Research NewsGeophysics

Why the West Stands Tall

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Science  14 Mar 1997:
Vol. 275, Issue 5306, pp. 1564-1565
DOI: 10.1126/science.275.5306.1564

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From Denver, the “Mile-High City,” to California's Sierra Nevada, the American West stands high above sea level. For years, geologists thought that a thick, buoyant continental crust raised the West's spectacular scenery, but new geophysical surveys suggest that the forces holding up many Western mountains and plateaus come from much deeper, in Earth's mantle.