Watch a surprisingly stirring short film about mountains

We don't usually think of mountains as having life spans, but these colossal geologic entities live and die in cycles like countless other forms of matter (albeit on much larger time scales). The Weight of Mountains is a short film by Temujin Doran that explores this process through stunning geophysical imagery.


Via Doran:

This is a short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. It is based upon the work of British geographer L. Dudley Stamp, and was shot in Iceland.

Physical geography and geology is an enormous and fascinating subject, and this film only touches upon the surface of the discipline. For those who wish to further advance their knowledge in this field, additional reading and research is recommended.


In watching this, I'm reminded of a quote from legendary essayist and author John McPhee who, in searching for the words to summarize his 4-volume opus on geology, settled on the following: "If by some fiat I had to restrict all this writing to one sentence, this is the one I would choose: The summit of Mt. Everest is marine limestone. "

More from Doran here.

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Can somebody with an education please explain something to me? With so many forces eroding the landscape in such a way that a mountain can fall into the sea, how is a mountain born in the first place? Is the erosion at the intersection of two plates less than a half an inch a year, so that the growth outpaces the erosion? And if so, why does the erosion eventually overtake the growth?