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Tectonic plates no mountains?

 
 
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 12:01 am
I know this is a strange question but it got me wondering. Say, hypothetically, the earth still had tectonic plates that collided together but no mountains could be formed. The tectonic plates simply and incessantly collided with one another. Would the earth be in a constant state of instability.
 
View best answer, chosen by Saitama1
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 01:35 am
You are not going to have tectonic plates moving around on this planet and not have mountains. You should do a web search on plate tectonics and on orogeny (mountain building) to understand how this works. Additionally, volcanoes build mountains. So even if there were no tectonic plates on this planet we would still very likely have mountains. For tectonic plates to form and shift over the surface of a planet, you need a relatively thin lithosphere over a hot core.

We can look at Mars as an example. Mars has a hot core, but not nearly as large, proportionally, as that of the earth. If Mars ever had tectonic plates, it was so long ago that any obvious evidence of them has disappeared. It does, however, have some spectacular mountains. There are four gigantic volcanoes near the equator of Mars--Pavonis Mons (Peacock Mountain) is right on the equator--all four of which dwarf any mountains on earth. That is because the gravity of Mars is so much less than that of earth. The gravity of earth is two and half times as great as that of Mars. Olympus Mons, which is the largest known mountain in the solar system, has more than three times the elevation of Mount Everest. It is so tall that the caldera rises above the Martian atmosphere. Mauna Loa is the largest volcano on Earth, but Olympus Mons is one hundred times as massive. Depending on how one calculates it, the base of Olympus Mons is from 400 to 500 miles in diameter. If it were set down on the state of Nebraska, Nebraska would disappear altogether.

So with or without tectonic plates, and depending upon the gravity of the planet in question, you will have mountains on any planet with a hot core and a rocky surface--at least because of volcanoes. If the lithosphere is relatively thin enough, you'll tectonic plates, and the collisions of those plates will create mountains. One cannot just wave a magic wand and decree "No Mountains!"
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 06:23 am
@Saitama1,
different plate boundaries occur when continental crust plates collide .This produces the highest mountains( like the Himalayas and Acancagua ), along with som really violent volcanics. When one of the plates is a marine crust, it usually gets subducted more easily and taps into magma fields as it remelts. These form unique volcanoes in the "Ring of Fire"

Transform plate boundaries (like San Andreas) actually form more water channels than they do any mountains. San Andreas has some low hills that are constantly being recyccled as their sediments are not durable. Then , if you find a LIDAR map of San Andreas , you can see streams debauching into the central core of the fault boundary and theres usually a growing water channel being formed (This presages the ultimate fate of San Francisco to become an island arc system..

The actual landform building is more a result of the erosion of the whole event than just "pushing the load upward"
Himalayas and Acancagua wouldnt be as spectacularly craggy without erosion and Ice sculpture

Transform plate boundaries are about the only ones that really dont deliver neat mountain ranges though (except for divergent boundaries and these are obviously "pulling away" from each other. We call them "trailing edge" plate boundaries. (Think of warm sandy beaches and broad wide continental slopes like the Atlantic coasts of US and Mexico.

There are all kinds of special cases like the Panama Isthmus, Karabougos, Sund sea and undersea plate collisions and seamounts where the volcanoes form along the sides of plates and then are quickly eroded to form island chains out in the ocean.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
  Selected Answer
 
  3  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 07:31 am
Did you guys miss the "hypothetically"?

It's an interesting question. I would presume that if the plates were continuously colliding and one could not slip over the other, or both rise up, they would both sink down. It would cause a lot of rumbling I would think.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 09:18 am
@McGentrix,
Quote:
Did you guys miss the "hypothetically
Nobody missed it, but why give wrong views qhen theres no place on the planet where that happens as asked??

The laws of physics get in the way.
No two masses can occupy the same space , is one.

Laws of Conservation of Mass and ENergy is nother.

"cream floats on top, aint a law but its a fact"--All these differences are a function motly of density, velocity and porosity
McGentrix
 
  3  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 09:27 am
@farmerman,
You can give wrong views to a hypothetical question?

So, if I asked "If we could hypothetically travel faster than light, then travel to Alpha Centuri, could we then see our history through a hypothetical viewing glass?" you would be unable to answer that question? Or only answer "We can't travel faster then light!"

Seems like a boring way to have a conversation.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 09:41 am
@McGentrix,
in a nicer vein.
YES it is possible to have a hypothetical that has a near zero or zero occurence by forensics.
"When evidence does not support the "hypothetical" it is no longer "assumable by hypothesis" and is therefore totally invalid.
I hope I wasnt too short , I am trying to be more or less reasonable
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 09:45 am
@McGentrix,
Good point.

So the answer is, yes, things would go on being unstable in that case. Continents would just continue bouncing around as always, just not forming mountains.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  3  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 09:59 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

in a nicer vein.
YES it is possible to have a hypothetical that has a near zero or zero occurence by forensics.
"When evidence does not support the "hypothetical" it is no longer "assumable by hypothesis" and is therefore totally invalid.
I hope I wasnt too short , I am trying to be more or less reasonable


Isn't the point of a hypothetical question to go beyond the possible though? To speculate on what could happen, or what might happen?

Imagine a couple biologists sitting around talking in 1975 and one said "Imagine, hypothetically, if we could find a real live animal to check against the fossil s we found." Then the other just says "That can't happen, don't be crazy." then the first says, yeah, but what if it did, say like one day we find a coelacanth or something."...

Hypotheticals serve a purpose to discuss the impossible or to just color an imaginative thought. Things like physics can be suspended when talking hypothetically. It's ok.
Leadfoot
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:13 am
Quote:
Hypotheticals serve a purpose to discuss the impossible or to just color an imaginative thought. Things like physics can be suspended when talking hypothetically. It's ok.
I'm amazed that there exists people who are apparently unable to think in the subjunctive. They are constitutionally structured such that the question "What If" is an invalid statement.
Saitama1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:16 am
Thank you all for your considerate answers. I am aware of the fact that this hypothetical is basically impossible, but I oftentimes enjoy pondering over impossible, or seemingly impossible things, hence the question.
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:27 am
@McGentrix,
that hypotheis of checking living species against fossils is actually something that was thought about about 200 years ago when a "The present is key to the past" was a hypothesis. It was actually tested and found to be pretty good.

Suppose hypothetically we could live by eating ourselves



ANYWAY, this was (I think) , a discussion that was invoking science not some syllogism of Peripatetic" logic".

I spent lots of money in a series of forensics courses years ago and was always told to "never" answer a hypothetical question that attempts to presume something that just isnt so.
Blame my teachers but having been involved in numerous court cases presenting forensic evidence, Ive been posed those
"Lets just assume, hypothetically speaking that this occurs ...."
One always gets caught having to eat words later whenever one volunteers to answer such a question that contains bogi premises.


farmerman
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:29 am
@Leadfoot,
Quote:
I'm amazed that there exists people who are apparently unable to think in the subjunctive
When we search fro facts and evidence we dont **** with Unicorns. I let you wank your way through the mysteries of life
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:31 am
@Saitama1,
Quote:
I am aware of the fact that this hypothetical is basically impossible, but I oftentimes enjoy pondering over impossible, or seemingly impossible things, hence the question
Therefore, you could make up any consequence nd write about it.(or not). Im sure that other people will tell you qwhere its not happening
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:33 am
@McGentrix,
Quote:
Things like physics can be suspended when talking hypothetically. It's ok.
Even in sci fi- the authors try to explain and pose where the laws of physics can be broken. THEN Im certain some wags will tell you when youre wrong in breaking em.



0 Replies
 
Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:46 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
I spent lots of money in a series of forensics courses years ago and was always told to "never" answer a hypothetical question that attempts to presume something that just isnt so.
Ah, there's the rub. But yes, we all decide what to include in "It just isn't so". Some people chuck anything that wasn't in their course matter in that box.

I would never let my teachers tell me what not to consider.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 10:56 am
@Leadfoot,

If a hypothetical is (scientifically) based upon a hypothesis, (and it is, except in logica ) and when that hypothesis is found to be invalid, the hypothetical dissolves--



IF WE HAD BACON WE COULD HAVE BACON AND EGGS, IF WE HAD EGGS

If youre that lonely , get a pet.

Leadfoot
 
  2  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 04:20 pm
@farmerman,
If you're hungry, go to McDonalds.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 04:34 pm
Anyone who thinks in the "subjunctive" (sh*t like that cracks me up) is likely to swallow any old hypothetical as a valid question. Unicorns might fly out of my butt tonight. Will that hurt?

The question is made absurd by its impossibility. Anyone who wants to jerk off is welcome to do so, but it is really, really stupid to praise them for it.
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Feb, 2016 04:48 pm
@Saitama1,
I notice that none of the "all hypotheses are created equal" crowd have actually answered the loopy hypothetical question which this member posed.

Saitama1 wrote:
Would the earth be in a constant state of instability.


What do you mean by instability? Do you allege that the "earth" is only stable now because of mountains? Do you equate the lithosphere and its condition with the entire planet? Have you ever taken a risk, and used a question mark?
 

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