Quran draws attention to an important geological function of the mountains: We created stationary mountains for prevent tremors on earth… (Enbiya, 31)
If we pay close attention, it is informed that the mountains on earth have a feature of preventing tremors. This fact, which was unknown at the time the Quran was descended, has been uncovered as a result of modern geology findings recently.
The mountains were thought to be the elevations of the surface of the earth once. However, the scientists realized that the mountains aren’t just surface elevations; they also reach 10-15 times deeper than their height with their parts known as mountain root. With this feature, the mountains have a role similar to a nail or a pole which is used to connect a tent to surface. For example, Mount Everest, which reaches 9 km above the surface level, has a root whose depth is more than 125 km. (1)
In addition, the mountains are originated as a result of movements and collisions of very large layers forming the earth’s crust. When two layers collide, the more durable one goes under the other. The upper layer folds up and give rise to the mountains. The lower layer forms a deep extension by moving downwards. Therefore, as we have already mentioned, there are deep extensions of mountains that go underground like their masses we observe on the surface of earth.
One of the world famous underwater geologists, Prof. Siaveda, while referring to the fact that the mountains are rooted on the earth, commented: The basic difference between the mountains on the continents and the mountains on the ocean floor is their material … But both have roots that support the mountains. Mountains on the continents have light and less dense material extends into the ground as a root, while mountains on the ocean floor have a light substance that supports the mountain as a root … The function of the roots is to support the mountains according to the Archimedes’ law. (2)
In addition, Frank Press, the former President of the American Academy of Sciences, suggests in his book “Earth” which is a course book in many universities that the mountains are in the form of a stake and they are buried under the earth deeply. (3)
In other Qur’anic verses, this function of the mountains is referred to as “stake” as well.
“Have We not made the earth as a wide expanse, And the mountains as pegs? (Nebe, 6-7)” In yet another verse Allah gives information by saying, ” And the mountains hath He firmly fixed “ (Surat an-Naziat, 32). The word “ersayha” in this verse means “rooted, fixed, anchored, nailed”. With these features, the mountains extend above and beneath the earth at the junction points of the earth’s layers and rivet these layers to each other. In this way, they prevent the earth crust from slipping on the magma layer or the other layers.
In short, we can compare the mountains with the nails holding the boards together. Obviously, a very vital function of the mountains, which was discovered as a result of Modern geological and seismic surveys, is given as an example for the supreme wisdom of God’s creation in the Qur’an. In a verse, it is mentioned that:
… On the earth, he left unshakable mountains not to shake you … (Lokman Sura, 10)
MOUNTAINS ARE DRIFTING
“Thou seest the mountains and thinkest them firmly fixed: but they shall pass away as the clouds pass away …” (Neml Sura, 88)
This movement of the mountains is caused by the movement of the earth crust on which they are located. The earth’s crust moves like floating on the mantle layer which is denser. In the early 20th century, a German scientist named Alfred Wegener suggested that the continents of the earth were united in the early periods of the Earth, then drifted away in different directions and moved away from each other.
However Geologists understood that Wegener was right in the 1980s, 50 years after his death. As Wegener stated in an article published in 1915; the pieces of land on earth were connected to each other about 500 million years ago, and this large piece of land, given the name of Pangea, was in the South Pole. About 180 million years ago, Pangea splited in two. One of these two giant continents, driven by different directions, were Gondwana, including Africa, Australia, Antarctica and India. The second was Laurasia, consisting of Europe, North America and Asia without India. At various times over the next 150 million years following this division, Gondwana and Laurasia split into smaller pieces. These continents, which emerge from the disintegration of Pangea, are constantly drifting on Earth’s surface at a rate of a few centimeters per year, changing the distributions of lands and seas.
This movement of the earth crust which discovered as a result of geological surveys in the early 20th century is explained in scientific sources as follows: The earth surface have 100 km thickness and consisting of earth crust and upper mantle consists of pieces called “layer”. There are six large layers and numerous small layers forming the Earth’s surface. According to a theory called “layer tectonics”, these layers move along the Earth carrying the continents and the ocean floor … It is estimated that the continental movement is around 1 to 5 cm per year. As the plates move in this way, the world geography changes. For example, the Atlantic Ocean is getting a little larger every year. (4)
An important point that needs to be mentioned here is that: Allah has reported the movement of the mountains as “drifting”. In fact, the English term that scientists use for this movement is “continental drift”. (5)
The drifting of the continents was unobservable in the period when the Qur’an was descended, and Allah indicated how people will judge this issue by saying, “You see mountains but you think they are frozen.” and revealed a truth that the mountains are drifting like the clouds. As you can see, the movement of the layers on which the mountains are located is clearly noted.
It is undoubtedly a great miracle that this scientific truth, which science has just recently discovered, is reported in the Qur’an in the 7th century, when the views on the universe and nature are based on superstitions and legends. And it is a very important evidence that the Qur’an is Allah‘s word.
CONCLUSION: Mountains, thanks to their roots, stand fixed like nails. When we look at them, we see them as frozen/fixed. But they drift about 1 to 5 cm per year like clouds in a way we cannot perceive it. These two pieces of information do not contradict each other and both are the proofs of the two scientific miracles in the Qur’an.