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Author Topic: How are mountains formed, and what causes their characteristic shapes?  (Read 915 times)

Offline ImpliedConsent

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I am a crazy noob, but am interested in geology. I don't know what it is, I never took it in college and only cared about terrain while in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anyway, I recently took a drive along the foothills of the Colorado & Wyoming Rocky Mountain foothills. Just me an my dog. I actually had an appointment, but kept slowing down to observe natural shelves, formation and just unusual "out-of-nowhere" boulders.

At some point, while driving, I noticed that the larger formation took on a "ocean wave" appearance. I was driving north and even found a clear crest and trough (imagine a HUGE Hawaiian wave a surfer rides...magnified by 10.) In other words, thousands of feet high, dropping thousands of feet into a 'scooped' valley with miles to center and back up to a similar looking (but degraded) thousand foot wave.

So my question - relating to these appearance of waves - has there been a theory that prehistoric Earth had been completely covered in thrashing waters? Where the Rocky Mountains (and other world ranges) were subject to 90%+/- of the earth was a rolling ball of water? So massive and violent that the water was rolling/cooling giga-ton boulder around and depositing them at the crust high peaks?

Much akin to how today's oceans deposit sand and debris on the beaches. Even on violent current Earth storms, large deposits of sand can be seen, as well as huge erosion. This would be on a much grander scale and much more water (I can't even to begin to estimate size ... 3-4k feet high crests? 14k feet high crests (based on the 14's in Colorado... I know...there are bigger ranges).

Just thinking out loud. It's been bugging me for a bit. This is my first post and my interest is starting to grow more/more.  TIA
« Last Edit: 30/06/2016 18:36:45 by chris »


 

Offline Alan McDougall

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I do not think that the earth was ever completely covered in water on all of surface, but of course I could be wrong, if so your question might really interesting one go debate.

Maybe a bit of research might help?

A warm welcome to the forum

All the best!

Alan
 

Offline ImpliedConsent

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The formations just caught my eye, I stopped and wondered and two recent fossil finds got me to think. How the heck did water-born fossils end up in the middle of [continent]? Wave looking formations with defined crests and troughs? Connection is water.

I know, through some Discovery binges, that the Rockies (example) were created by the severe clashes of the earths crusts, pushing the opposing crusts up, so I've got an idea (even if it's wrong).

I'm just wondering if the question has been asked. I had never even heard a theory of the entire Earth's surface covered in water.
 

Offline JimBob

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First reply

Continents collide, the material that makes up the continents gets compressed. Where does it go? 

Up - and down (under) one or both of the sheets that are colliding.
 
Much of the time the material is molten or  more likely semi- solid "rocks" that deforms in plastic? flow. Wa-la! mountains!
_____________


See also "mountain building" definitions in search websites
 

Offline JimBob

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Second Reply (after Implied Consent posted his reply.)

FROM I. C.  I'm just wondering if the question has been asked. I had never even heard a theory of the entire Earth's surface covered in water.

ONCE, perhaps 4.5 B years ago it was all water.  Early in earth  history, there was solid rock but not since a LONG LONG time ago.

Also  https://www.google.com/search?q=mountain+building+definition&rlz=1CASMAH_enUS699&espv=2&biw=1366&bih=616&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjd96WyqtHNAhUP6WMKHSahDkQQsAQIcw   

The shape is similar in all mountains. They float on the mantle and act llke ice cubs.
« Last Edit: 01/07/2016 05:05:57 by JimBob »
 

Online evan_au

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Quote from: ImpliedConsent
the larger formation took on a "ocean wave" appearance. I was driving north and even found a clear crest and trough (imagine a HUGE Hawaiian wave a surfer rides...magnified by 10.)
I think the formation you describe may be sediments subjected to geological folding.
This produces a wavy effect, consisting of Synclines and Anticlines.
These can be small (meters) or large (kilometres) across.

Imagine a stack of paper sheets, subjected to pressure from the side. It is likely to result in a series of waves. Now just think bigger.
 

Offline JimBob

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All types of rock are subject to the process I describe. And all types form "waves."

See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orogeny

 

Offline JimBob

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Reason for above?

Sedimentary, metamorphic and igneous rocks are within a fairly "narrow" viscosity range and thus, compression operates similarly  to all of them.
 

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