The Rise of the American Cordillera
Described as the 'backbone' of the Americas, the American Cordillera is series of dramatic mountains stretching all the way from North America as far south as Antarctica.
The Earth’s surface is broken up into larger and smaller tectonic plates—landmasses that drift across our planet over geological time. When they collide, they unleash the most powerful force on Earth. Nothing withstands this movement—oceans are closed and whole continents lifted. Almost all known mountains owe their existence to these collisions of both oceanic or terrestrial plates.
A striking example is the west coast of the Americas, where we find a variety of mountain chains created by such a convergence. The plates’ movement is slow but relentless. The movement of plates beneath the Pacific Ocean toward the continental mass of North and South America has created a huge topographic rise: the American Cordillera (Spanish for mountain chain).