How did the Himalayas get to be Earth’s highest mountain range?

In my last four posts, I described the 21-day trek we did in the Everest region in November 2021, including some of our geologic observations along the way. In this final post, I explain how these mountains evolved to achieve such immense size and beauty. Here's how Earth's continents were distributed 50 million years ago (Ma). At about 200 Ma,...
Read More

Trekking in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas, Part 4: from Gokyo back to Lukla

The last leg of our 21-day trek extended west from Goyko to cross the Renjo La (pass), then south down the Bhote Koshi valley back to Namche, and finally down the Dudh Koshi valley to Lukla, where we flew back to Kathmandu. Please see my first post for a map of the trek, including this last leg: https://landscapes-revealed.net/trekking-in-the-khumbu-region-of-the-nepal-himalayas-part-1-from-kathmandu-to-namche/. The area...
Read More

Trekking in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas, Part 3: to Everest Base Camp and Goyko

From Chhukhung (end of Part 2 post: https://landscapes-revealed.net/trekking-in-the-khumbu-region-of-the-nepal-himalayas-part-2-all-hail-to-ama-dablam/), our next destination was Gorak Shep and Everest Base Camp. We trekkers split into two groups: one group hiked from Chhukhung over the Kongma La (pass) to Lobuche; the other group hiked down the valley from Chhukhung to Dingboche, then followed another valley northward to Lobuche. See my first post for a...
Read More

Trekking in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas, Part 2: All hail to Ama Dablam

This second post about trekking in our planet's highest mountains is a tribute to Ama Dablam, the mountain we saw all along the route to the northeast from Namche to Chhukhung, where we reached the highest elevation of the trek. As we continued uphill, we found steeper trails, more primitive lodges, and lots of in-your-face geology! Link to my first...
Read More

Trekking in the Khumbu region of the Nepal Himalayas, Part 1: from Kathmandu to Namche

What geologist doesn’t yearn to experience the grandeur of our planet’s highest mountain range? Certainly, I was exhilarated by the opportunity to gaze upon the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas, formed during the past 50 million years, as the sub-continent of India has been colliding with the continent of Asia. We spent the month of November 2021 in Nepal—the main...
Read More

Why are there so many hills in San Francisco?

Any visitor to San Francisco will be impressed by the number of hills and how they contribute to the overall beauty of the city. People (like me) who have resided in San Francisco have found biking and walking routes to avoid the steepest hills, and have appreciated how the hills compartmentalize the city into distinctive neighborhoods and provide stunning views....
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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...
Read More

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/)...
Read More

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...
Read More

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.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Archives