Monday, March 28, 2011

The Story of Creation (5) - Tectonic Plates, Mountains Formation, Orogens, Subduction & Mountains Roots..


1.    Tectonic Plates and Mountains Formation
2.    Mountains to reduce Plates’ motion:
3.    Orogeny (mountains origin):
4.    Mountains roots
5.    Sub-duction of Earth Crust:
6.    Mountains and Rain Cycle
7.    Mountains Rising from below

In the following sections, we will discover more spectacular signs of Mountains creation as described by Almighty God ALLAH in his Holy book Al-Quran.

1.    Tectonic Plates and Mountains Formation


Quoted from Wikipedia - Plates Tectonics:

[The lithosphere is broken up into what are called "tectonic plates". In the case of the Earth, there are currently seven to eight major (depending on how they are defined) and many minor plates. The lithospheric plates ride on the asthenosphere. These plates move in relation to one another at one of three types of plate boundaries: convergent, or collisional boundaries; divergent boundaries, also called spreading centers; and conservative transform boundaries. Earthquakes, volcanic activity, mountain-building, and oceanic trench formation occur along these plate boundaries. The lateral relative movement of the plates varies, though it is typically 0–100 mm annually] The Tectonic plates of Earth are shown in the below figure:] [1]

Quoted from Wikipedia – Mountains Building

When plates collide or undergo subduction (that is ride one over another), the plates tend to buckle and fold, forming mountains. Most of the major continental mountain ranges are associated with thrusting and folding or orogenesis. Examples are the Jura and the Zagros mountains.

When a fault block is raised or tilted, block mountains can result. Higher blocks are called horsts and troughs are called grabens. A spreading apart of the surface causes tensional forces. When the tensional forces are strong enough to cause a plate to split apart, it will do so such that a center block will drop down relative to its flanking blocks.

An example is the Sierra Nevada Range, where delamination created a block 650 km long and 80 km wide that consists of many individual portions tipped gently west, with east facing slips rising abruptly to produce the highest mountain front in the continental United States.[2]

Quoted from: Continental Convergence, Subduction:

[The Himalayan mountain range dramatically demonstrates one of the most visible and spectacular consequences of plate tectonics. When two continents meet head-on, neither is subducted because the continental rocks are relatively light and, like two colliding icebergs, resist downward motion. Instead, the crust tends to buckle and be pushed upward or sideways.] [3]


1- Shaking, Neighboring Plates in Earth:

Having neighboring plates inside Earth is written very clearly in the following verse:

وفي الارض قطع متجاورات [الرعد 12: 50]
“And in the Earth are neighboring tracts (Ketta’, parts)

2- Mountains to reduce Plates’ motion:

It’s stated that ALLAH had created Mountains to reduce “Land” motion and not to keep it shaking, as in the following verse:

خلق السماوات بغير عمد ترونها والقى في الارض رواسي ان تميد بكم وبث فيها من كل دابة وانزلنا من السماء ماء فانبتنا فيها من كل زوج كريم (10:31) 

He has created the heavens without any pillars, that you see and has set on the earth firm mountains, lest it should shake with you. And He has scattered therein moving (living) creatures of all kinds. And We send down water (rain) from the sky, and We cause (plants) of every goodly kind to grow therein. [31:10]

Important Note:

As we mentioned in Story of Creation part (1), mentioning “Sky” in any Quran verses, it can mean anything in our universe, and it’s the same thing here while mentioning “Land” it can be mean anything inside Earth, including the Tectonic Plates.

Some may get confused about how the mountains were to hold Earth from shaking and it always surrounded by earthquake belts all around the Globe?

Some may use such apparent contradiction to attack Quran and say it’s not God’s word, but this because of their misunderstanding to scientific facts or the interpretation of the Holy Quran that is more intelligent and more perfect than the level that they can think about.

The Quran is talking about Mountains reducing the motion of Earth plates and without this reduction, the Earth quakes may appear more frequently and much more damaging that can destroy everything on Earth surface, although few strong earthquakes may pass but only by ALLAH's permission, if he wants to punish any of his creation or to remind them about his signs.

2.    Orogeny (mountains origin):

Quoted from Wikipedia - Orogeny

Orogeny refers to forces and events leading to a severe structural deformation of the Earth's crust due to the engagement of tectonic plates. Response to such engagement results in the formation of long tracts of highly deformed rock called orogens or orogenic belts

The word "orogeny" comes from the Greek (oros for "mountain" plus genesis for "creation" or "origin"), and it is the primary mechanism by which mountains are built on continents. Orogens develop while a continental plate is crumpled and thickened to form mountain ranges, and involve a great range of geological processes collectively called orogenesis.
Formation of an orogen is accomplished in part by the tectonic processes of subduction, where a continent rides forcefully over an oceanic plate (noncollisional orogens), or convergence of two or more continents (collisional orogens).

Orogeny usually produces long arcuate (from arcuare, to bend like a bow) structures, known as orogenic belts. Generally, orogenic belts consist of long parallel strips of rock exhibiting similar characteristics along the length of the belt. Orogenic belts are associated with subduction zones, which consume crust, produce volcanoes, and build island arcs. The arcuate structure is attributed to the rigidity of the descending plate, and island arc cusps are related to tears in the descending lithosphere. These island arcs may be added to a continent during an orogenic event.

Frequently, rock formations that undergo orogeny are severely deformed and undergo metamorphism. During orogeny, deeply buried rocks may be pushed to the surface. Sea bottom and near shore material may cover some or all of the orogenic area. If the orogeny is due to two continents colliding, the resulting mountains can be very high. [4]


والقى في الارض رواسي ان تميد بكم وانهارا وسبلا لعلكم تهتدون(16:15) 

And He hath cast into the earth firm hills (Rawasi) that it quake not with you, and streams and roads that ye may find a way. [15:16]

وجعل فيها رواسي من فوقها وبارك فيها وقدر فيها اقواتها في اربعة ايام سواء للسائلين (10:41) 

He placed therein (i.e. the earth) firm mountains from above it, and He blessed it, and measured therein its sustenance (for its dwellers) in four Days equal (i.e. all these four 'days' were equal in the length of time), for all those who ask (about its creation). [41:10]

Orogeny heavy weight and being thrown from above and NOT from beneath:

In the same verses mentioned above, there are 2 characteristics related to Mountains origin or what is called “Orogen”. It’s mentioned by ALLAH that he threw "cast" the mountains from above which corrects the scientific theory that assumed "Orogens" were formed inside Earth core and then float to its surface and start pushing it to bend the crust.

Quranic explanation states clearly that Orogen was created from above and thrown by ALLAH on Earth surface and this what caused later to bend the plates and then start Mountains formation.

Using the word “Rawasi” which means literally the plural of “anchors”, and this indicate the heavy weight of Orogen, created of granite which is the heaviest and most solid rock.

3- Mountains roots

It’s mentioned in Quran, describing the creation of mountains as “pegs”, in the following verse:

والجبال اوتادا (78:7)
And the mountains as pegs [7:78]

The pegs which are used to hold something like a tent to the ground are shown in the below figure, and we notice how most of peg length is buried under ground surface, and it’s exactly the same case for mountains, where their roots can be 2 or 3 times of their heights over surface as shown in the next figure:

4- Subduction of Earth Crust:


In geology, subduction is the process that takes place at convergent boundaries by which one tectonic plate moves under another tectonic plate, sinking into the Earth's mantle, as the plates converge. [5]


ALLAH says about Earth creation in Quran, the following miraculous verse:

والارض وما طحاها  ( 91: 6)
By the earth and Him Who stretched it forth (Tahaha), (91:6)

The word which is translated “as stretched it forth” is “Tahaha”, and of its meaning is to be pushed or expanded especially into Earth, as pushing someone into ground:

القومُ يَطْحَى بعضُهم بعضاً أَي يَدفَع. ويقال: ما أَدْرِي أَينَ طَحَا، من طَحَا الرجلُ إذا ذهب في الأرضِ.

This meaning fit to the “subduction” of Ocean plate under continental plate as shown in the above figure, which is done by God command only.

5- Mountains and Rain Cycle


Quoted from - The Impact of Mountains:

[Volcanic eruptions are among the most dramatic effects produced by mountains, but they are far from the only ones. Every bit as fascinating are the effects mountains produce on the weather, on the evolution of species, and on human society. In each case, mountains serve as a barrier or separator—between masses of air, clouds, and populations.

Wind pushes air and moisture-filled clouds up mountain slopes, and as the altitude increases, the pressure decreases. As a result, masses of warm, moist air become larger, cooler, and less dense. This phenomenon is known as adiabatic expansion, and it is the same thing that happens when an aerosol can is shaken, reducing the pressure of gases inside and cooling the surface of the can. Under the relatively high-pressure and high-temperature conditions of the flatlands, water exists as a gas, but in the heights of the mountaintops, it cools and condenses, forming clouds]. [6]


ALLAH says in Quran about Mountains creation:

وجعلنا فيها رواسي شامخات واسقيناكم ماء فراتا (77 : 27)
And placed therein high mountains (Shamekhat) and given you to drink sweet water therein? [77:27]

Of the meanings of “Shamekh” is high into sky and also it comes as “Breaker” as shown in the below meanings:

ويقال: إِنه لَمُكْمَحٌ ومُكْبَحٌ أَي شامخ. وقد أُكْبِحَ وأُكْمِحَ إِذا كان كذلك. والباذخُ والشامخُ: الجبل الطويل، صفة غالبة، والجمع البَواذخُ.

And being breaker for the clouds is causing the rain as mentioned in the scientific part, and what is called by science as Separator or barrier, it’s mentioned in Quran as “Breaker” which is more specific than previous words, where it breaks the speed of clouds and cause them to drain their carried water. And notice the second verse immediately, talking about the sweet water (rain water) linking the mountains with rain cycle too.

Important Note

This also proves that creation of mountains must be before the appearance of water on Earth, as we described in part 3, and all theories that show water before continents appearance and mountains are totally wrong, since the water cycle needs mountains otherwise the water will stay still in the oceans and there is no cycle for billions of years waiting the mountains to raise first. And during all this period, the water will be contaminated for such long period.

6- Mountains Rising from below

It’s known that mountains are raised from below as shown in the following animated figure:

It’s written in Quran as question to unbelievers to see how the mountains were set up, the word used is (Nousebat):
والى الجبال كيف نصبت (88 :19)
And the hills, how they are set up (Nousebat) ?

And the word “nousebat” means as shown below to raise something from down to above or to higher place:
النَّصْبُ رَفْعُك شيئاً تَنْصِـبُه قائماً مُنْتَصِـباً، والكلمةُ الـمَنْصوبةُ يُرْفَعُ صَوْتُها إِلى الغار الأَعْلى، وكلُّ شيءٍ انْتَصَبَ بشيءٍ فقد نَصَبَهُ. الجوهري: النَّصْبُ مصدر نَصَبْتُ الشيءَ إِذا أَقَمته. وصَفِـيحٌ مُنَصَّبٌ أَي نُصِبَ بعضُه على بعض.

This exactly the process done for mountains as being raised during billions of years till they gained their current heights.

Thanks to ALLAH, Lord of the Worlds


[1] Wikipedia, Plates Tectonics,

[2] Wikipedia, Mountain Formation,

[3] Chapter 13: Evolution of Continents and Oceans,

[4] Wikipedia, Orogeny,

[5] Wikipedia, Subduction,

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