Skip Navigation

4.13: Continent-Continent Convergent Plate Boundaries

Difficulty Level: Basic Created by: CK-12
Atoms Practice
Estimated3 minsto complete
Practice Continent-Continent Convergent Plate Boundaries
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Estimated3 minsto complete
Estimated3 minsto complete
Practice Now
This indicates how strong in your memory this concept is
Turn In

What do you see at a continent-continent convergent plate boundary?

Big mountains! The best place to see two continental plates converging is in the Himalaya Mountains. These mountains are the highest above sea level on Earth. They are very popular with mountain climbers.

Continent-Continent Convergence

Another type of convergent plate boundary is when two continental plates collide. Continental lithosphere is low in density and very thick. Continental lithosphere cannot subduct. So when two continental plates collide, they just smash together. This is just like what happens if you put your hands on two sides of a sheet of paper and bring your hands together. The material has nowhere to go but up (Figure below)! Earthquakes and metamorphic rocks result from the tremendous forces of the collision. But the crust is too thick for magma to get through. As a result, there are no volcanoes a continent-continent collision zones.

When two plates of continental crust collide, the material pushes upward. This forms a high mountain range. The remnants of subducted oceanic crust remain beneath the continental convergence zone.

Mountain Building

Continent-continent convergence creates some of the world’s largest mountains ranges. The Himalayas (Figure below) are the world's tallest mountains. They are forming as two continents collide. The Appalachian Mountains are the remnants of a larger mountain range. This range formed from continent-continent collisions in the time of Pangaea.

The Karakoram Range is part of the Himalaya Mountains. Hunza Peak, pictured here, is over 20,000 feet high. The number of mountains this tall in the Himalayas is impressive.


  • Continental crust is too buoyant to subduct.
  • When two continental plates converge, they smash together and create mountains.
  • The amazing Himalaya Mountains are the result of this type of convergent plate boundary.
  • The Appalachian Mountains resulted from ancient convergence when Pangaea came together.


Use these resources to answer the questions that follow.


  1. What happens when two continental plates converge?
  2. What is the result of this convergence?


  1. Where are the Himalaya Mountains?
  2. When were the Himalayas formed?
  3. When did India ram into Asia?
  4. How fast are the Himalayas rising?


  1. Compare and contrast these two types of convergent plate boundaries: (1) continent-continent, and (2) ocean-continent.
  2. What causes mountain ranges to rise at convergent plate boundaries?
  3. How did the Appalachian Mountains form?

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Show More


convergent plate boundary Location where two lithospheric plates come together.

Image Attributions

Show Hide Details
Difficulty Level:
6 , 7
Date Created:
Jan 04, 2013
Last Modified:
Aug 31, 2016
Files can only be attached to the latest version of Modality
Please wait...
Please wait...
Image Detail
Sizes: Medium | Original