Mountains

"Or, Who made the earth a restingplace, and made in it rivers, and raised on it mountains and placed between the two seas a barrier. Is there a god with Allah? Nay! most of them do not know!" {Holy Qur'an 27:61}

"And He it is Who spread the earth and made in it firm mountains and rivers, and of all fruits He has made in it two kinds; He makes the night cover the day; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect." {Holy Qur'an 13:3}

 

 

These verses from the Qur'an were revealed to Prophet Muhammad in the the year 632.

The study of Mountain formation (Plate Tectonics) was first Suggested in 1596 by Ortelius. Than later suggested by the Ancient idea that South America and Africa at one time were joined by the scientist named Bacon (1620) in England, and to Placet (1668) in France.

Snider-Pellegrini (1858) found similar plant fossils in coal beds on both continents. 1908 Taylor & Baker matched mountain chains, and Wegener (1915) proposed continental drift, and super-continent of Pangaea - based on a variety of geological, geodesic, geophysical, biological and paleoclimatological grounds.

DuToit postulated 2 super continents, the southern Gondwana and northern Laurasia divided by the Tethys Sea. Holmes (1928) introduced the concept of convection into the model, which later on lead to the modern paradigm.

Yet there was still not enough sufficient proof for scientists.

C.Pangaea (split in the Triassic; approx. 225mya): Wegener's original supercontinent, split into the two following continents.

1.Laurasia: Eventually became N. America, Europe, and Asia.

2.Gondwana: Eventually became S. America, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

D.Continued Movement (the cause of earthquakes): The continents (lithosphere) in constant motion. The lithospheric plates move at a rate of 5-10cm/year (50-100km/one million years). Constantly evolving.

This was discovered with high tech measuring equipment not available in the 7th century. There was no way to know mountains were evolving, it is a process that takes over 10,000 years.

Modern Theory: Took shape in the 1960's.

-The Proof for Plate Tectonics-

A.Biologic Arguments: When related taxa (orders, families, enus, species, etc.) of plants or animals have separated ranges. Since they share the same ancestor, there must be a reason for their separation

B.Extrusion of Magma at the Sea Floor: It was only recently (last ten years) that this was actually observed.

C.Magnetic Reversals:

-Before lava cools into a solid state, the tiny metallic minerals align themselves like a compass.

-By studying volcanic rocks, scientists discovered that the Earth's magnetic field has reversed at irregular intervals (10,000-100,00yrs) in the past.

This pattern of reversals was mapped along the ocean floor.  

-The basalt at the rift had the same magnetic pattern as new lavas anywhere in the world.

In conclusion, soon after the molten, hot, liquid round mass we now call earth was formed billions of years ago, it began to cool.  During this cooling  process lighter materials floated above a heavier liquid mass. 

This separation of materials caused layers to form.  The cooling lighter layers formed a thin skin or crust around the outside of the earth.  This lighter (or more buoyant) crust floated on top of a thick liquid mantle

    The Earth's crust is about four miles thick under the ocean and may be up to forty miles thick under some mountain ranges.  The Earth's mantle lies directly under  the crust.  It is a layer of rock about 1800 miles thick.  Heat and pressure at this great depth keep the material in a very thick liquid state.  This thick (or viscous) liquid flows in sluggish currents as you might imagine thick, cooling lava to flow.  Beneath the mantle is the Earth's outer core. It is hotter and under more pressure than the mantle so it has more fluid-like properties.  This "liquid rock" is comprised mainly of silicon (what sand is made of) and iron and nickel and it is about 1400 miles thick.   The center of the earth is a solid ball 1540 miles in diameter comprised mainly of iron and nickel.  Intense pressure at such great depth keeps the inner core from turning liquid despite a temperature of 3700 degrees Celsius.
 
    As cooling continued, the crustal materials began to move on the sluggish currents.  This movement eventually caused the crust to break apart forming tectonic plates.  Most scientist think there are about eighteen tectonic plates on the Earth.  These plates are are about 60 miles thick (the distance from Fort Collins  to Denver) and are constantly moving, but at a very slow pace.  Currents of heat (convective currents) rising from deep in the core and up through the mantle, cause the plates to move.  As the plates drifted around the globe, they collided one-by-one, until they became grouped together in one large mass.   This all was occurring about 500 million years ago.  About 200 million years ago the plate movements brought  the pieces together into one single land mass called Pangaea (see Figure 2).  Pangaea is Greek for "all lands", which was comprised of all the continents:  South America, Africa, India, Antarctica, Australia, Asia, and Africa.  About 20 millions years Pangaea broke into two continents, Gondwanaland and Laurasia.

Later North America and all the other continents broke away from Laurasia and drifted in different directions around the globe.  Eventually these plates began to collide into one other.  Keep in mind that plate movement and collision is a dynamic and continual process.  What do you think the continents will look like in a thousand years or a million years from now as this drifting continues?

    Geologists refer to active margins when discussing mountain building.  These active margins are where tectonic plates come together.  Volcanoes and earthquakes are much more frequent around the boundaries of tectonic plates.  It is also at these boundaries that plates collide and scrape against one another.  It is the scraping of plates against one another that causes earthquakes. 

When plates collide they may either slide over one another or collide head on (like a car wreck).  These head on collisions cause buckling and folding in the plate.  This is the fundamental physical process that facilitates mountain formation.
 

Plate Collision and Mountain Formation

    The process of mountain building is called Orogenesis.  When plates collide head-on (plate-to-plate collision), tremendous force is generated.  When a plate that is moving hits a plate that is stationary or is moving towards it, energy is transferred inland and the pressure generated causes uplift.  When one plate rides over another (subduction), the top plate may buckle and crack where it bends upward.  This uplift causes materials from deep within the Earth push upwards generating mountains

 

  Schematic illustration of subducting plates.  The gray plate and yellow plate collide and one rides over the other.  The pressure from the yellow plate (which is deep beneath the Earth's surface) causes buckling and uplift of the crust (Re-drawn from Holdaway, 1997).
In conclusion, Mountains were raised from the earth and stopped the earth crust from Shaking as was proven this century by scientists while it was revealed in the Holy Qur'an 14 Centuries ago.

 

Table of Contents

Copyright (c) 1998 Mohamed Ghounem
The Authors give Full Permission to Use the Above Material As Your Own for Non-Profit Purposes.
"Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance." Qur'an 16.125


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