Glaciers eroded mountains faster

Dec 11, 2005

U.S. researchers have have documented how fast glaciers eroded the topography of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia, Canada.

University of Michigan, California Institute of Technology and Occidental College researchers used a new geochemical tool to quantify the rates and magnitude of glacial erosion across a major valley.

They found that glaciers radically altered the landscape around 1.8 million years ago -- about the time that Earth began to experience a number of ice ages.

The erosion rates documented in the study suggest that glaciers eroded the mountains six times faster than rivers and landslides had before glaciation began. The researchers also found that glaciers scraped at least about 1.2 miles of rock from the mountains.

"These results are exciting, because they clearly document that glaciers are the most efficient method for sculpting the topography of the range," said Todd Ehlers of University of Michigan.

The findings are published in Science.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Brief moon eclipse coming April 4

Related Stories

Researchers study fluctuations in solar radiation

Mar 18, 2015

The Sun is the Earth's principal source of energy and climate driver. Yet sometimes it sends more light to the Earth than other times. Astronomers working with Natalie Krivova at the Max Planck Institute ...

Extreme science in the Arctic

Feb 25, 2015

A research team from Northwestern University was dropped by helicopter in the desolate wilderness of Greenland with four weeks of provisions and the goal of collecting ancient specimens preserved in Arctic lakebeds.

Recommended for you

Brief moon eclipse coming April 4

2 hours ago

A brief total eclipse of the Moon may be visible on April 4 to skywatchers in western North America, Australia and East Asia, astronomers say.

Image: The tumultuous heart of the Large Magellanic Cloud

22 hours ago

A scene of jagged fiery peaks, turbulent magma-like clouds and fiercely hot bursts of bright light. Although this may be reminiscent of a raging fire or the heart of a volcano, it actually shows a cold cosmic ...

Total lunar eclipse before dawn on April 4th

22 hours ago

An unusually brief total eclipse of the Moon will be visible before dawn this Saturday, April 4th, from western North America. The eclipse happens on Saturday evening for Australia and East Asia.

Cassini: Return to Rhea

Mar 30, 2015

After a couple of years in high-inclination orbits that limited its ability to encounter Saturn's moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft returned to Saturn's equatorial plane in March 2015.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.