Science & Technology

Western U.S. Geography Could've Been Created by Pile Up of Tectonic Plates

Not just two slamming into each


Scientists have long thought the land features of the Western North American continent were caused when two large tectonic plates shifted together, with geologic material pushed together in a relatively smooth manner --- as if on a moving conveyor belt --- to create the mountain ranges that stretch from Alaska to Mexico.

New research, however, suggests the landforms resulted when several plates smashed into one-another, similar to a multicar pileup.