I have heard people here who claim to be part of the mainstream science collective say that tectonic plates push up mountains without expending energy because of lateral momentum.
If Im the one then youve certainly misunderstood wht was said. We are talking pretty much vector analyses using spherical geometry. Noone hs ver denied energy expended, thats silly. I think that your just tap dancing.
Me? I'm using clear language and not hiding in complex math terms.
When you understand how global tectonics has been modeled and the data used to calibrate and verify, perhaps then you will understand how the main bulk of the expended energy is with the mantle forces upon which plates lie like slices of pizza on a conveyor oven. Imagine a terminus of pizza slices at one end and a slice comes bearing down on them atop the conveyor. The slices will meet and , like on the earth, if the rock mass is ductile, it will fold up like a rug or else one slice will override the other and a "mini mountain" is built. Thats how a fairly thick layer of clam shells contained in the sediment of the Indian basin got deposited atop Mt Everest as a marine sedimentary layer atop a meta dacite layer.
The bottom line is that however the mechanisms work, the material gets pushed uphill and kinetic energy is converted to potential energy.
Whenever kinetic energy is converted into potential energy, it gets lost as kinetic energy. An ascending ball slows down and stops before turning around to fall. Likewise, energy expended on pushing earth uphill must be lost as heat and thus cooling should occur when mountains are pushed upward against gravity.
The geology that says all that tectonic power comes from the primordial heat and/or nuclear decay is a convenient way of ignoring all the energy that's getting absorbed from the sun and converted into biomass sediments year after year, turns into fossil fuel, and then . . .
What happens to fossil fuel underground if humans don't use it? Nature incorporates it into geological/tectonic processes. Why would you think otherwise?
The Earth is bathed in sunlight, just like Venus. It radiates heat away because greenhouse gases like CO2 and water condense and get out of the way of escaping infrared waves. But as the CO2 and water condense and go through their cycles, along with nitrogen, etc. they absorb energy and cause it to accrue as sediments, which end up underground and ultimately get compressed and/or moved around so that growing volcanoes and mountains covert the energy into potential energy.
If solar energy didn't build up as fossil fuels over time and contribute to geological processes, weathering and erosion would gradually level off all the land and deposit it into the oceans, which would rise up to cover the entire surface of the planet as a result.
Earth would just cool and solidify and then there would be no more molten core and magnetic field to protect the atmosphere and water. That's not going to happen, however, because the sun continues to supply Earth with new energy (along with maybe some meteors containing nuclear fuel).
If you are skeptical, please consider the alternative hypothesis, which is that Earth just happens to have fallen into orbit around the sun and cooled to its current state, which is going to continue cooling until it is as cold as Mars? If that was the case, then why wouldn't Venus have already cooled that much as well? I.e. if planets were only in the phase state they are in due to innate/primordial core heat that is gradually leaking away, then why would Venus be so hot at a closer orbit to the sun and Mars so cold at a further distance?
Earth is receiving energy from the sun day after day, year after year, and millennium after millennium, and not all of it is leaving without getting captured and stored. The fact it is getting captured and stored should cause you to think about how it does, i.e. by plants and all the species that consume plant energy and convert it into denser forms, some of which sediment and build up to form fossil fuels underground.
In other words, Earth has evolved a system for taking sunlight and moving the energy underground while controlling the temperature of the biosphere. Maybe Venus and even Mars also have evolved processes for capturing and storing up solar energy and building it up underground, and maybe even gas giants have mechanisms to do so as well.
When you see energy being captured and stored and built up underground at a planetary scale, the next question you should ask is where does that energy go next? Energy must be either liberated as kinetic energy and ultimately heat or it must be stored further and/or converted into new forms of potential. Logically, underground sediments condense into oil and coal and natural gas bubbles up as a result of fermentation-like processes; but when energy is liberated as kinetic energy, it is going to cause convection just as it does in the atmosphere.
Rock convection occurs in the form of volcanism, mantle plumes, etc. There are supposedly several mantle plumes throughout history that correspond with large meteor strikes. That either means that the meteors deposited their kinetic energy and nuclear fuel and thus stimulated the mantle plume and/or that there was chemical potential energy stored up in the ground that got invigorated by the perturbation, causing a heating event that culminated in convection. Such convection events occur very slowly, but just like atmospheric convection, what goes up consumes energy and converts it into potential, and as it presses back downward, it converts potential into kinetic energy and heat.
Overall, these geological processes are dynamic weather events like those that make up atmospheric climate, only they go much slower. So just as we understand the role of solar energy in heating air and water vapor and causing evaporation, convection, and condensation/precipitation; we should also understand its role in adding energy/heat underground and how the biosphere plays an intermediating role in feeding the sunlight through to deeper processes by gradually condensing and sedimenting it over geological time spans.