It is a fact known to almost everyone that the highest point on Earth is Mount Everest. But the mountain system that surrounds it, the Himalayas, makes Tibet the highest country in the world and therefore has earned it the nickname of the “roof of the world.”
Tibet’s average height is almost 28 miles above sea level, much higher than any other place in the world. However, the altitude of Tibet has been a great topic of scientific discussion for the past few decades.
Although the current altitude is accepted in consensus by the scientific community, the debate focuses mainly on the variation that this altitude has suffered throughout its existence. Some groups claim that it has always remained the same, while others claim that it has increased during the last 20 to 30 million years.
A group of scientists from the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark has carried out a study that will try to put a final and definitive end to this debate.
Using elements of the analysis of the seafloor of the Indian Ocean and calculating the movement and collisions with each other of the tectonic plates of our planet, the researchers have managed to determine that, in fact, the roof of the world is now higher than a few million years ago. Almost 2000 feet higher.
“By looking at older data of Tibet’s emergence and combining it with new geological data from the Indian Ocean, we are pretty certain that there was a major geological change in Tibet about 15-18 million years ago, one that caused the wide-area to rise between 300 and 600 meters, “said Giampiero Iaffaldano, the study’s main author.
Scientists attribute the altitude variation to the collision generated by the movement of the tectonic plates that lie below what is now China and India. Experts claim that India used to be much further south but moved north slowly over millions of years until it collided with China resulting in the formation of Tibet.
This research is amazing because it explains the formation of Tibet and its high mountains and also helps scientists understand the process of the geological evolution of the planet.