Orogenic or the mountain-forming movements


Orogenic or the mountain-forming movements act tangentially to the earth surface, as in plate tectonics.

Tensions produces fissures (since this type of force acts away from a point in two directions) and compression produces folds (because this type of force acts towards a point from two or more directions). In the landforms so produced, the structurally identifiable units are difficult to recognise.

In general, diastrophic forces which have uplifted lands have predominated over forces which have lowered them.

Orogenic- mountain-forming movements

Sudden Movements

These movements cause considerable deformation over a short span of time, and may be of two types.


It occurs when the surplus accumulated stress in rocks in the earth’s interior is relieved through the weak zones over the earth’s surface in form of kinetic energy of wave motion causing vibrations (at times devastating) on the earth’s surface. Such movements may result in uplift in coastal areas.

An earthquake in Chile (1822) caused a one-metre uplift in coastal areas.

An earthquake in New Zealand (1885) caused an uplift of upto 3 metres in some areas while some areas in Japan (1891) subsided by 6 metres after an earthquake.

Earthquakes may cause change in contours, change in river courses, ‘tsunamis’ (seismic waves created in sea by an earthquake, as they are called in Japan) which may cause shoreline changes, spectacular glacial surges (as in Alaska), landslides, soil creeps, mass wasting etc.


Volcanism includes the movement of molten rock (magma) onto or toward the earth’s surface and also formation of many intrusive and extrusive volcanic forms.

A volcano is formed when the molten magma in the earth’s interior escapes through the crust by vents and fissures in the crust, accompanied by steam, gases (hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide, hydrogen chloride, carbon dioxide) and pyroclastic material. Depending on chemical composition and viscosity of the lava, a volcano may take various forms.

Pyroclastic  adjective of or denoting rock fragments or ash erupted by a volcano, especially as a hot, dense, destructive flow.

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