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‘Supermountains’ Longer Compared to the Himalayas, Say Scientists

They were 4 times the span of today’s Himalayan ranges and developed twice during Earth’s history, extending up to 8,000 kilometres across.

The Himalayan range’s greatest peak, Mount Everest, stands at 8,848 metres; however, more ranges spread throughout the continent. Such mountain ranges, which are longer than that of the Himalayas, aided in the growth of the globe. The creation of these supermountains has been studied all through the Earth’s history.

They originated two times in Earth’s history, the initial one between 2,000 to 1,800 million years ago as well as the 2nd one between 650 to 500 million years ago, extending up to 8,000 kilometres across and roughly four times the range of the current Himalayan ranges (2,300 kilometres). Researchers think there are connections between 2 supermountains occurrences as well as Earth’s 2 most crucial evolutionary phases.

Researchers utilized residues of zircon having low lutetium content — a mix of mineral plus rare earth elements exclusively seen in the roots of high mountains wherein they develop under great pressure — to recognize these formations in research published in the international Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

About supermountains

There is no proof of any additional supermountains growing between these two periods, making them all the more remarkable. Ziyi Zhu, a PhD student at the Australian National University as well as the journal’s lead author, stated, “There’s nothing like these two supermountains today. It’s not just their height – if you can imagine the 2,400 km long Himalayas repeated three or four times you get an idea of the scale.”

Nuna Supermountain is the name given to the very first supermountains, that are thought to have appeared about the same time as eukaryotes. These organisms subsequently led directly to animals and plants. The Transgondwanan Supermountain, which originated between 650 to 500 million years ago, corresponds to the arrival of the first giant animals as well as the Cambrian boom 45 million years later, whenever most groups of animals emerged within the fossil record.

How do they contribute to earth evolution?

According to the researchers, whenever mountains disintegrated, they gave vital nutrients to the oceans such as phosphorus and iron, supercharging biological systems and propelling evolution to growing complexity. The supermountains may well have increased the amount of oxygen within the atmosphere, required for sophisticated life to breathe.


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