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Why are there marine fossils at the top of Mt. Everest?

Why are there marine fossils at the top of Mt. Everest?
Posted at 1:15 PM, Jan 02, 2024

The more we know about the world, the stranger it seems. And it’s human nature to develop all sorts of theories, even far-fetched ones, about how things came about. But what seems fantastic often has roots in science. This is also true of a phenomenon that’s gotten plenty of press lately.

Not long ago, a Facebook user made waves when he posted screenshots claiming that marine fossils found at the top of Mount Everest prove the existence of a Biblical global flood, which Noah was able to escape with his ark. Claims like this about the marine fossils found high in the Himalayas (such as those in the photo above) have been around on social media for several years.

There are indeed fossils of marine animals at the top of Mount Everest, whose summit is more than 29,000 feet above sea level — specifically, trilobites, brachiopods, crinoids (which are related to starfish), conodonts (extinct eel-like creatures) and ostracods (tiny crustaceans). But they can be explained by a process we all learned in middle-school science: plate tectonics.

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Mt. Everest

Everest was formed millions of years ago when the plate containing India broke away from the supercontinent called Gondwana and headed for Eurasia. As it pushed land ahead of it, it created a large, shallow ocean as it moved north and eventually hit Asia. The collision drained the water and lifted the land up to form the Himalayan mountains.

In fact, according to NASA, the presence of limestone and ocean marine fossils on the mountain was a key piece of evidence that advanced the idea of plate tectonics, after the theory was proposed in 1915.

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Need a visual? Popular internet personality and science communicator Hank Green explains it pretty well in this short TikTok from the @SciShow account:

@scishow And that’s on plate tectonics 😌 (Host:@hankgreen1) #learnontiktok #tiktokpartner #geology #mounteverest #science ♬ LoFi(860862) – skollbeats

Of course, for believers, this doesn’t disprove the idea that the flood happened. In fact, you could say it only proves that God works in mysterious ways — like through the wonders of plate tectonics.

Why are there marine fossils at the top of Mt. Everest? originally appeared on, helping make the most out of life.

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