The Earth’s crust comprises of seven large tectonic plates which have been slowly moving for about the last 3.4 billion years. This field of science is known as plate tectonics and became the accepted model of the Earth around the 1960s, which was heavily influenced by the proliferation of satellite technology.

As explained by an article from Live Sciences:

Developed from the 1950s to the 1970s, the theory of plate tectonics is the modern update to continental drift(opens in new tab), an idea first proposed by scientist Alfred Wegener in 1912 which stated that Earth’s continents had “drifted” across the planet over time. Wegener didn’t have an explanation for how continents could move around the planet, but researchers do now: Plate tectonics. 

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into large slabs of solid rock, called “plates,” that glide over Earth’s mantle, the rocky inner layer above Earth’s core. Earth’s solid outer layer, which includes the crust and the uppermost mantle, is called the lithosphere. It is 100 km (60 miles) thick, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica(opens in new tab). Below the lithosphere is the asthenosphere — a viscous layer kept malleable by heat deep within the Earth(opens in new tab). It lubricates the undersides of Earth’s tectonic plates, allowing the lithosphere to move around.

When two plates collide or diverge mountain ranges are formed.

The Quran described this phenomenon 1400 years ago by describing the mountains as stabilizers/anchors (رَوَاسِيَ) as well as stakes/pegs (أَوْتَادًا).

[78:6] Did we not make the earth habitable? [78:7] And the mountains as pegs?

(٦) أَلَمْ نَجْعَلِ الْأَرْضَ مِهَادًا
(٧) وَالْجِبَالَ أَوْتَادً

[21:31] And we placed on earth stabilizers (mountains), lest it tumbles (spreads) with them, and we placed straight roads therein, that they may be guided.

(٣١) وَجَعَلْنَا فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِهِمْ وَجَعَلْنَا فِيهَا فِجَاجًا سُبُلًا لَعَلَّهُمْ يَهْتَدُونَ

[31:10] He created the heavens without pillars that you can see. He established on earth stabilizers (mountains), lest it tumbles (spreads) with you, and He spread on it all kinds of creatures. We send down from the sky water to grow all kinds of beautiful plants.

 خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ بِغَيْرِ عَمَدٍ تَرَوْنَهَا وَأَلْقَىٰ فِي الْأَرْضِ رَوَاسِيَ أَنْ تَمِيدَ بِكُمْ وَبَثَّ فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ دَابَّةٍ وَأَنْزَلْنَا مِنَ السَّمَاءِ مَاءً فَأَنْبَتْنَا فِيهَا مِنْ كُلِّ زَوْجٍ كَرِيمٍ

[16:15] And He placed stabilizers (mountains) on earth, lest it tumbles (spreads) with you, as well as rivers and roads, that you may be guided.

It is interesting that verses 21:31, 31:10, and 16:15, which describe the mountains as stabilizers, also use the term مَدَدْنَاهَا (madadnāhā). This word means to spread, as well as to shake or tumble, just as the plates of the Earth are spread out over the surface of the Earth it also causes earthquakes that cause things to shake and tumble. Secondly, 16:15 uses the term وَأَلْقَيْنَا (wa-alqaynā) to indicate that the mountains are cast down (into the Earth).

Additionally, these movements of the Earth’s mantles happen in predictable cycles. Similarly, when we look at the atmosphere we see that the atmospheric cycles occur in a similar moving pattern, but at a much faster rate.

The Quran makes the following comparison between these two cycles again reinforcing that the mountains are not static despite how they may appear to most people.

[27:88] When you look at the mountains, you think that they are standing still. But they are moving, like the clouds. Such is the manufacture of GOD, who perfected everything. He is fully Cognizant of everything you do.

 وَتَرَى الْجِبَالَ تَحْسَبُهَا جَامِدَةً وَهِيَ تَمُرُّ مَرَّ السَّحَابِ صُنْعَ اللَّهِ الَّذِي أَتْقَنَ كُلَّ شَيْءٍ إِنَّهُ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَفْعَلُونَ

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