Debunking the myth of the oldest mountain on the planet

Mount Karandash

On the Internet you can find information that the most ancient mountain on the planet is located in the Chelyabinsk region. We are talking about Mount Karandash, which, according to some authors, was formed 4.2 billion years ago, and this despite the fact that the age of the planet itself is dated at 4.6 billion. In the process of a detailed study of this issue, it turned out that this whole story is nothing more than an erroneous interpretation of scientific facts!

It should start with the fact that the statement, familiar to many, that the Ural Mountains are the most ancient on our planet is in fact a delusion. Inaccuracies of this kind arise due to the erroneous interpretation of scientific knowledge in pseudo-scientific or even entertaining and educational publications. So in this case, this myth is firmly entrenched in the minds of many. I hasten to announce surprising news for many: the Ural Mountains are not the most ancient not only on the planet, but also among other mountain systems of our country, for example, according to experts, the Ural Mountains are inferior in age to Altai, as well as the Eastern and Western Sayans.

Many sources devoted to the geological development of our planet provide information that the formation of the Ural Mountains took place in the Paleozoic era, however, it is not specified that we are talking about the formation of a geological shield - the basis of the future mountain system, formed long before the appearance of mountains. Inaccuracies in the timing of the period of formation of mountains arise precisely because the period of formation of the geological shield, and not the mountain system itself, is used as a starting point. However, scientists have established that the period of the final stage of the formation of the Ural Mountains ended in the Triassic era, about 200 million years ago. The fact is that the concept of a time period in a geological era is so broad that the difference between individual eras can be hundreds of millions of years! Thus, the "backbone of Russia" is largely younger than commonly believed.

As for the Karandash Mountain, in general, most authors repeat one and the same mistake one after another - they determine the age of the mountain as a certain separate element in the environment of the mountain system, which is an extremely incorrect method. The mountains are part of the surrounding relief, which was formed together with the mountain system on a concrete base from already existing materials, so that the period of the final formation of the mountain has nothing to do with the age of the rocks of which it is composed. Since the age of the Ural Mountains at the time of the end of their formation was about 200 million years, respectively, Mount Karandash could not have formed apart from the main mountain system long before the appearance of the geological shield, on which it subsequently fit, thus, the age of the Karandash does not exceed 200 million years, which is largely different from the status assigned to it - the oldest mountain on the planet.

An interesting fact: the name Karandash is derived from the Turkic Kara-Tash - "Black Stone", which in general quite accurately describes the material of which the mountain is composed - the mineral izrandite has a rich black color.

Another important aspect, mentioned in the context of the antiquity of Mount Karandash, is its “foundation” - the mineral izrandite. This rock is credited with some unrealistic time periods of formation, as well as a number of other unusual properties, up to cosmic origin. However, scientists dismissed the space version of the izrandite formation right away, since neither the composition of the mineral, nor its morphology were in any way connected with the meteorite matter formed in outer space.

Interesting fact: the height of Karandash Mountain is 600 meters. From its top, a beautiful view of the Yurma, Taganay ridge, Taratash, Taganay mountains and many other peaks of the Southern Urals opens up.

Izrandite is classified as olivine pyroxenite, by the way, this group of minerals is not a rarity in the world of geology, but it has some unique properties. For the first time, a sample of this rock was discovered forty-five years ago near a tributary of the Izranda River, which flows at the foot of Mount Karandash. It was by the name of the place of its discovery that this mineral was included in the catalogs of geological samples. According to experts, the age of izrandite is about two billion years.

In this case, the mineral is a fragment of a substance that underlies the formation of the shield of the later became the main Ural Mountains. Most likely, the myth about the antiquity of Pencil arose precisely because of the ancient origin of Izrandite itself, which in itself is not true. Despite its impressive age, this mineral, although it is a certain record holder of the Ural geological storehouse, still does not reach the declared four billion years.