5. GEOLOGY

MOUNTAINS ARE LIKE TENT PEGS

mountains87In geology, the phenomenon of ‘folding’, is a recently discovered fact. Folding is responsible for the formation of mountain ranges. The earth’s crust, on which we live, is like a solid shell, while the deeper layers are hot and fluid, and thus inhospitable to any form of life. It is also known that the stability of the mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding, for it was the folds that were to provide foundations for the reliefs that constitute the mountains.

Geologists tell us that the radius of the Earth is about 6,035 km and the crust on which we live is very thin, ranging between 2 to 35 km. Since the crust is thin, it has a high possibility of shaking. Mountains act like stakes or tent pegs that hold the earth’s crust and give it stability. The Qur’an contains exactly such a description:

“Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, and the mountains as pegs?” [Al-Qur’an 78:6-7]

The word awtaad means stakes or pegs (like those used to anchor a tent); they are the deep foundations of geological folds.

A book entitled ‘Earth’ is regarded as a basic reference textbook on geology in many universities around the world. One of the authors of this book is Dr. Frank Press, who was the President of the Academy of Sciences in the USA for 12 years and was the Science Advisor to former US President Jimmy Carter. In this book, he illustrates the mountain in a wedge-shape and the mountain itself as a small part of the whole, whose root is deeply entrenched in the ground. According to Dr. Press, the mountains play an important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.

The Qur’an clearly mentions the function of the mountains in preventing the earth from shaking:

“And We have set on the earth mountains standing firm, lest it should shake with them.” [Al-Qur’an 21:31]7

The Qur’anic descriptions are in perfect agreement with modern geological data.

MOUNTAINS FIRMLY FIXED

mountainsandiceThe surface of the earth is broken into many rigid plates that are about 100 km in thickness. These plates float on a partially molten region called aesthenosphere.

Mountain formations occur at the boundary of the plates. The earth’s crust is 5 km thick below oceans, about 35 km thick below flat continental surfaces and almost 80 km thick below great mountain ranges. These are the strong foundations on which mountains stand. The Qur’an refers to the strong mountain foundations in the following verse:

“And the mountains hath He firmly fixed.” [Al-Qur’an 79:32]8

Thus, the information contained in the Glorious Qur’an about the nature of mountains, is in perfect agreement with recent discoveries in geology.