Lesson 2: How to Make a Mountain
Fault Block Mountains
Materials / Preparation
Groups of four
Background information: Fault-block mountains are formed by the sinking or rising of huge blocks of the earth's surface relative to the neighboring blocks. The Basin and Range region of Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah is one of the most extensive regions of fault-block mountains.
Students often have difficulty in visualizing how normal faults (fault block movement) contribute to the formation of mountains. This demonstration will help the students understand how faulting can create mountains.
We have provided Mountains Formed by Faults Photos for the teacher.
Extension: Paper Model Faults
The optional paper model fault activity is a lot of fun for students and enhances their understanding of fault block motion. We have had great success with it in our classrooms, but made it optional as some younger students may have trouble with the cutting and folding. Take a look at the activity and assess for yourself. The most relevant model to mountain building is the model of the horst. However, if time permits, construction of all the models will provide students with better insight into which faults are more likely to be involved in mountain-building processes.