Why Are the Appalachian Mountains Not As Tall and Jagged As the Rocky Mountains?

The Appalachian Mountains are not as tall and jagged as the Rocky Mountains because they are so much older and have been worn down by weathering and erosion over millions of years.

The Appalachians run for about 2,000 miles (3,218 km) from Newfoundland, Canada, through Maine all the way south to central Alabama.

They are the oldest mountains in the United States by far, and they are also among the oldest on Earth.

The Appalachian Mountain system consists of the White Mountains in New Hampshire; the Green Mountains in Vermont; the Blue Ridge Mountains (from eastern West Virginia to northern Georgia); the Alleghenies (from Pennsylvania through Virginia); and the Cumberland Mountains (from southern West Virginia to northeastern Alabama).

The five major mountain ranges in the U.S. are marked on this map: the Appalachian Mountains, the Rocky Mountains, the Cascade Mountains, the Sierra Nevada, and the Alaska Range.

The Appalachians began to form between 1.1 billion and 540 million years ago. Today, the highest peak in the range is Mount Mitchell in North Carolina, which rises 6,684 feet (2,037 m) above sea level.

The Rocky Mountains in the western United States are much younger.

They began to form 65 million to 35 million years ago, and they are taller and craggier than the Appalachians because they haven’t been exposed to the effects of weathering for as long.

The Rockies run for some 3,000 miles (4,827 km) from Canada to New Mexico, with many peaks exceeding 13,000 feet (4,500 m).