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The Himalaya is the greatest mountain range on Earth: the highest, longest, youngest, the most tectonically active, and the most spectacular of all. Unimaginable geological forces created these spectacular peaks. Indeed, the crash of the Indian plate into Asia is the biggest known collision in geological history, giving birth to the Himalaya and Karakoram, one of the most remote and savage places on Earth. In this beautifully illustrated book, featuring spectacular color photographs throughout, one of the most experienced field geologists of our time presents a rich account of the geological forces that were involved in creating these monumental ranges. Over three decades, Mike Searle has transformed our understanding of this vast region. To gather his vital geological evidence, he has had to deploy his superb skills as a mountaineer, spending weeks at time in remote and dangerous locations. Searle weaves his own first-hand tales of discovery with an engaging explanation of the processes that formed these impressive peaks. His narrative roughly follows his career, from his early studies in the north west Himalaya of Ladakh, Zanskar and Kashmir, through several expeditions to the Karakoram ranges (including climbs on K2, Masherbrum, and the Trango Towers, and the crossing of Snow Lake, the world's largest ice cap outside polar regions), to his later explorations around Everest, Makalu, Sikkim and in Tibet and South East Asia. The book offers a fascinating first-hand account of a major geologist at work-the arduous labor, the eureka moments, and the days of sheer beauty, such as his trek to Kathmandu, over seven days through magnificent rhododendron forests ablaze in pinks, reds and white and through patches of bamboo jungle with hanging mosses. Filled with satellite images, aerial views, and the author's own photographs of expeditions,Colliding Continentsoffers a vivid account of the origins and present state of the greatest mountain range on Earth.
Mike Searle is Professor of Earth Sciences at Oxford University. He has worked for the last 30 years on the geology of the Himalaya, Karakoram, Tibet, and Southeast Asia, combining geological field investigations with mountaineering expeditions to the greater ranges. He is the author of Geology and Tectonics of the Karakoram Mountains and has co-edited four books for the Geological Society of London. He has also starred on two TV series: BBC's Earth Story and the History Channel's How the Earth was Made.