Teach the Earth > Structural Geology > Visualizations > Uplift and Erosion

Uplift and Erosion

Compiled by Jeff Crabaugh at the University of Wyoming.

The following visualizations illustrate the physical processes interacting to create mountain uplift and erosion. Visualizations include simple animations, experimental models, visual output from numerical models, as well as static diagrams and photos. We also have additional structural geology visualization collections.

Dynamics of Steady-State Drainage Basins: An Experimental Approach:

Plio-Pleistocene Oblique Shortening against the San Andreas fault (more info) An animation of the formation of Southern California's mountainous landscape through uplifting and tectonic forces. Over time, land that was below sea level was forced upwards, creating the Santa Monica Mountains and the Topa Topa Mountains. The animation is available as a QuickTime file.

Map Tools for EarthScope Science and Education: Strain Rate Models (more info) This collection includes movies, GIS data, and Google Earth KMZ files that represent models of finite deformation in southern California through time. The site also includes student activities using Google Earth and GIS. These animations were generated using geologic and geodetic observations and illustrate predictions of both horizontal and vertical changes through time. The movies can be used to present an overview of specific relationships between the North American and Pacific Plates, and to exemplify general plate tectonics phenomena. Using the GIS and Google Earth data, students can measure the size and direction of movement of points marked by city names, and changes in the positions of faults over time.

Himalayan Collision (more info) An excellent animation of Himalayan formation, featuring captions that date events in the formation of the Himalayas. Shown as a cut-away view of the earth, it's possible to see not only the continental collision, but also the mantle and the mountain root that is created in the collision. The file is available as a QuickTime movie in two different sizes.

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