Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world above sea-level. The height of this magnificent mountain is the result of when two continental plates collided 50 million years ago. This video talks about how mountains are formed and the factors that affect their size and shape: uplift, erosion and climate.

Why Watch This Video?

  1. Do you want to know how mountains are formed?
  2. Have you ever wondered how mountains are affected by climate?
  3. Are you curious about why some mountains are taller than others?

Key Terms

Uplift: Uplift happens when an upward force pushes up rocks that were once underground and brings them to the Earth’s surface, forming mountains.

Erosion: Erosion happens when rocks and sediments are picked up and moved to another place by water, ice, wind, or gravity. Erosion has helped to form many features on the Earth, including mountain peaks.

Glaciers: A glacier is a slow-moving frozen river. The steeper the mountain, the faster the ice flows down it, and the quicker it carves the underlying rock, eroding the landscape and shaping mountains.

Loose Ends

Plate Boundaries

This video talks about tectonic plates and mentions that Mount Everest was formed after two plates collided, but it does not delve deeper into plate boundary processes, nor does it use technical terms to describe the type of boundary where Everest was formed.

Convergent boundaries are when two plates are moving towards each other. Types of convergent boundaries include continent-continent, continent-ocean, and ocean to ocean. There are also transform and divergent boundaries.

Not All Mountains Form as Everest Did

This video does not discuss other ways in which mountains are formed. Not all mountains are created in the same way as Everest. For example, volcanic mountains form from molten rock that erupts through the Earth’s crust and piles up. The mountains of the Hawaiian islands were formed this way.

Erosion vs. Weathering

When I watched this video, I was confused about the difference between erosion and weathering. I wondered to myself, are these terms interchangeable or do they mean different things?

As rain or snow falls, rock is dissolved, worn away or broken down into smaller pieces. This is the process known as weathering. Erosion happens when these smaller pieces of rock are moved to a separate location. Water moving downhill carries the weathered material and erodes the landscape, shaping the mountain.

The main difference between weathering and erosion is that weathering occurs in place, whereas erosion involves movement to a new location.

Self-Test Questions

Scroll down for the answers.

1. What happens when two continental plates collide?

  1. It leads to formation of chains of volcanic islands known as Island Arcs
  2. A valley is formed at the edge of the continent
  3. One plates pushes into or underneath another causing uplift to accommodate the extra crust
  4. Earthquakes give rise to tsunamis

2. Why has Mount Everest NOT been whittled down by a glacier?

  1. The glacier is too cold
  2. The type of rock is too hard to be eroded
  3. The mountain is so high that its tallest peak is above the glacier
  4. The glacier is too small

3. What three things directly determine the shape of mountains?

  1. Tectonic plate collision, climate, and uplift
  2. Uplift, erosion, and climate
  3. Uplift, time, and weather
  4. Erosion, weathering, and earthquakes

4. Will Mount Everest stay the same forever or will it change?

  1. It will continue to grow but also continue to erode
  2. It will keep getting smaller because of gravity
  3. It will stay the same forever because the uplift process is complete
  4. It will keep getting smaller because of glaciers

5. What does erosion do to a mountain over time?

  1. It continues to diminish a mountain over time until the mountain no longer exists
  2. It eventually loses out to uplift and does not affect it anymore
  3. It affects the chemical composition of the materials
  4. It overtakes uplift, wearing down peaks faster than they are pushed up


1. The correct answer is C. Answers A, B, and D are the results of what happens when a continental plate collides with an oceanic plate, but Everest was not formed this way. Everest was formed when two continental plates collided – the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate – causing uplift.

2. The correct answer is D. The mountain lies near the tropics, so the snow line is high and the glacier is not big enough to whittle it down.

3. The correct answer is B. The balance between uplift and erosion gives the mountain its shape. But climate also comes into play, as it forms the glaciers which erode the landscape.

4. The correct answer is A. Mount Everest will continue to grow but also continue to erode because continental plates are still moving and climate is still changing.

5. The correct answer is D. Erosion eventually overtakes uplift and shapes the mountain but uplift continues to occur, and therefore the mountain does not vanish.

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Item Credit: Michele Koppes, Ted-Ed

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