Plate tectonics 101—what happens when plates move toward each other?

When plates move away from each other (divergent boundaries; see last post on December 31), new oceanic crust is created. Since Earth is not expanding, ocean crust must be destroyed elsewhere. This happens at convergent boundaries, where plates move toward each other. Here, oceanic crust is destroyed, or rather, it gets recycled back into Earth's depths. The places where oceanic...

Traversing the Swiss Alps on the Haute Route—the eastern end

After three days of traversing steep rocky passes in the cold and snow, we were ready for warm, clear weather and green valleys with quaint Swiss villages. The last snowy impediment was the Pas de Chévres, which was a little intimidating because of its vertical steel ladders. But by the time we had crossed over the glacier east of Cabane...

Traversing the Swiss Alps on the Haute Route—the middle section

Continuing eastward on the Haute Route is a roller-coaster trek of long uphills and downhills, with great expectations about what type of landscape will appear after topping the next pass and then what little village will lie in the valley at the bottom. In general, lodging in the valleys is in small hotels; in some parts, the route stays high...

Traversing the Swiss Alps on the Haute Route—the western end

The Haute Route was established as a route for skiers but is now also very popular for hikers in the summer. The route extends from Chamonix (France) to Zermatt (Switzerland). There are many variations on the route; most people choose a 7–14 day transect that could include "short cuts" of chair lifts, trains and/or buses. The map below (from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/205828645448998187/)...

The second highest mountain range in the world—and still rising

After the Himalayas, the Andes Mountains are the second highest range in the world—but you have to go to the right place. Many parts of the Andes are beautiful but have elevations more similar to other, relatively low-elevation subduction-zone ranges like the Cascades in the Pacific NW (USA). But at 6964 meters (22,841 feet), Alconcagua is the highest peak in...

About the Blogger

Karen (here with Mt. Shasta in background) is a geology professor emerita who aims to provide a "pocket geologist" for world travelers. Follow the blog to explore the landscapes of our planet and figure out what causes them to look the way they do.

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