Supermountains: Colossal Mountains of the Past

Supermountains: Colossal Mountains of the Past
Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

What Are Supermountains?

According to, a mountain is a landform rising at least 1,000 feet above its surroundings in a confined area. A landform is any visible physical feature on the Earth or planetary body or satellite. The Himalayas of Asia includes the highest mountains in the world with peaks rising to elevations 24,000 or more feet above sea level. Thus, a supermountain is as high as the Himalayas but stretched three to four times farther than their 1500 mile range.

Traveling from Los Angeles, California to Little Rock, Arkansas is about 1,666 miles and a 23 1/2 to 25-hour drive depending on the route taken. The fastest route passes through Arizona and Texas and enters New Mexico and Oklahoma before arriving in Little Rock. That’s a lot of ground to cover. Imagine traveling three to four times that distance.

When you think about the tallest building in the world is over 2700 feet with 163 floors, mountains almost nine times that height seems unimaginable. However, researchers have studied low-lutetium zircon left behind from the erosion of the mountains’ peaks that lead to the previous existence of these supermountains.

Historical Relevance

A recent study found the occurrence of two supermountains, the Nuna and the Transgondwanan in Earth’s history. Both appear to contribute to the evolution of life on Earth.

Between 2,000 and 1,800 million years ago, it is believed eukaryotes (organisms such as animals, plants, fungi, and protists) appeared during the Nuna period.

Around 575 million years ago, it is believed the first large animals appeared during the Transgondwanan period.

Since Earth’s early atmosphere contained almost no oxygen, these supermountains may have boosted oxygen levels allowing complex life to breathe.

Supermountains Crossword Puzzle

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Colossal Mountains Crossword Puzzle

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