Andes’ Height Due to Climate, Study Says

Not all mountain ranges are created equally. Consider the central Andes of South America: A pair of Earth scientists reports today that the second highest mountains in the world reached their lofty height thanks to frigid ocean waters and parched soils.

Only the Himalaya are taller, which have formed as the Indian and Asian landmasses have slowly plowed into each other over the last 50 million years. The Andes, by contrast, have formed as the floor of the Pacific Ocean slips uneasily beneath South America, ruffling the land along the west coast of the continent.