Mount Everest and the Himalayas are famous for their towering peaks and massive proportions. But how did this gargantuan mountain range form? "Continental collisions are messy, with the ground twisting and undulating over geological time," the New Scientist writes. "Because the rocks deform in a complex way, nobody had been able to figure out what kind of terrain will result and whether there is a common underlying process."
But new research, featuring a detailed computer model, shows what happens when plates with a strong, thick crust (like India) run into other ones, the New Scientist reports. The model showed that, rather than slip beneath the Indian continent like layers of paper, China and Southeast Asia first held out against the pressure. When it built up too much, those land masses were "unclogged," piling up to form the Himalayas. As one researcher put it to the New Scientist, India basically acted like a giant bulldozer.
Here's a psychedelic visualization of what happens when worlds collide: