PremiseThe task is to explain how a planet can possess cube-shaped mountain ranges and maintain them across geological time scales. I have tossed around several ideas, such as creating a vacuum around the mountains. While none of these ideas worked out, I was able to construct a list of some of the main issues with cube-mountains:
- Atmospheric weathering
- Tectonics (plates colliding creates pointy mountain formations)
For a moment I had resigned, thinking it was too difficult to explain with natural phenomena. Then this photo reinvigorated my efforts:
This site in South America is by no means the norm for planet Earth; it even remains a bit mysterious. Nonetheless, it serves a proof of concept: there can be natural processes that counteract other natural processes which would otherwise result in pointy mountains.
If we aim to have an entire world where cube-shaped mountains are the norm, then what natural processes need to be in place to maximize the likelihood of cube-shaped mountains, planet-wide?
- Interested in the long-term, if the mountains need to be pointy in the beginning, that's permissible
- Slightly less compromising with regards to shape, the success metric needs to be near-cube in shape -- not just non-pointy (normal weathering will flatten sharp peaks)
- Planet characteristics: earth-like to start with, but can add elements from exoplanets if needed.