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Colliding Continents: A Geological Exploration of the Himalaya, Karakoram, & Tibet

  • The only book on the Himalaya that explores the geological history of the region
  • Combines the science with stories of mountain climbing and travel
  • Includes spectacular colour photographs throughout
  • Provides an insight into modern day geological exploration

By: Mike Searle(Author)

438 pages, colour photos, colour & b/w illustrations

Oxford University Press

Paperback | Oct 2017 | #234407 | ISBN-13: 9780198798514
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £18.99 $25/€21 approx
Hardback | Mar 2013 | #201148 | ISBN-13: 9780199653003
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £24.99 $33/€28 approx

About this book

The crash of the Indian plate into Asia is the biggest known collision in geological history, and it continues today. The result is the Himalaya and Karakoram – one of the largest mountain ranges on Earth. The Karakoram has half of the world's highest mountains and a reputation as being one of the most remote and savage ranges of all. In this beautifully illustrated book, Mike Searle, a geologist at the University of Oxford and one of the most experienced field geologists of our time, presents a rich account of the geological forces that were involved in creating these mountain ranges. Using his personal accounts of extreme mountaineering and research in the region, he pieces together the geological processes that formed such impressive peaks.

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"Entertaining and informative, Colliding Continents is an easy read which should appeal to anyone with even a little interest in geology."
– Danny Yee,

"All can learn from the master in this excellent book."
– Jonathan Wright, Geographical

"There's something here to please anyone on the geology spectrum: the student wanting to understand how the fundamentals are applied; the academic intrigued by the science; the climber dreaming of virgin territory. All can learn from the master in this excellent book."
– Simon Cook, Oman Daily Observer

"This is a wonderful record of Mike Searles 30 year geological explorations of the high mountains of Asia. He writes as clearly and concisely as he talks, always making huge geological dramas intelligible and interesting to the layman as well as to the expert. Whether you view the Himalaya and Karakoram as a giant exercise bar or a place for spiritual renewal, you will find this geological history of the high mountains of Asia absolutely fascinating."
– Doug Scott, Climber and Amateur Geologist

"An intimate anatomy of the greatest mountain range in the planet, revealed by a geologist who has walked, scrambled and climbed over virtually every inch of it."
– Iain Stewart, Geologist and Broadcaster



1: Oceans and continents
2: Continents in collision: Kashmir, Ladakh, Zanskar
3: The dreaming spires of the Karakoram
4: Pressure, temperature, time, and space
5: Frozen rivers and fault lines
6: Northwest Frontier: Kohistan, Hindu Kush, Pamirs
7: Faces of Everest
8: Mapping the geology of Everest and Makalu
9: Mountains and Maoists: Annapurna, Manaslu
10: Around the bend: Nanga Parbat, Namche Barwa
11: Roof of the World: Tibet, Pamirs
12: Extruding Indochina: Burma, Vietnam, Yunnan, Thailand
13: The day the Earth shook: Sumatra-Andaman earthquake 2004
14: The making of Himalaya, Karakoram, and Tibetan plateau


Appendix 1: Basics
Appendix 2: Glossary
Appendix 3: Local glossary
Appendix 4: Chronology


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Mike Searle has worked for the last 30 years on the geology of the Himalaya, Karakoram, Tibet, and Southeast Asia. He combines geological field investigations with mountaineering expeditions to the greater ranges, and has published more than 130 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He is the author of Geology and Tectonics of the Karakoram Mountains (1991) and has co-edited four books for the Geological Society of London. He has published a Geological Map of the Mount Everest region, Nepal and South Tibet (2003, 2007) and has given numerous talks about the region.

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