Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Glaciation controls on mountain building

A new study in Nature, co-authored by UA researchers Stuart Thomson and Pete Reiners is getting lots of attention in the tectonics community.

They found that "erosion patterns and climate data from the late Cenozoic in the glaciated Patagonian Andes suggests that glaciation can also make mountains higher. At polar latitudes, a glacial layer can protect uplifting mountains from erosion, allowing them to reach heights well above those predicted had a glacial buzzsaw [ie, highly efficient erosion] been active."

Ref: Stuart N. Thomson, Mark T. Brandon, Jonathan H. Tomkin, Peter W. Reiners, Cristián Vásquez & Nathaniel J. Wilson, Glaciation as a destructive and constructive control on mountain building, Nature 467: 313-317

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