56 votes
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Farthest point from the center of the Earth

It's Chimborazo, Ecuador, but only just, beating Huascarán, Peru, by less than 50 metres. Both are over 2 km 'higher' than Everest. I made a plot of some mountains — height above centre of the earth ...
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49 votes
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Why is Olympus Mons the largest volcano in the whole solar system?

This is mostly due to the fact that Mars does not have plate tectonics. Therefore the plate stays above the hotspot without moving, allowing magma to rise and pile up at the same place for millions ...
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23 votes

Farthest point from the center of the Earth

Mount Chimborazo, which is 6,268 meters above sea level and within 1.5 degrees of the equator. More specifically, according to Dr. Milbert, Chief Geodesist, NOAA, National Geodetic Survey and Dr. ...
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  • 5,892
23 votes
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How much of a mountain is below the surface?

Is there some kind of math rule for how much does a mountain extends (depth) below the surface? Definitely! It is called isostasy. When I was a student, the lecture about isostasy started with a ...
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22 votes
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Why is Mauna Kea taller than the maximum height possible on Earth?

Since over half of the height of Mauna Kea is under water, you need to consider the buoyancy effect. Instead of a density of $3 \times 10^3\ \mathrm{kg/m^3}$, the underwater portion has a net density ...
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22 votes
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Why One Side of Mountain Range is Lush

The Cascade Mountain Range in the US Pacific Northwest is a good example to use to explain this. The predominant wind direction is from the West - over the Pacific Ocean. The air over the ocean picks ...
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  • 4,319
17 votes
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Is Mount Everest currently becoming taller or shorter every year?

According to one survey using GPS mounted on a plateau below the summit, Mount Everest is increasing its height approximately 4mm each year. As for plate techtonics, this site describes it pretty ...
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  • 2,698
17 votes
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How did the Ural mountains form?

The Ural mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on Earth. They started forming about 300 Ma ago by the subduction of the oceanic crust once attached to the Kazakhstania plate under the ...
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16 votes
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What is the origin of the Montmartre mountain in Paris?

A clue is in the full name of the hill: 'Butte Montmartre'. A butte is an erosional feature in which a block of resistant rock overlies a less resistant layer. Erosion of the soft layer below causes ...
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  • 2,602
16 votes

Are there any photographs of mountains without significant erosion (on Earth or otherwise)

Here's how astronomers of the late 19th century thought the Moon would appear: Recreations in Astronomy by H. D. Warren D. D., published in 1879, via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selenography. Here'...
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16 votes
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Is there a reason most mountain ranges seem to run parallel to coastlines?

Mountain ranges are usually formed as orogeny where tectonic plates collides, known as convergent boundaries. The continental plates have less density than the oceanic plates and the buoyancy results ...
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  • 5,896
15 votes
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What were the tallest mountain ranges in Earth's geological past?

Factors determining the maximum possible height of mountains include the rate of uplift versus the rate of erosion[a] and rock strength. Rock strength is controlled by the type and internal structure ...
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14 votes
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How could this pyramidal Mountain have been formed?

Such forms tend to be created by glacial activity, which, ahem, the ice-covered continent is known for. Much discussion of this in the related question in Skeptics: Are there three pyramids in ...
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13 votes

What is the tallest fully underwater seamount in the world?

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Earth Sciences, seamount Isolated, submarine mountain rising more than 1000m above the ocean floor. The sharp, crested summits of seamounts are usually 1000-...
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  • 2,826
13 votes

Magnetic "magnetic hills"?

Certainly there are such places. They are simply spots where the nearby rocks have a high concentration of magnetic minerals with a strong remanent magnetization. They're not necessarily literal hills:...
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  • 5,380
12 votes

How are 'road-like passages' between Himalayan mountains formed?

It's a glacier, it this case the Baltoro Glacier in Karakoram, Pakistan. The road-like pattern is formed as the glacier slowly flows towards lower altitude from a nearby ice-cap or accumulation zone. ...
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  • 5,896
11 votes

Is there a standard definition of the term "mountain"?

There does not appear to be an agreed international definition of a mountain. In the UK there is a colloquial definition that a mountain must be "a thousand feet high". This definition is ...
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11 votes

What is the tallest fully underwater seamount in the world?

This answers one of the questions you list, but the shallowest seamount, per this list on Wikipedia is Banua Wahu, which is 8 meters below the surface, but has risen above the surface and fallen below ...
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  • 2,698
11 votes

Why is Mauna Kea taller than the maximum height possible on Earth?

Your calculation of maximum height has a precision of one significant figure, 10000 meters. That is consistent with the height of Mauna Kea to the same precision of one significant figure. The ...
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11 votes
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Could the speed in which the plate is moving affect how quickly mountains rise?

The height of the Himalayas Like Keith McClary says in his answer, there really are two factors in creating growing/shrinking mountains. Mountains grow due to various reasons. In the case of the ...
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  • 1,959
10 votes
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Determining the paleoelevation of mountain ranges

I'll begin with your second question, as to how mountains erode. To simplify things, there are two methods: Physical weathering, where the rocks are broken down by weather. For example, there are ...
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10 votes

Himalayas are currently rising. What will be the highest point they can reach?

The Himalayas are indeed rising, but they are also being eroded at a comparable rate. It will come as no surprise to anyone that the maximum possible height of a mountain on Earth is only marginally ...
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9 votes

Why are South African mountains short and flat?

I suspect you are referring to the mesas and buttes dotted around the Karoo - the large semi-arid plateau that makes up much of South Africa's interior. These are a product of the glacial and ...
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  • 111
9 votes
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What causes this striped rock formation?

Frost heaving of the striped variety As soil freezes it expands, this slowly pushes coarser material outwards, (since no ice forms in the stones just between them). This forms in bands of coarse and ...
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  • 6,464
9 votes

Why is Olympus Mons the largest volcano in the whole solar system?

The other answer is already pretty good: No plate tectonics and no water erosion allows material to pile up in one place, and then stay put. Neither is the case on earth: The plate moves away from the ...
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8 votes
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What definition of "seamount" is used by the largest utilised databases of seamounts?

The largest database of seamounts contains over 33,000 seamounts and was created by Yesson, Chris; Clark, MR; Taylor, M; Rogers, AD. Link For their list, they defined seamounts and knolls as ...
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  • 2,698
8 votes

Why One Side of Mountain Range is Lush

I'll augment the other answer with an example. Consider a theoretical north-south oriented mountain range that rises 2000 m above sea level and the land on either side of the range is at sea level. A ...
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