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In general, the younger the mountain chain, the taller it is. Plate tectonics builds mountains by thrusting the crust upward, while erosion wears them back down over millenia.

So the Himalayas are a new (and in fact, still growing) mountain chain, while the Appalachians are one of the oldest chains still identifiable as mountains.

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Q: What is one way to tell young mountains from old mountains?
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