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The Atlas Mountains in Morocco are structurally different from mountains of similar height, according to new research which suggests that rather than being rooted dozens of miles beneath the surface, the mountains are buoyed up by superhot rock.
The mountains are sitting atop a layer of molten rock that flows beneath the region's lithosphere, perhaps all the way from the volcanic Canary Islands just off northwestern Africa, researchers at the University of Southern California said.
The crust beneath the Atlas Mountains, which rise to an elevation of more than 13,000 feet, reaches a depth of only about 25 miles, about 9 miles shy of what the traditional model predicts, they said.