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Mountain Building

Mountain ranges are built by continent-continent convergence, subduction of an oceanic plate, and continental rifting.

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Which is the Tallest Mountain?

Which is the Tallest Mountain?

License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Mt McKinley in Alaska may be the tallest mountain on Earth. But didn’t you learn that Earth’s tallest mountain is Mount Everest? It turns out that the question of tallness is a difficult question to answer.

Why Isn’t Mount Everest the Tallest Mountain?

It’s true that Mount Everest rises the highest above sea level at 29,029 feet (8848 m). But that’s only if you measure tallness as height above sea level. Could tallness be measured in other ways? There is a case to be made for at least two other mountains being the tallest. And that’s just on Earth. What’s the tallest mountain in the solar system? The answer to that question is a big surprise.

Credit: USGS
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Kea_Summit_in_Winter.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii standing at 13,796' elevation [Figure2]

Explore More

With the links below, learn more about which mountain may be the tallest. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Why could Mount McKinley in Alaska be called the tallest mountain on Earth?
  2. Why is Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii called the tallest mountain?
  3. Why isn’t Mount Everest the tallest mountain when measured from the center of the Earth? Which mountain is the tallest from the center?
  4. How large is the largest known mountain the solar system and where is it?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: USGS; Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Kea_Summit_in_Winter.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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