Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mountain-building Process Much Faster -- And Cooler -- Than Previously Thought, Say Queen's Geologists

Date:
July 6, 2005
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
Geologists at Queen's University have discovered that the time it takes for mountain ranges to form is millions of years shorter than previously thought. This controversial finding could have implications for our understanding of other geological processes that shaped the Earth, says Professor James Lee and postdoctoral fellow Alfredo Camacho of Queen's Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Department.

Kingston, ON -- Geologists at Queen's University have discovered that the time it takes for mountain ranges to form is millions of years shorter than previously thought.

This controversial finding could have implications for our understanding of other geological processes that shaped the Earth, says Professor James Lee and postdoctoral fellow Alfredo Camacho of Queen's Geological Sciences and Geological Engineering Department.

The study will appear in the June 30 edition of the international journal Nature.

Other members of the team are Bastiaan J. Hensen from University of New South Wales, and Jean Braun from Universit-- de Rennes, France.

Using state-of-the-art techniques to measure the age of rocks, the researchers deciphered a pattern of ages within single crystals from rock remnants that survived continental collision. Their measurements show a 13-million-year cycle in which rocks are buried to 60 km depth, then returned to the surface. This occurred 425 million years ago during a large-scale mountain-building event called the Caledonian Orogeny.

"We were excited to be able to show, for the first time, that the duration of an orogenic' cycle [burying, then bringing rocks to the surface] is much shorter than was previously believed -- only 13 million years in this case," say Drs. Camacho and Lee. "Geologically speaking, that is a very short period indeed -- a mere drop in the bucket of the Earth's history." The duration of many geological processes that shape the Earth has been thought to last for hundreds of millions of years.

The study also suggests that the buildup of heat previously thought to be widespread during mountain building may instead be related to short-term events caused by either pulsed injection of hot fluids and/or friction on faults, with the overall crust remaining relatively cool. The study focused on the Caledonian Orogeny in Norway, where injections of hot fluids caused rapid fracturing of this cool crust, producing deep-seated continental earthquakes.

"By coupling geochronology with fundamental physical and mathematical principles and computer modeling, we can assess the durations of a variety of geological processes for the very first time," says Dr. Lee. "The new quantitative technique that we developed allows us to measure the duration of thermal disturbances at all scales, from small-scale intrusions of molten rocks into the crust (e.g. volcanoes) to large-scale orogenic cycles."

This unique "cold-crust" model stems from a new quantitative technique integrating geo-chronology, mathematics, physics, and basic geological principles. "It neatly explains many previously puzzling geological observations and may be relevant to other mountain-building events around the world," says Dr. Lee.



Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Mountain-building Process Much Faster -- And Cooler -- Than Previously Thought, Say Queen's Geologists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630062724.htm>.
Queen's University. (2005, July 6). Mountain-building Process Much Faster -- And Cooler -- Than Previously Thought, Say Queen's Geologists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630062724.htm
Queen's University. "Mountain-building Process Much Faster -- And Cooler -- Than Previously Thought, Say Queen's Geologists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/06/050630062724.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

Raw: Volcano Erupts on Papua New Guinea

AP (Aug. 29, 2014) Several communities were evacuated and some international flights were diverted on Friday after one of the most active volcanos in the region erupts. (Aug. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Scientists Have Figured Out Why Rocks Move In Death Valley

Newsy (Aug. 28, 2014) The mystery of the moving rocks in Death Valley, California, has finally been solved. Scientists are pointing to a combo of water, ice and wind. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

Big Waves, Minor Flooding from Hurricane

AP (Aug. 27, 2014) Thundering surf spawned by Hurricane Marie pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town. High surf warnings were posted for Los Angeles County south through Orange County. (Aug. 27) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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