Review

Rise of the Andes

Science  06 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5881, pp. 1304-1307
DOI: 10.1126/science.1148615

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Abstract

The surface uplift of mountain belts is generally assumed to reflect progressive shortening and crustal thickening, leading to their gradual rise. Recent studies of the Andes indicate that their elevation remained relatively stable for long periods (tens of millions of years), separated by rapid (1 to 4 million years) changes of 1.5 kilometers or more. Periodic punctuated surface uplift of mountain belts probably reflects the rapid removal of unstable, dense lower lithosphere after long-term thickening of the crust and lithospheric mantle.

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