Geologists have learned to measure the height of the mountains in the distant past

26.07.2004

26.07.2004


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Andreas Mulch (Andreas Mulch) from the American University of Stanford (Stanford University) and his colleagues developed a new method of estimating the height of the mountains, as it was millions of years ago. This will help to better understand the ancient climate, which greatly affect the mountains.

Mulch way stems from the fact that the isotopic composition of raindrops (or snowflakes), the drop-down at the top of the mountain, depending on its height.

The fact that the water droplets normally present a certain relation between the various isotopes of hydrogen. When the flow of moist air encounters a mountain, he is being chased by the wind up.

As the "climbing" falls temperature and density, and most of the rain water falls on the slopes.

In this case, the water molecules containing heavy isotopes drop out at lower altitudes — at the foot of the mountains, and light — are held much longer.

So, as the lifting of moist air up changing the isotopic composition of water, and rain on top helps to precisely calculate its maximum height.

It remains to find a way — to catch the drops that fell on the mountain millions of years ago. It turns out that Nature has created such batteries.

Rain washed away the top down into the streams and rivers. But not all.

Some of the water seeps through cracks into the mountain, where just gets in crystallizing minerals, some of which are able to absorb water and hold it in itself indefinitely.

And the age of the minerals easily determine radioisotope method.

Such moisture accumulating minerals include, for example, muscovite. Through millions of years of geological processes reveal powerful part hidden in the depths of a huge rock, they learned something and Mulch.

So, feeling his method, he found that the mountain complex Shuswap Canada 50 million years ago was the height of 4 kilometers, instead of three — as it is now.

22.07.2004

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