All About Nanga Parbat

Locals call Nanga Parbat by the name, Diamer, and this is one of the highest mountains in the world.

Nanga Parbat comes from Sanskrit meaning “Naked Mountain,” while Diamer is the Tibetan name that means “huge mountain.”

Why Is It Famous?

Nanga Parbat’s main claim to fame is its status as the ninth highest mountain in the world. It sits 8,126 meters (26,660 feet) above sea level. This mountain also has a reputation for being very challenging to climb, even to the point where it is called “Killer Mountain.”  Nanga Parbat is also famous for being one of the world’s most prominent peaks, and it is one of the two peaks in the world that is both on that list and that of the highest mountains.  

What’s Nearby?

Nanga Parbat serves as the Himalayas’ western anchor. It sits in Pakistan’s Gilgit Baltistan region, specifically the Diamer District. The Indus River is just to the north, while the Karakoram range’s western end is further north.

Geological Description

Nanga Parbat has a very high level of vertical relief over the area’s terrain in every direction. The southern Rupal Face sits 4,600 meters higher than its base, earning it the designation of the highest mountain face. The northern Rakhiot Flank sits 7,000 meters high, rising from the valley of the Indus River. This rise is over 25 kilometers, making it among the quickest gains in elevation in the world.

The mountain features a long ridge that trends southwest-northeast and is the core of the geological structure. This ridge is made of rock and ice. There are three faces, Rupal, Rakhiot, and Diamir. Mazeno Wall, the southwestern part of the mountain’s main ridge, has its own subsidiary peaks.

Events in Time

The nickname, “Killer Mountain,” came to Nanga Parbat because of the large number of mountaineering deaths during the early and mid-20th century.

In Conclusion

Nanga Parbat is among the highest mountains in the world as well as one of the most prominent with incredibly sharp rises.

All About Annapurna

Annapurna, or the Annapurna Massif, is a massif within the Himalayas. It is also one of the highest mountains in the world.

Why Is It Famous?

The massif is famous for its elevation. It stands 8,091 meters above sea level, making it the 10th highest mountain in the world. Historically, this massif’s peaks are some of the most dangerous to climb in the world.

In recent years, however, Kangchenjunga surpassed Annapurna’s fatality rate.

What’s Nearby?

Annapurna is in north-central Nepal. The western edge of the massif is the Kali Gandaki Gorge while to the east and north is the Marshyangdi River, and the south is the Pokhara Valley. The western end of Annapurna has the Annapurna Sanctuary, a high basin.

Geological Description

The Annapurna Massif includes multiple peaks, with the highest one earning it the reputation as one of the highest mountains in the world. In addition to the 8,091-meter peak, it has 13 peaks that are taller than 7,000 meters and 16 that are over 6,000 meters. The entire massif spans 55 kilometers in length. The tallest point of the massif is called Annapurna I Main.

The massif and its surrounding area make up the Annapurna Conservation Area, which is Nepal’s first and biggest conservation area. The summit of Annapurna features limestone rocks that were formed in a warm ocean. This is a reminder of how the mountains came to be.

Events in Time

Annapurna I Main was the first mountain over 8,000 meters to be climbed successfully, with a French expedition making it to the summit in 1950. Annapurna is also the only 8,000-meter mountain that was climbed successfully on the first try. The climbers of that first expedition even made it without any bottled oxygen, although they did require toe amputations afterward due to frostbite and gangrene.

In Conclusion

Annapurna is a massif that includes Annapurna I Main, one of the highest and deadliest mountains in the world.

All About Broad Peak

Broad Peak, also known as Falchan Kangri, is one of the world’s tallest mountains.

Why Is It Famous?

Broad Peak is famous because of its elevation. At 8,051 meters higher than sea level, it is the 12th highest mountain found in the world.

What’s Nearby?

Broad Peak is in Gilgit-Baltistan, located in Pakistan and Xinjiang, China. It is within the Gasherbrum massif and part of the Karakoram mountain range. Broad Peak sits about 8 kilometers from K2. The mountain sits between K2 and the Gasherbrum IV, on the Baltoro glacier’s western portion.

Geological Description

The summit of Broad Peak is more than 1.5 kilometers long, which led to its name. In addition to Broad Peak, the mountain also has other summits, including Rocky Summit, Broad Peak Central, Broad Peak North, and Kharut Kangri.

The length of the peak has led to some arguments as to whether Broad Peak has one or two summits. Many feel the mountain’s central peak is not separate, while the other side points out the difference in snow as evidence. Global warming is a concern for the height of Broad Peak as the snow on its true summit melts, which could cause the fore summit to become higher than it is.

Events in Time

The name Broad Peak came from Martin Conway, a British explorer, in 1892. It referred to the Breithorn mountain in the Alps.

Broad Peak’s first ascent was in June 1957 by an Austrian expedition. That expedition included a first attempt reaching 8,030 meters at the forepeak. It also included a flash first ascent for Skil Brum peak. More summits occurred over the years, including some deaths. The first ascent by a woman on the mountain occurred in 1983. The youngest person to summit was Shehroze Kashif in July 2019. He is also the youngest Pakistani who has climbed to this altitude.

In Conclusion

Broad Peak is one of the world’s highest mountains and is part of the Gasherbrum massif, where you can find many of the tallest mountains in the world.

All About Gasherbrum I

Gasherbrum I also goes by K5 or Hidden Peak.

This is the 11th highest mountain and has a prominence of 2,155 meters. Gasherbrum I sits within the Gasherbrum Massif. Some claim that Gasherbrum translates to “Shining Wall,” although it is actually from the Balti for “beautiful mountain.”

Why Is It Famous?

This mountain is famous for its elevation of 8,080 meters, which makes it the 11th highest mountain anywhere in the world.

What’s Nearby?

Gasherbrum I sits along the border between China and Pakistan, within China’s Xinjiang region. The massif that it is part of is within the Himalaya’s Karakoram region.

Geological Description

The Gasherbrum Massif that Gasherbrum I is part of includes remote high peaks by the Baltoro glacier’s northeast end. The group in the massif creates a semi-circle surrounding the South Gasherbrum Glacier.

Most of the geological knowledge about the Gasherbrum Massif comes from a combination of direct observation and deductions based on the morainic blocks that the flowing glaciers transport. There is a large limestone mass connecting Gasherbrum I with Gasherbrum IV.

Events in Time

When T.G. Montgomerie saw the Karakoram peaks in 1856, he assigned Gasherbrum I the name K5. The name, Hidden Peak, came from William Martin Conway in 1892 due to its remote location.

The first successful climb of Gasherbrum I was in July 1958 by an eight-man American expedition. Before this, an international expedition had explored it, along with Gasherbrum II, in 1934 and a French expedition had reached 6,900 meters in 1936. Other successful ascents continued throughout the years, with the first winter ascent in 2012.

In 1975, Gasherbrum I was also the first 8,000-meter climb completed with the pure Alpine style, meaning climbing from the bottom with all gear, with no supplemental oxygen and no planned route.

In Conclusion

Gasherbrum I is the 11th highest mountain in the world and part of the Gasherbrum Massif on the Chinese-Pakistani border.

All About Gasherbrum II

Gasherbrum II, also known as K4, is one of the world’s highest mountains.

Why Is It Famous?

Gasherbrum II is 8,035 meters higher than sea level, making it the 13th highest mountain in the world. It is also the Gasherbrum massif’s third-highest peak.

What’s Nearby?

As part of the Gasherbrum massif, Gasherbrum II is in the Karakoram Mountains in the Himalayas. It sits on the border separating Xinjiang, China from the Gilgit-Baltistan province of Pakistan.

Geological Description

Gasherbrum II is part of the Himalayas’ Karakoram mountain range. The Baltoro Glacier sits below it. Some consider Gasherbrum III as a Gasherbrum II sub-peak due to its topographic prominence that is just 461 meters. Provided that weather is nice, climbers who take the normal route tend to have a reasonable success rate due to the accessibility of the mountain. It is the “easiest” of the peaks over 8,000 meters in the Karakoram, but it is still reserved for experienced climbers.

Events in Time

Thomas George Montgomerie designated Gasherbrum II as K4 in 1856 during his Great Trigonometric Survey. This indicated that it was the fourth mountain in the Karakoram. Gasherbrum and combines Balti words to mean “beautiful mountain.”

In 1909, the Duke of Abruzzi explored the Gasherbrum mountains along with Vittorio Sella. An international Himalayan expedition explored it further in 1934, making it up 6,250 meters of Gasherbrum II.

An Austrian expedition first climbed the mountain in July 1956. That team overcame their camp and supplies got buried in an avalanche. More teams have reached the summit of Gasherbrum II over the years. In 2011, the first team reached the summit in winter despite a class-four avalanche burying them.

In Conclusion

Gasherbrum II is a popular summit for climbers to attempt to ascend as it is among the easier 8,000-meter mountains. It is still sufficiently challenging to make it hard for geologists to explore.

All About Shishapangma

Shishapangma is also known as Gosainthan and is the world’s 14th highest mountain.

Why Is It Famous?

Rising 8,027 meters above sea level, Shishapangma is famous due to its status as one of the highest mountains in the world.

It was the most recent of the 8,000-meter peaks to have its first successful ascent due to the travel restrictions in the area from the Tibet Autonomous Region and the Government of China.

What’s Nearby?

This mountain is part of the Jugal/Langtang Himal Range in the Himalayas. It is entirely within Tibet, China, specifically the Nyalam County. The mountain is five kilometers from the Tibetan border with Nepal in south-central Tibet.

Geological Description

The name, Shishapangma, refers to the fact that the mountain is a crest sitting above grassy plains, in the Tibetan dialect of locals.

The mountain is the highest Jugal Himal peak. This Jugal/Langtang Himal sits along the border of Nepal and Tibet. Shishapangma sits on the northern dry side of the Himalayan crest, making it further from Nepal’s lower terrain. This leads to a vertical relief that is less dramatic than most in the Himalayas. A subsidiary peak also reaches above 8,000 meters. Central-Peak is 8,008 meters high.

The northwest face features the Northern Route of ascent, which lets you travel in a vehicle up to 5,000 meters. The southwest face is steeper and includes 2,200 meters of the rise along a 50-degree slope.

Events in Time

There are multiple ascents of Shishapangma that are still in dispute, with some claiming to reach the summit but only reaching the lower central summit, which would be about two hours lower. The first recorded full ascent was in May 1964. Records indicate that climbing Shishapangma has taken the lives of 31 people. Even so, many consider it to be one of the easier 8,000-meter mountains to climb.

In Conclusion

Shishapangma is one of the highest mountains in the world, and it is in Tibet.

All About the Ice Age Flood Trail – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho

The last Ice Age ended somewhere between 12,000 and 17,000 years ago and went out with a series of catastrophic floods that permanently marked much of the northwest United States.

Its effects were particularly dramatic in parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, known as the Ice Age Flood Trail.

Why Is It Famous?

The unique landscape and large expanse of mountains and canyons have led to the area’s fame. Some scientists believe more than 40 floods occurred to create the dramatic topography.

What’s Nearby?

The Ice Age Floods National Geologic Trail is a network of routes that extend across parts of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington. There are several centers for interpretation and study scattered across the trail.

Geological Description

The trail for touring is still in development. It will include routes throughout the Pacific Northwest where the Ice Age Floods had the largest impact.

The Glacial Lake Missoula in Montana is included. Both the Clark Fork River and Lake Coeur d’Alene of Idaho are included as waters flooded there periodically. Several areas along the Waterville Plateau in Washington State will be included as well.

Flood erosion features such as Crab Creek, Drumheller Channels, Channeled Scablands, and Corfu Slide in Washington State will also be part of the Ice Age Floods National Geological Trail. Land features you can expect to see are mountainous regions with valleys, shelves, and dry falls.

Events in Time

A piece of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet moved from Canada to the Idaho panhandle region during the last Ice Age known as the Wisconsonian Ice Age around 100,000 years ago. This created the Glacial Lake Missoula Floods.

The Missoula Floods happened periodically when the ice dam broke and released waters across Eastern Washington and Idaho, down to the Columbia River Gorge. This happened about 40 times for 2,000 years. These waters traveled as fast as 60 mph, draining the lake in just two days at times.

In Conclusion

The topography is dramatic due to a natural disaster thousands of years ago. Today, it will be marked as the first geological trail in America. It is set up for studying and interpreting the Glacial Lake Missoula Floods.

Zhangye Danxia, China

Introduction

The Zhangye Danxia, China is known for its gorgeous rainbow mountains, offering the perfect backdrop for photos.

Why Is It Famous?

The Zhangye Danxia is famous for its gorgeous and unique appearance. To the casual observer, it almost appears to be mountains painted various colors.

What’s Nearby?

The landforms are within the Gansu Province of China. Visit Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park in the Qilian Mountains.

Geological Description

This unique formation of land is the result of red sandstone deposited in strips millions of years ago. The area that most visitors are most interested in spans around 50 square kilometers. As you explore the landmark, you will notice red cliffs standing several hundred meters tall, as well as ridges with weathered strata in multiple colors. The formations can be sharp or smooth.

The colorful layers come from the geological history of the area, starting when it was an ocean 540 million years ago. Tectonic plates collided and caused the land to fold into mountains. Rivers formed within this area, depositing the red sandstone in the process. Then, the ground sank to create a basin and mudstone got set on top. The layers continued in different areas, with the varying colors caused by varying quantities of ferrous salt. The area was lifted higher above sea level as the Himalayas moved, with rivers forming and creating gorges.

As you admire the Zhangye Danxia, remember that each layer is the result of thousands of years of geological formation.

Events in Time

Geologists have studied the area’s unique landforms for years, working to understand how it formed. Various media outlets in China declared the Zhangye Danxia National Park among the country’s most beautiful landforms in 2005 and 2009.

In Conclusion

Zhangye Danxia in China offers a truly unique landform with colorful stripes on mountains, formed over millions of years due to the area’s unique history. Each stripe represents a different deposit, with a unique combination of colors, shapes, textures, and patterns.

Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

Introduction

Ha Long Bay in Vietnam features numerous limestone pillars, caves, and arches, thanks to changes to the sea and erosion over the years.

Legend says that dragons built these rocks and islands as a way to keep out invaders. In fact, the name “Ha Long” translates to “descending dragon.”

Why Is It Famous?

The unique appearance of Ha Long Bay and its islands has led to its fame. The formations seem like something out of a movie, instead of something created by nature. From a geological perspective, the existence of the bay’s karst formations on the water is unique, attracting a great deal of attention.

What’s Nearby?

Ha Long Bay is in the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam’s Quang Ninh Province. The area includes more than 1,600 islands and islets, most of which are uninhabited, offering preservation. The closest city is Hanoi, which is 103 miles away.

Geological Description

Ha Long Bay includes an unusual karst landscape, something unique as most karst formations occur on land instead of water. You will find 1,960 to 2,000 limestone islets and islands across the over 1,500 square kilometers of space in the bay.

The bay’s limestone is the result of 500 million years of formation throughout a range of environments. These include changes to the sea level and the geological effects those variations bring. The main karst formation of the bay is the result of 20 million years.

Like the areas next to it, Ha Long Bay has Sino-Vietnamese composite terrain that began forming during the pre-Cambrian time. This included the separation of terrigenous, cherty-carbonate, and volcanogenic sediments in the Phanerozoic period.

Events in Time

The Bay has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994. Experts have conducted historical research surveys and determined prehistoric people lived in Ha Long Bay tens of thousands of years in the past.

In Conclusion

Geologists find the unique karst landscape of Ha Long Bay appealing as this is unlike most environments where you can find karst. The landscape is the result of millions of years of formation and erosion due to the presence of the sea.

Moeraki Boulders, New Zealand

Introduction

The Moeraki Boulders in New Zealand are eye-catching, spherical boulders that look similar to large turtle shells or balls made of rock.

Why Is It Famous?

The Moeraki Boulders are famous because of their unique appearance as they are spherical and sizable. Maori legends say the boulders are eel baskets and gourds that washed ashore when a sailing canoe wrecked.

What’s Nearby?

The boulders are on the Koekohe Beach in New Zealand. You can find this location along the Otago coast.

Geological Description

Formation of the Moeraki Boulders began 60 million years ago when sediments formed on the seafloor. Carbonates accumulated around the core of the sediments. Estimates indicate that some of the biggest boulders required four million years to reach their current size. The largest boulders are more than two meters wide and weigh multiple tons.

The boulders formed in concretions that were on the coastal cliffs. As the shoreline eroded, the cliffs and the boulders slowly appeared along that shore. Geologists have found other similar boulders in the mudstone that will also eventually loosen by erosion and fall on the beach.

Geologists have studied the content of the boulders in great detail, determining that they contain clay, fine silt, and mud. Calcite bonded these elements together with varying degrees of cementation. Each boulder also has an outer ring of calcite. Most boulders feature septaria, or large cracks radiating outward.

There are similar formations in the Hokianga Harbour in the North Island of New Zealand.

Events in Time

A famous sketch of the beach and its boulders in 1848 was completed by W.B.D. Mantell and features more boulders than the beach holds today. You can also find numerous reports and sketches of the boulders from the 1850s.

In Conclusion

The Moeraki Boulders are unique for their spherical shape and prevalence along the beach. They were created via sediment accumulation over millions of years before a receding shoreline exposed them.