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Everest was Born after India Collided with Asia
Mar 26, 2014

Scientists say that Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain, may have been born as Asia was squeezed like a tube of toothpaste after India smashed into the rest of the continent.The unexpectedly prolonged collision led to the formation of the Himalayas and then caused them to grow ever taller. These mountains are home to the world's 100 highest mountain peaks, including the Everest.

Louis Moresi of the University of Melbourne said, "The obvious big grand challenge problem of tectonics has always been the Himalayas, and how India hits Eurasia." Moresi and colleagues have developed a computer model that explains what happens when continents collide. The model shows that when one continent bears thick or buoyant crust that blocks subduction, the other continent gets squeezed like a tube of toothpaste and folds around the blockage, creating a complex array of geophysical features. It suggests that as India shoves into Eurasia, China and South-East Asia initially resist being pushed underneath, and then get pushed aside instead. 

The process unclogs the subduction zone and allows India to keep pushing into Eurasia, raising up Mount Everest and its towering siblings. Without this process, India almost certainly would have stopped moving northwards.


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