Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Solving A Tibetan Mystery: How Did The "Roof Of The World" Come To Be?

Date:
April 30, 2001
Source:
University Of Alberta
Summary:
It has often been called the "roof of the world," for its elevated plateau--probably the highest and the largest to exist on earth. As long as scientists have been studying Tibet, they have been puzzled by exactly how its plateau came to be so immense and raised. A University of Alberta physicist has helped to solve part of that age-old mystery.

April 27, 2001 - It has often been called the "roof of the world," for its elevated plateau--probably the highest and the largest to exist on earth. As long as scientists have been studying Tibet, they have been puzzled by exactly how its plateau came to be so immense and raised. A University of Alberta physicist has helped to solve part of that age-old mystery.

Related Articles


"What we found is that the midcrust is like a big waterbed," said Dr. Martyn Unsworth from the Department of Physics. "That provides an explanation for how the whole of Tibet could possible rise up over millions and millions of years."

The study, which includes co-authors from China, Canada and the United States, is published in today's edition of the internationally renowned journal Science. The principle behind the discovery--which was made after three years of investigation--is that hot or molten rocks are less dense than cold rocks so the lower density hot rock rises up slowly, similar to how a hot air balloon works.

Since India rammed into Asia about 40 to 50 million years ago, many theories have been proposed for the origin of this immense thickness. Recently, computer simulations have been made about what the crust might look like. Unsworth's new research will help fill in some of the blanks.

"Tibet is the best example of what happens when two continents collide," he said, adding the research team used low-frequency radio waves to detect the fluid. "It's an obvious, natural laboratory to study…studies like our are important to give firm observations that can say which of the computer models might be correct."

It has taken this long to discover the fluid because Tibet was closed to foreign access until the 1980s. At that time French scientists first collaborated with Chinese scientists to study the plateau. As well, the instruments used to measure the electric and magnetic fields have advanced in the last decade, said Unsworth.

"With earth sciences, you can study processes that are active today and see how it affected the development of the continents," said Unsworth. "It's sort of like detective work, putting it all together."

Unsworth will return shortly to the Tibetan Plateau to try to solve more pieces of the puzzle.

The UofA in Edmonton, Alberta is one of Canada's premier teaching and research universities serving more than 30,000 students with 6,000 faculty and staff. It continues to lead the country with the most 3M Teaching Fellows, Canada's only national award recognizing teaching excellence.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Alberta. "Solving A Tibetan Mystery: How Did The "Roof Of The World" Come To Be?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010427072929.htm>.
University Of Alberta. (2001, April 30). Solving A Tibetan Mystery: How Did The "Roof Of The World" Come To Be?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010427072929.htm
University Of Alberta. "Solving A Tibetan Mystery: How Did The "Roof Of The World" Come To Be?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/04/010427072929.htm (accessed January 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

Raw: Rare Clouds Fill Grand Canyon

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) For the second time in two months, a rare weather phenomenon filled the Grand Canyon with thick clouds just below the rim on Wednesday. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

Senate Passes Bill for Keystone XL Pipeline

AP (Jan. 29, 2015) The Republican-controlled Senate has passed a bipartisan bill approving construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. (Jan. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

"Cloud Inversion" In Grand Canyon

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 29, 2015) Time lapse video captures a blanket of clouds amassing in the Grand Canyon -- the result of a rare meteorological process called "cloud inversion." Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Why Researchers Say We Should Cut Back On Biofuels

Newsy (Jan. 29, 2015) Biofuels aren&apos;t the best alternative to fossil fuels, according to a new report. In fact, they&apos;re quite a bad one. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins