News Picks : Cold weather erodes mountains

By: Physics Today
19 December 2013
Science: Whether erosion of rock and soil from Earth’s surface is driven by tectonic activity or by climate has long been debated. In a recent study published in Nature, Frédéric Herman of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland and colleagues used thermochronometry to measure how the temperature of Earth’s rock has changed over time and compare it with how fast Earth’s surface has eroded. They found that while erosion rates have increased since about 6 million years ago, they have increased dramatically since about 2 million years ago, after the onset of the most recent ice age. The researchers attribute the accelerated erosion to glacial processes and add that if Earth’s climate continues to cool as it has over the past few million years, the erosion rate will likely continue to increase. However, should temperatures cease to cool—whether by natural climate variations or global warming—sediment accumulations could increase.


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Scitation: News Picks: Cold weather erodes mountains