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为什么珠穆朗玛峰这么高?

Why is Mount Everest so tall? - Michele Koppes

每个春天
Every spring,
成百的冒险者梦想着攀登珠穆朗玛峰
hundreds of adventure-seekers dream of climbing Qomolangma,
也就是Mount Everest(别名)
also known as Mount Everest.
他们在山脚的大本营蹲守数月
At base camp, they hunker down for months
等待登上这高耸、致命山峰的最佳时机
waiting for the chance to scale the mountain’s lofty, lethal peak.
然而为什么人们会冒着生命危险攀登珠峰呢?
But why do people risk life and limb to climb Everest?
是因为充满挑战?
Is it the challenge?
为了风光?
The view?
为了有机会触碰蓝天?
The chance to touch the sky?
对很多人来说 是珠峰作为世界最高峰的地位吸引着他们
For many, the draw is Everest’s status as the highest mountain on Earth.
在这里需要区分一点
There’s an important distinction to make here.
事实上(夏威夷的)莫纳科历山就从山脚到顶峰来说是最高的
Mauna Kea is actually the tallest from base to summit,
但仅比海平面高8850米
but at 8850 meters above sea level,
珠峰则是地球上海拔最高的山峰
Everest has the highest altitude on the planet.
要想知道其高峰是如何形成的
To understand how this towering formation was born,
我们需要深入地壳去看一看
we have to peer deep into our planet’s crust,
大陆板块在那里碰撞
where continental plates collide.
地球的表面就像是犰狳的盔甲一样
The Earth’s surface is like an armadillo’s armor.
一块块地壳板块持续移动
Pieces of crust constantly move over,
相互重叠
under,
四处漂移
and around each other.
对于如此巨大的大陆板块而言 这种运动相对迅速
For such huge continental plates, the motion is relatively quick.
他们每年移动2至4厘米
They move two to four centimeters per year,
和指甲生长的速度差不多
about as fast as fingernails grow.
当两个板块碰撞时
When two plates collide,
一块会被挤进或挤到另一块下面
one pushes into or underneath the other, buckling at the margins,
在边缘皱缩并为了容纳多出的板块 产生的现象被称为板块的隆升
and causing what’s known as uplift to accomodate the extra crust.
这也是珠峰的来历
That’s how Everest came about.
五千万年前 地球印度板块向北漂移
50 million years ago, the Earth’s Indian Plate drifted north,
撞击较大的欧亚大陆板块
bumped into the bigger Eurasian Plate,
地壳因此皱缩 产生巨大的隆升
and the crust crumpled, creating huge uplift.
珠穆朗玛峰就位于这一活动发生的中心
Mountain Everest lies at the heart of this action,
也就是印度-亚欧碰撞区的边缘
on the edge of the Indian-Eurasian collision zone.
但使山峰形态的形成的外力不止隆升
But mountains are shaped by forces other than uplift.
随着陆地被抬高 气团同样被迫上升
As the land is pushed up, air masses are forced to rise as well.
升高的空气温度降低 使其内部的水蒸气冷凝
Rising air cools, causing any water vapor within it to condense
并形成降雨或降雪
and form rain or snow.
降水落下
As that falls, it wears down the landscape,
侵蚀地表使岩石溶解或降解
dissolving rocks or breaking them down in a process known as weathering.
也就是风化沿着山坡留下的水卷携被风化的物质
Water moving downhill carries the weathered material
腐蚀地面
and erodes the landscape,
雕刻出幽深的山谷和参差的山峰
carving out deep valleys and jagged peaks.
隆升和侵蚀间的平衡为山峦赋予了形态
This balance between uplift and erosion gives a mountain its shape.
但比一比喜马拉雅山的入云高峰
But compare the celestial peaks of the Himalayas
和阿帕拉齐亚的舒缓山峦很明显
to the comforting hills of Appalachia.
山并非都长一个样子
Clearly, all mountains are not alike.
那是因为时间也在其中起着作用
That’s because time comes into the equation, too.
当大陆板块最初碰撞时 隆升十分迅速
When continental plates first collide, uplift happens fast.
山峰一边长高一边形成陡坡
The peaks grow tall with steep slopes.
随着时间的流失 重力和水使其被磨平最终
Over time, however, gravity and water wear them down.
侵蚀的作用反超隆升
Eventually, erosion overtakes uplift,
磨平山峰的速度超出其被推高的速度
wearing down peaks faster than they’re pushed up.
第三个塑造山峦的因素是——气候
A third factor shapes mountains: climate.
当温度在零下时 一些降雪并不完全融化
In subzero temperatures, some snowfall doesn’t completely melt away,
而是逐渐变得紧密
instead slowly compacting until it becomes ice.
直至成为冰这使雪线得以形成 地球上各处的雪线高度有所不同
That forms the snowline, which occurs at different heights around the planet
是依据气候所致的
depending on climate.
在寒冷的极地 雪线位于海平面
At the freezing poles, the snowline is at sea level.
在赤道附近 你不得不攀爬五千米才达到
Near the equator, you have to climb five kilometers before it gets cold enough
冷到足以形成冰的高度
for ice to form.
聚集起来的冰在因其巨大的质量开始流动
Gathered ice starts flowing under its own immense weight
形成一种缓慢移动的冻流
forming a slow-moving frozen river known as a glacier,
也就是冰川冰川打磨其下的岩石
which grinds the rocks below.
山越陡峭 冰移动的速度就越快
The steeper the mountains, the faster ice flows,
冰雕磨下面岩石的速度就越快
and the quicker it carves the underlying rock.
冰川能够比降雨和河流更快地侵蚀地表
Glaciers can erode landscapes swifter than rain and rivers.
冰川紧附山峰之处 沙土流失得很快
Where glaciers cling to mountain peaks, they sand them down so fast,
冰川就像一把巨大的冰雪锯子
they lop the tops off like giant snowy buzzsaws.
切断山顶那么 寒冷的珠峰是如何长这么高的呢?
So then, how did the icy Mount Everest come to be so tall?
灾难性的板块冲撞使其上升
The cataclysmic continental clash from which it arose
让它在最初十分巨大其次
made it huge to begin with.
这座山位于热带附近
Secondly, the mountain lies near the tropics,
所以雪线较高 且冰川相对较小
so the snowline is high, and the glaciers relatively small,
不太可能大到把它冲下来
barely big enough to widdle it down.
这座山所在之处的具有的自然条件
The mountain exists in a perfect storm of conditions
对于保持其骄人外形而言堪称完美
that maintain its impressive stature.
不过事情不总是这样
But that won’t always be the case.
我们处在一个不断变化的世界
We live in a changing world where the continental plates,
大陆板块地球的气候
Earth’s climate,
以及侵蚀能力
and the planet’s erosive power
也许会在某一刻共同将珠峰削低
might one day conspire to cut Mount Everest down to size.
至少在现在 它对于登山者、
For now, at least, it remains legendary in the minds of hikers,
冒险家、和梦想家而言
adventurers,
仍然是一个传奇
and dreamers alike.

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视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uy9GFAOGGXU

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