As we all know, the height of Mount Qomolangma has been changing, recently, our country once again sent a mountaineering team to the top of Mount Everest, its height measurement. Why does the height of Mount Everest change all the time? Now scientists have found the root cause. On June 11th a new study published in Nature by German scientists showed that erosion and weathering are not the root causes of mountain height, but the balance of forces in the earth’s crust.
The highest mountain ranges on Earth, such as the Himalayas or the Andes, are folded mountains, formed by the squeezing of continental margins or the collision of continental plates, along the boundaries of the converged plates.
The height of mountains is mainly determined by the tectonic process within the earth or by the erosion process that shapes the earth’s surface, which has been a matter of debate in the earth’s scientific community.
A new study led by Armin Dielforder of the German Centre for Geoscience research shows that erosion of rivers and glaciers has no significant impact on the height of mountains. The researchers solved a long-standing debate by analyzing the strength of the boundaries of various plates and the forces that worked on plate boundaries.
The researchers came to this surprising result by calculating the forces on the boundaries of different plates on Earth, using data that provides information about plate boundary strength.
The researchers collected global data on underground frictions in different height seamounts (Himalayas, Andes, Sumatra, Japan) from the literature and calculated the resulting stresses, resulting in the forces that cause the mountains to rise. In this way, they found that in active mountains, the forces on the plate boundary and the weight and height of the mountains are balanced.
Although the mountains studied are located in different climatic regions and the rate of erosion varies greatly, this force balance exists in all the mountains studied. The results suggest that mountains can react to processes on the Earth’s surface and grow under rapid erosion, maintaining a balance of forces and the height of mountains. This new discovery offers more opportunities to study the long-term development and growth of mountains in greater depth.