Department of Earth Sciences

Mountain Building

Mountain belts are one of the major features on the Earth's surface and have a profound influence on its inhabitants and their ways of living, amongst others by affecting climate and weather and providing attractive and unique habitats. At the same time, mountain belts are prone to natural disasters like earthquakes, landslides and floods. Mountain belts, or their remains, tell us also about how planet Earth developed under much of its long history. To research their distribution over time and the processes that act under their development is a multidisciplinary endeavour.

Research on mountain building at Uppsala University deals with Scandinavian and Arctic mountain belts as old as 2 billion years, but presently with a strong focus on the c. 400 million year old and deeply eroded Scandinavian Caledonides. Applied geophysical methods like reflection seismics, magentotellurics and potential field measurements allow us to explore and model the subsurface, the latter in close collaboration with geological and rock physics research on the character of the rocks at the surface.

The flagship project is the Collisional Orogeny in the Scandinavian Caledonides (COSC) scientific drilling project, supported by the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP). In this project, an international science team performs mountain building research on two fully cored boreholes (one drilled, one planned) that together sample a key-section through a major, "Himalaya-sized" Paleozoic mountain belt.

For more information on COSC, please refer to:

Contact: Henning LorenzChristoph Hieronymus

Fieldwork on Prins Karls Forland, Svalbard. In the young (Paleogene) West Spitsbergen fold and thrust belt, relicts after several older orogens (Paleozoic and Proterozoic) are exposed.