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Orogeny is the geological term for mountain forming. The cause of orogeny is in plate tectonics. The tectonic forces are strong enough to transform low mountain ranges into significant mountains. These are usually formed by the collision of tectonic plates.

In the Earth's history there are three main phases when mountains were formed. During the Caledonian orogeny in the Paleozoic the Appalachians were formed for example. In the Hercynian orogeny or Varistic orogeny in the upper Carboniferous several mountain ranges were formed that have been eroded away again. In central Germany there are still remnants of these mountains found in Earth's crust.

The Alpine Orogeny began in the middle of the Cretaceous period, and is in fact still continuing. This orogeny is caused by the collision of the African and Eurasian plates and formed the Alps. After the Alps came the Carpathians, the Caucasus, the mountains in Turkey and Iran. Then followed the collision of the Indian plate with the Eurasian plate. This caused the Himalayas. This collision is still ongoing.

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