P. Edronkin

What Determines The Height Of The Tallest Mountains?



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The Everest is the highest mountain on the surface of Earth and is still growing higher as the Indian subcontinent pushes northwards into Asia, and for geophysical reasons, mountains in our planet could not grow much more than that.

As they get increasingly massive, the rock at their bases is compressed so much that it would eventually melt and such mountains would be left with a very soft base that would provoke their sinking as they grow. In the same way, there are opportunities that you should not let pass, because once opportunities are gone, you will never recover them.

So don't let opportunities slip away from your hands, especially if you feel that this is your lucky day and you could make it to the top.

By reviewing how explorers have tried to reach the summit of Mount Everest and how many climbers still try to go up there despite the danger and perils, we might just see how winners are made. People who climb mountains with success is indeed quite competent at climbing rocks and ice, but above all, if there is something unique and common to them is their persistence. Seasoned and veteran mountaineers and climbers know all too well that it is probable that they will not reach the summit of any given mountain during their first attempt: they often have to return to their base camps even after almost touching the summit with their hands. Curiously enough, Mount Everest is not the highest mountain of planet earth, strictly speaking, because some of the volcanoes and mountains located beneath the ocean's surface are taller if measured from their absolute base and up to their respective tops, no matter whether they are out or under the water surface. This happens because being in water alters completely their weight distribution and consequently, the pressure at the base that otherwise would melt the rock.

It is not feasible to surpass naturally this limit, which is more or less constant because it depends on gravitational forces that are, in turn, fairly stable over time. Then, if we ad the movement of tectonic plaques or continental plates, as well as the effect of erosion over time, it is easy to see why there are relatively few very tall mountains.

In other planets with soft surfaces or crusts and higher gravitational forces, the existence of mountains and their size becomes more improbable, while in other cases, where there is little or no tectonic activity, like in Mars, mountains are able to grow much more.




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