6- Have We not made the earth habitable?
7- And the mountains as pegs?
78-The Event, 6-7
Mountains are often mentioned in the Quran. The simile of pegs
seems to be preternatural in the light of geological findings of the last
century. The mountains we observe on the surface of the earth rest on
immense strata that may be ten to fifteen times as deep as the portion
remaining on the surface of the earth. For instance, the highest mountain on earth, whose peak attains an altitude of 9 km from the ground,
possesses a substratum that goes about 125 km into the depths of the
earth. For a peg to be able to fulfil its function, the length of the portion stuck in the earth is important. The same holds true for the
There also exist mountains rising from the bottom of seas that also
possess substratum. These substrata support the visible portion of the
mountains in accordance with the Archimedean principle. These substrata were unknown until a few centuries back, let alone during the
time of the Prophet. The simile in the Quran is once again a miraculous statement.
FUNCTION OF MOUNTAINS
In geology textbooks that have not been updated, information is not
available about the role the mountains play, the role of stabilizing the
crust of the earth. However, there are some publications on this issue. The book entitled “Earth” is one of the many now on the market.
Frank Press, author of this book, is the president of the Academy of
Sciences, adviser to Jimmy Carter, ex-President of the USA. This
author likens the mountains to wedges, the greater part of which
remain underneath the surface of the earth. In this book, Dr. Press
explains the functions of mountains, drawing special attention to their
important role in stabilizing the crust of the earth. This information
exactly matches the statement in the Quran:
31- “And We have set on the earth mountains standing
firm lest it should shake with them.”
21-The Prophets, 31
Actually, the crust of the earth floats on a liquid. This outermost
layer of the earth extends 5 km from the surface. The depths of the
mountain strata go as far down as 35 km. Thus, the mountains are
sort of pegs driven into the earth. Just like the pegs used to stabilize
a tent on the ground, so these pegs stabilize the crust of the earth.
Mountains are the outcome of collisions between strata of the earth’s
crust; the result of the encroachment of a given stratum on another
one. These strata that go deeper and deeper enable the crust layers to
Isostasy is defined in the Webster’s Third New Twentieth Century
Dictionary as follows: “Isostasy is the general equilibrium in the
earth’s crust, maintained by a yielding flow of rock material beneath
the surface under gravitate stress, and by the approximate equality in
mass of each unit column of the earth from the surface to a depth of
about 100 km.” At a time when mountains were viewed as mere
prominences, the Quran’s reference to mountains’ strata invisible to
the eye and their stabilization role leaves us in awe.