Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Mountain Uplift and Global Cooling

The topography of the Earth is the result of the interplay of many processes, some of which originate inside the earth, some outside the Earth and some on the earth. Mountain uplifting over the last 40 million years has been a very active process, the Tibetan Plateau having risen by up to 4,000 m, of which 2,000 m has occurred in the last 10 million years. In the US ⅔ of the uplift of the Sierra Nevada has occurred over the last 10 million years. In the North American west similar uplift has been, and is occurring, in other mountainous areas. The same uplift is has been occurring in the Bolivian Andes and the New Zealand Alps. Huggett suggests this active mountain building period appears to be linked to the global climate change, partly through the modification of air flow and partly by weathering. Young mountains are more susceptible to weathering so erode more rapidly. Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere by weathering as it is combined in soluble carbonates, which are carried to the oceans then deposited and buried. Huggett suggests it is possible that enough carbon dioxide was removed by the rise of the Himalayas to lead to a cooling of the global climate that culminated in the ice age of the Quaternary (Raymo & Ruddiman, 1992; Ruddiman, 1997). This illustrates how important the geomorphic system can be to environmental change.

Sources & Further reading

  1. Huggett, Richard John, 2007, Fundamentals of Geomorphology, 2nd edition, Routledge


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 28/09/2015
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