The geology of mountains

Mountains are beautiful things, but they are also fascinating, particularly their geology. I’ve written a series of posts, taking a journey through the geology of mountains.

I start with the basics, introducing the concept of continental tectonics and discussing how plate tectonics applies to mountains. I make a quick detour to list the fantastic array of geological techniques that are used to understanding mountains before discussing rheology and how the phrase ‘solid as a rock’ is a simplification.

Next I describe the geological implications of rocks ability to be both elastic and viscous and make some food analogies. Like all good journeys, I wander off the main path a little to admire the view, both gorgeous granites and luscious landslides.

Getting back on track, I talk some more about about models of mountain formation, starting with critical taper. We consider to importance of erosion and the ability of rivers to influence tectonics, causing tectonic aneurysms. A related concept is channel flow, the idea that a huge slab of hot rock flowed out from under Tibet into the Himalaya. I’ll end up with Mount Everest, putting its wonderful geology in context.

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