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.

All About The Ohio River

Introduction

The Ohio River flows through and along the borders of six states in the United States before the mouth at the Mississippi River in Cairo, Illinois.

It’s the second largest river by discharge volume in the entire country, and it’s the largest tributary to the “Mighty Mississippi.”

Why is it famous?

When the Laurentide Ice Sheet dammed off the Teays River that was flowing north during the Illinoian glaciation, the area for drainage that the Teays used to follow was blocked off. As a result, the Ohio River was formed draining to the south somewhere between 2.5 and 3 million years ago.

Many Native American tribes formed along the Ohio River, and they used it for thousands of years as a trading route and method of transportation. The Europeans didn’t discover the river until the later part of the 17th century.

What’s nearby?                                  

There are plenty of famous sights and travel destinations scattered along the 979 miles of the Ohio River. The city of Pittsburgh and Point State Park are two places to see the river in Pennsylvania. Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky, and Forked Run State Park in Ohio are also notable places where the Ohio River makes part of its journey.

Geological description

It’s the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers found at Point State Park in Pennsylvania that starts the headwaters of the Ohio River. The stream flows northwest through two counties before a bend changes the direction to south-southwest. Then, the Ohio River continues through West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania’s triple-state boarder.

Upstream from Wheeling, West Virginia, the river also creates a border between West Virginia and Ohio. Going through Cincinnati in a southwest and west-northwest past, it bends to a west-southwest course for the remaining part of the journey along the borders of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois before reaching the Mississippi River.

Events in time

Starting in the 1950s, the DuPont chemical company began polluting the river from an overflow pipe that was located at its facility in Parkersburg, VA. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of a fluoride-based chemical used to make Teflon and other products dumped into the water for decades. In 2009 and 2010 it was rated as the most polluted river in the country.

In conclusion

The Ohio River continues to be an essential contribution to industrial processes, including the manufacturing and farming industries in the United States. The Ohio Environmental Council is working on solutions for stopping pollution and protecting wildlife. The primary focus is preserving and improving the overall safety of the water for the future.

All About Murrumbidgee River

Introduction

As the second-longest river in Australia, the Murrumbidgee is found flowing through many Indigenous lands of the region.

The Murrumbidgee River Corridor borders the river on either side as it flows west-northwesterly for 923 miles.

Why is it famous?

Several explorers traveled on and around the Murrumbidgee River dating back as far as the early 1820s. In 1829 a party led by Charles Sturt took a rowboat down the lower part of the waterway before catching the adjoining Murry River into the sea. They turned around and rowed back upstream later describing where the Murry and Murrumbidgee river meet as a dramatic experience because of the powerful currents. It wasn’t until the 1830s that the land around the Murrumbidgee was settled and discovered to be fertile farmland.

What’s nearby?     

The headwater of the Murrumbidgee River originates at the bottom of Peppercorn Hill along the Long Plain of the Snow Mountains 31 miles north of the city of Kiandra. You can find it flowing through several areas picking up tributaries along the 41 miles through the Australian Capital Territory and Canberra. The Tantangara Dam that was completed in 1960 near the headwaters of the Murrumbidgee sends most of the water into Lake Eucumbene.

Geological description

You’ll find the Murrumbidgee River located in the area of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory in the Snowy Mountains. Its mouth is at the confluence of the Murray River, and it discharges in three different locations, including Wagga Wagga, Narrandera, and Balranald.

Events in time

When the Murrumbidgee River flooded in 1852, the town of Gundagai that was based along the river was completely swept away. One-third of the town’s population, 89 people, died as a result of the flood. The town later rebuilt at a higher elevation.

The large spring snowmelt and 50% reduction of water flows that occurred after the building of the Tantangara Dam have put the Murrumbidgee River in the news for several decades because of the effects it’s having on the native fish population. Reports by the Murray-Darling Commission from 2008 state that only 13 of the original 22 different species of fish remain and the condition of the river is rated as very poor.

In conclusion

The Murrumbidgee River is an essential part of the ecological, economic, and social components of Australia. With continued loss of water and less flooding occuring, wildlife and trees are being negatively affected. The people of the region are working together diligently to discover the best course of action for keeping the river in its current condition, trying to prevent any further losses.

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.

Stone Forest, China

Introduction

The Stone Forest in China is made up of tall stone formations that together create the appearance of a forest with rock pillars instead of trees.

Why Is It Famous?

The gathering of so many stone pillars of such height is unusual, attracting attention from geologists and tourists alike.

What’s Nearby?

The Stone Forest is around 50 miles away from Kunming, which is the Yunnan Province capital. The entire area of the Stone Forest covers 100,000 acres or so, including karst, waterfalls, and caves.

Geological Description

The Stone Forest’s history began 270 million years ago in an area that was then a shallow sea. Limestone and sandstone accumulated in the basin of the sea before being pushed into the air. Once above water, water and wind shaped the pillars to create the formation that is recognizable today.

The presence of karst is part of what makes the Stone Forest so appealing. This landscape includes dolomite, gypsum, and limestone dissolved in soluble rocks. The landmark has unique karst features that you can only find within this part of the world thanks to its size and diversity.

The Subterranean Stone Forest inside the Zhiyun Cave in the Stone Forest covers 720 acres and is spread throughout several caves. There is also an underground river and a karst lake. Called Long Lake, it spans three kilometers in length and 300 meters in width. Long Lake has a small island in the center as well as underwater stalactite and stalagmites.

Events in Time

According to Chinese legend, one of the stones in the forest honors Ashima. She was a beautiful woman who had to marry someone she did not love, and while being rescued by Ahei, a flood drowned her. There is an annual Torch Festival to remember her.

In Conclusion

The Stone Forest is the result of 270 million years of sediment accumulation and erosion, and a focal point for unique karst formations.