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Where are most of the mountain ranges and most of the active volcanoes? Where are earthquakes most prevalent? Most physical geography and earth science books have topographical maps that show volcanic and seismic activity.

Check these maps, and plot the positions of:

(1) mountain ranges,
(2) areas of volcanic activity, and
(3) zones of earthquake activity.

You will see that the majority of these features are concentrated around the Pacific Ocean. Geographers refer to this area as the "Pacific Rim." Geologists refer to this area as the "ring of fire."

How might this information provide support for the theory that both North America and South America are drifting westward?

Now gently and slowly push a small rug across the floor from the trailing end. The rug will develop folds along the leading edge, which depicts the building of mountains. Now, go around to the leading edge, and, with your hand behind the folds, pull the rug toward you. You will see the folds increase, and you will also see that the folds you made on the trailing edge will flatten. Likewise, the mountain ranges on the east coast of North America are not as high as they used to be. The Appalachians, the Ozarks, the Adirondacks are being reduced, while the western ranges are becoming more buckled and deformed, as the upper rock layers push into the oceanic plates.

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