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Mountain to Mountain

Jul 3, 2010


Location: Underway to Capri
Author: Chris Uyeda
Today was about mountains. But not the kind you’re thinking of. The highest, longest, and most active mountains in the world aren’t the ones on land – Everest, Denali, Fuji. Instead, they’re the ones that are covered largely by water, islands to most, but geologically, mountains just the same. Their bases begin not at sea level but hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands feet below at the ocean floor. These are the mountains that were the bookends to our day. This morning Argo sailed by Stromboli, a rarely visited island that gently emits lava to this day. By night we were anchored in the lee of Capri, an island heralded as one of the most beautiful in all the Mediterranean. Both Stromboli and Capri rise straight from the sea. Their peaks and topography are surpassed only by their depths and bathymetry. What causes these extreme features? Argo is currently in one of the most tectonically active places in the world. It’s where the massive plates of our planet collide, separate, or slide past one another creating the earthquakes, mountains, and volcanoes that define its geology and mythology. For people witnessing these landscapes today, the experience is breathtaking. For those that saw these places thousands of years ago, they are the kinds of places that make it easy to believe in the gods.