Monday, April 27, 2009

Mountain building and climate change

UA geoscientists Susan Beck, George Zandt, and Mihai Ducea are among a team of 9 scientists from 6 institutions just awarded $2.5 million by NSF to "investigate how rising mountain ranges may have altered the global climate."

The project leader, Carmala Garzione, associate professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Rochester, "used ancient rainfall measurements to clock the speed of the Andes' formation, and found that the vast mountain range likely experienced a "growth spurt" that pushed it up much faster than geologists had long believed." [right, Andes mountains satellite view. Credit, NASA]

In addition to climate modeling, geophysicists Susan Beck and George Zandt will run a seismic experiment that will enable to team to image the lower crust and mantle beneath the Andes to identify the processes that led to surface uplift. Geochemist Mihai Ducea will analyze volcanic rocks to track the timing of changes in the lithosphere.

[quotes from the Univ. of Rochester news release]

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