Ever wonder why the world has mountains? Where do those things come from? Ask most school kids and they will tell you about plate tectonics – the continents are moving, they bump into each other, mountains are the wreckage from continental collisions. But just fifty years ago, geologists were still thinking mountains are the result of a shrinking Earth. Or an expanding Earth. Or they would have mentioned some complicated system of deep trenches, heat, pressure, and – look out – mountains come springing up. That was 50 years ago.
The idea of mountains puzzled me, too. When I discovered that the science of mountains is about as old as I am, I thought I’d read up on the people who figured out continental drift and plate tectonics. It turned out to be so interesting that I gathered up everything I could find (about thirty books and a thousand scientific papers) and I wrote a book about the people who figured the whole thing out. The book, The Mountain Mystery, is a “people book,” not a science book, though you will accidentally learn a bit about the nature of science along the way. I’d like you to read it, then send me your thoughts about the story.
If you are among my many friends who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, I’d especially like to hear from you after you have read this book. But be forewarned – I have been a geophysicist and a scientist too many years and the system has corrupted me into seeing the world as over four billion years in age. But science is an open book and I would change my mind in a flash with evidence to the contrary. If you are among the folks who don’t think continents can move, you might not be aware that over 2,000 GPS monitors are stuck like pins into our planet and are tracking the Earth’s movements in real-time, even as you read these words. The continents are moving. Finally, if you are among my many, many friends who are fascinated by everything in science and nature, but don’t know anything about geology or earth sciences, then this book is absolutely for you. You can buy The Mountain Mystery from Amazon – it went on sale earlier this week. By the way, honey bees make a cameo appearance near the end of the book, but this is not a beekeeping book.