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Lee_Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand

Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand

Photographed by Jooyong Lee

May 2016 Newsletter Coastal Photo1-995

 Aoraki / Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand. Its height since 2014 is listed as 3,724 m (12,218 ft), down from 3,764 m (12,349 ft) before December 1991, due to a rockslide and subsequent erosion. It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island. A popular tourist destination, it is also a favorite challenge for mountain climbers. The summits lie slightly south and east of the main divide of the Southern Alps, with the Tasman Glacier to the east and the Hooker Glacier to the west. The Southern Alps on the South Island in New Zealand were formed by tectonic uplifting and pressure as the Pacific and Indo-Australian Plates collided along the island's western coast. The uplifting continues, raising Aoraki / Mount Cook an average of 7 mm (0.28 in) each year. However, erosive forces are also powerful shapers of the mountains. The severe weather is due to the mountain's jutting into powerful westerly winds of the Roaring Forties which run around approximately 45°S latitude, south of both Africa and Australia. The Southern Alps are the first obstacle the winds encounter after South Africa and Australia, having moved east across the Southern Ocean. (Photograph taken 20 January 2016 by Dr. Jooyong Lee, Sungkyunkwan University [SKKU], Suwon, Republic of Korea.)

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