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 Lesson 2

0081Kevin.jpg (106004 bytes) Welcome to the EverestNews.com Lesson plans developed by Kevin Cherilla (base camp manager of the NFB 2001 Everest Expedition and 7th and 8th grade physical education teacher from Phoenix, Arizona) and the staff at EverestNews.com, the largest mountaineering publication in the world.

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THE GEOLOGY OF EVEREST 

Everest is composed of three distinct layers of rock: 

1) The bottom layer, extending upwards to 24500 feet, consists of a light-colored gneiss, most of which is permanently covered with snow and ice.

2) The middle layer is metamorphosed shale containing granite intrusions and bands of material like quartzite which formed from sandstone through heating and recrystallization. Easily eroded, this layer contains rugged cliffs and fantastic pinnacles. 

3) Layer three begins at 27,500 feet, the first 500 feet of which consists of yellow limestone known as the Yellow Band. This feature actually slices through Everest at an angle and is most pronounced on the North Face. (On the south side, it's visible around 24000 feet.) Above the Yellow Band is more limestone but here the color is dark grey; it can be seen most prominently in the First and Second Steps of the Northeast Ridge.

1. Explain what the term plate tectonics means.
2. How did the Himalaya Mountains form?
3. According to the Theory of Plate tectonics, what will happen to the Himalaya Mountains and why?
4. Define: continental drift, crust, mantle, and core. Draw a picture of the earth showing the crust, mantle, and core.
5.  Describe the three distinct layers of rock that Everest if composed of.

References:

1. Lisa A. Rossbacher, Recent Revolutions in Geology, Franklin Watts, New York, 1986, chapter 1.
2. Lisa Choegyal, Insight Guides Nepal, Langenscheidt Publishers Inc., New York, 11378, p. 31-33. 

3. Geology facts excerpted from "Everest, The Mountaineering History" by Walt Unsworth 

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