I was reminded recently of a moment in the Eragon books where the main characters see a "tall" mountain range, and then after a minute realize that the white sky stretching up above them is just mountains too, covered in snow. Which got me wondering - if there was a mountain that reached to space, obviously there would be some point above which snow would not accumulate. Where would this be?

Thoughts: I know most of the Earth's moisture is in the troposphere, so it seems reasonable to assume it would be confined to that region - but higher clouds like nacreous and noctilucent clouds are made of ice crystals, which could conceivably deposit on a mountain. Or would this be rare enough that it would sublimate faster than it could accumulate?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If you analyze it from the perspective of cloud microphysics clouds do contain ice crystals as you mention in your question. So conceivably any high mountain could contain snow including Mt. Everest at the highest point.AFAIK only nimbostratus and cumilonimbus are involved in actual precipitation. $\endgroup$
    – user1066
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ @gansub I'm thinking from the point of view of a fictional mountain several times higher than mount Everest. Clouds have never been observed above 55 kilometers altitude, so obviously there would be a second "snow line" there if not before. $\endgroup$
    – Skyler
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ we do not handle world building questions here. $\endgroup$
    – user1066
    Commented Mar 25, 2019 at 13:56
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ we have this frustrating thing called the laws of nature here on this site,so a good place to start might be to find how tall a mountain can get and then ask this question again. $\endgroup$ Commented Apr 21, 2021 at 5:43


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.