By : Cliff Ollier and Colin Pain
Information about book :
The Origin of Mountains
The Origin of Mountains is ground breaking. This highly illustrated book describes
mountains from all over the world, emphasising their landforms, their rocks, and their
structure and age. This leads to a deduction on the mechanism that formed them, causing
the authors to reject the pre-conceived well-known hypothesis that plate tectonics and
folding creates mountains.
The Origins of Mountains approaches mountains from facts about mountain landscape
rather than from theory. It uses old and recent references, as well as field evidence. It
shows that mountains are not made directly by folding, but result from vertical uplift of
plains (planation surfaces) to form plateaus, which may later be eroded into rugged
mountains. It also assembles the evidence that this uplift occurred in the last few million
years, a time scale which does not fit the plate tectonic theory.
Another fascinating story is that the age of uplift correlates very well with climatic
change. Mountain building could have been responsible for the onset of the ice age and
the monsoon climate, and certainly created many new environments. Fossil plants and
animals are used to work out the time of mountain formation, which in turn helps to
explain biogeographic distributions.
Cliff Ollier is a Visiting Fellow, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies,
Australian National University and also Emeritus Professor, University of New England.
Colin Pain is Assistant Director, Cooperative Research Centre for Landscape Evolution
and Mineral Exploration, Australian Geological Survey Organisation.