A gigantic landslide shows the limit to how high mountains can grow

Geologist Jérome Lavé has uncovered evidence suggesting that a massive landslide in the late 12th century caused a mountain in the Himalayas to lose around 500 meters in height. If Lavé is correct, this would be one of the largest landslides ever recorded, displacing an estimated 27 cubic kilometers of rock. The energy released during the landslide would have been equivalent to that of six Tsar Bomba nuclear explosions. Lavé’s research challenges the dominant explanation for why mountains stop growing, which suggests that glaciers erode the peaks. He proposes that landslides could also play a role in curbing mountain growth.


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