier and the Pleistocene glaciers covered parts of the state too. Researchers in geography have found evidence of moraines which confirm the existence of glaciers in the region. Besides, several recessional moraines were formed by the Wisconsin glacier. The St. Joseph River valley separates the Wabash and the Ft Wayne moraines (Syverson & Colgan, 2011).

Question 3

Any firm, nonliving and coherent aggregate mass formed naturally as a component of the earth is referred to as a rock. In our environment, we are always surrounded by minerals and rocks. It should be noted that rocks can either be soft or hard. Just like any other material found on earth, rocks have their unique cycle too. For instance, the cycle of rocks involves the formation, breakdown and reformation processes. The model describing the rock cycle divided the rocks into three types; metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary. The marble, sandstone, and basalt are examples of the three types of rocks respectively. Of the three types of rocks, the sedimentary rocks are mainly found in Northeast Ohio.

Mining Minerals in Ohio

A characteristic crystal solid having a definite chemical composition and occurs naturally is referred to as a mineral. The mixture of different types of minerals forms the composition of rocks. In this regard, it is evident that minerals are found in rocks. Various minerals are used by different companies mined in Ohio. The mineral abundantly found in Ohio includes limestone, sand, and gravel, salt, shale, and clay. Limestone is used in the production of cement, the building of aggregate roads and as a source of lime used in agriculture. Sand and gravel are used in making glass, construction of roads and aggregate in asphalt and concrete just like limestone. Clay and shale are used in the production of tiles, ceramics, cosmetics, ricks and as a component of cement. The salt from Ohio is mainly used to control the level of ice and snow on roads. Besides, it is also used as an agent in water softening and an additive in food products. Therefore, these minerals are essential for the growth of the US economy ("Rocks and Minerals - Geology", 2017).

Geological Structure of Northeast Ohio

The geological structure of Northeast Ohio was as a result of a series of processes. During the ice ages, Ohio was known to have only three seasons excluding the summer season. As the climate changed, the glaciers melted down forming lakes. In the process of glaciers moving, they collected mineral and deposited them in the formed valleys and lakes during the movement.


Cascade Range | mountains, United States. (2017). Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Dykeman, W. (2017). Appalachian Mountains | Definition, Map, History, & Facts. Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Frank, D. (2017). USGS Geology and Geophysics. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Glacial History | Cincinnati Museum Center. (2017). Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Hansen, C. M. (1997). The ice age in Ohio. Department of Natural Resources, 1997.National Snow and Ice Data Center. (2017). Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Rocks and Minerals - Geology. (2017). Retrieved 3 October 2017, from

Syverson, K. M., & Colgan, P. M. (2011). The Quaternary of Wisconsin: an updated review of stratigraphy, glacial history and landforms. Quaternary Glaciations: Extent and Chronology—A Closer Look: Developments in Quaternary Science, 15, 537-552.

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