Field of Science

A geologist riddle #22

Back to the roots of geology: What concept is depicted in this mountain range ?


  1. Molasse? (The yellow in the upper cross section or gravelly flanking pattern on the bottom cross section)


  2. Hi,
    The theory seems to be that of L. von Buch : craters of elevation.
    The map is about Pyrenees

  3. That's the Pyrenees! And the concept depicted seems to be the post-tectonic migration of the drainage divide towards the south due to retrogressive erosion along the northern rivers. It would be very interesting to know the source of this image. Nice post.

  4. Pyrenees is correct, it is the geologic map and profile of the Pyrenees, after the "Berghaus-Atlas", a supplement to Humboldt's masterpiece "Kosmos" (1845-1862), where he used Leopold von Buch´s elevation theory to explain mountains - he in fact used asymmetric erosion to explain the asymmetric distribution of magmatic rocks (Granite) in the geologic map, however I´m not sure if he realized that uplift would itself control erosion...


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