EARTH Magazine: Sculpting the Alps

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine, 10/13/2015  --  Typically, mountains get steeper with increasing altitude. However, during the Pleistocene, a geologic epoch with extensive glaciation, the tops of some mountains, like the Alps, were scoured away. This left mountains that were steeper at a lower elevation than they were at a higher elevation.

The interaction between rivers, the rock type that makes up the mountain and rate of uplift are some of the main factors that control how steep mountains are. Recently, a scientific team studying the variation of steepness in the Alps noticed that some mountains exhibited shallow grading like what you see from glaciers, but these mountains are geographically beyond where the glaciers reached.

Read about the proposed new geologic process - fluvial prematurity - and explore the reasons behind it in the October issue of EARTH Magazine:

The printed September/October issue, and the digital October issue are now available through Explore the science behind headlines like, Toxic Gardens: The Long Legacy of Urban Lead, Source of Red Sea's Mysterious Cannon Earthquakes Revealed, and Kennewick Man Related to Modern Native Americans. And in every issue enjoy interviews with geoscientists in the "Down to EARTH" series, explore new gadgets, gizmos and media in "Geomedia," and play against other EARTH Magazine readers in the "Where on EARTH" monthly photo contest. 


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH Magazine online at: Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.


The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.