How plankton helped create the Earth’s mountains 2 billion years ago

Press/Media: Articles in 'The Conversation'

Description

A world without the great mountain ranges – the Himalayas, the Alps, the Rockies, the Andes – is unimaginable, but they were not always a part of the Earth’s geography. Mountains didn’t start forming widely until 2 billion years ago, half way through the planet’s history. Now our research has revealed how primitive life played a key role in their introduction to the planet.

While the formation of mountains is usually associated with the collision of tectonic plates causing huge slabs of rock to be thrust skywards, our study has shown that this was triggered by an abundance of nutrients in the oceans 2 billion years ago which caused an explosion of planktonic life.

Period2 Dec 2021

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