Lunar vs Earth Mountains
Country: United States
Date: October 2006
If the moon and Earth were formed about the same
time, why are the mountains on the moon so smooth compared to the
mountain peaks of the earth?
Colliding plates and volcanic activity are constantly building new,
sharp mountains on earth. The earth is tectonically active.
On the moon, there is none of this activity (the moon is too small) and
most of the mountains are very old. There are also old mountain ranges
on Earth that are pretty smooth as well. The Appalachian Mountains and
Ural Mountains are good examples.
Actually, there are mountain peaks on the moon that are comparable to
those of the Earth. However, you are right in assuming that there is a
difference between the histories of the Earth and the Moon. Since the
moon does not have any seismic activity (no quakes or volcanoes) and no
weathering effects (no wind or surf), the Moon is shaped by asteroid or
comet impacts. On Earth, these impacts are not as severe since most
asteroids vaporize before they can make impact with the surface. And
since the Earth does have volcanic and tectonic activity, mountains are
shaped by these geological factors.
Greg (Roberto Gregorius)
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