Orogeny is a geologic term associated with periods of mountain building. An orogenic belt, therefore, is a geologic structure associated with continental collisions and mountain building. Generally orogenic belts consist of long parallel strips of rock exhibiting similar characteristics along the length of the belt. The details of the specific belt will vary with what collided and the details of the collision. Frequently, many of the rock formations involved in the collision (Orogeny) will be severely deformed amd metamorphosed. During this process, deeply buried rocks may be pushed to the surface. Sea bottom and near shore material may be overthrust into the orogeny covering some or all of the active area. Someplace under the orogenic belt will be a subduction zone that promoted the collision by consuming crust and dragging the material on one side of the collision into contact with that on the other. The subduction zone may have volcanoes or lava flows associated with it.

The Applachian orogeny of North America is a well studied orogenic belt resulting from a late paleozoic collision between North America and Africa. It stretches for many hundreds of miles on the surface from Alabama to New Jersey and can be traced further subsurface to the southwest. In the north it enters a region of confused topography associated with earlier orogenies, but clearly the Applachian deformations extend North to Labrador and Newfoundland.

See also: Laramide orogeny

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