«Geological time» flows surprisingly slowly. Natural changes of a landscape cannot be noticed with open years. Nevertheless measurements of abrupt mountain tops of New Zealand show that rocks can be transformed to the soil more than twice quicker, than was considered possible earlier. How the soil is quickly formed?
Eduard Kyslynskyy, Shutterstock.com

Usually people do not reflect, how fast or slowly geological processes flow. To them it is absolutely indifferent, with what speed mountains break up. However in the scientific world believe that researchers not simply found a new record of speed.

Breaking-up ridges make not less than a half of all quantity of removed and sedimentary breeds on a planet though occupy some percent of its surface. Thus, records of mountain tops have huge value for a carbon cycle. Crust pushes out on a surface of the mountain which then crumble and washed away by water in the sea where, settling on a bottom, form new breed.

«Some previous works argued that there are limits [speeds] of production of the soil, – the original author of research Isaak Larsen (Isaac Larsen) who worked over a subject within the doctoral dissertation in the field of sciences about Earth tells. – But nobody did measurements».

«This work defines a ratio between rates of production of the soil and speed of chemical aeration, and expands it to higher values, than ever earlier observed», – Larsen who works now at the Californian institute of technology in Pasadena continues.

"Extremely strong" ridge in the New Zealand Southern Alps where the steepness of slopes makes about 35 degrees was object of researches of scientists and annually 10 meters of a precipitation drop out. For collecting examples of breed Larsen together with the coauthor the graduate student of University of the Lincoln in New Zealand Andre Egerom (Andre Eger) landed from the helicopter on remote mountain tops and went down from them on foot to deliver in base camp about 10 kgs of tests. As Larsen remembers: «It were most difficult field [researches] which I did».

Scientists studied collected samples in laboratory, having measured amount of beryllium-10 which is formed only on Earth surface under the influence of space radiation. Measurements defined that rates of production of the soil at tops of ridges make from 0,1 to 2,5 mm a year, and exponential decrease with increase in thickness of the soil.

The fixed speed of formation of the soil more than twice exceeds expected size. Besides, research shows that rates of production of the soil and its aeration increase as slopes become more abruptly. Scientists assume that in other places with open hillsides, for example, in the Himalayas, there are similar processes.

«The couple of millimeters a year sounds quite slowly for all, except geologists, – the coauthor of work professor David Montgomeri (David Montgomery) speaks. – However two millimeters of production of the soil measured by Isaak a year mean that formation of inch of the soil will occupy only ten years. It fantastically quickly for the geologist, after all the common sense prompts that centuries» are necessary.