Our cover picture courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory Landsat 8 satellite, shows a portion of the Tien Shan mountain range in the north western Xinjiang province China.
Formed some 300 million years ago when part of Australia collided with Eurasia, along with a chain of volcanic activity approximately 50 million years later.
The image shows a classic thrust fault caused when pressure forces horizontal sedimentary rock into up and down folds.
The forces involved are tremendous and have moved the rock to such an extent that if you followed the shepherds trail for a four hour hike to reach and stand on part of the actual Piqiang fault you can see Cambrian-aged rocks to one side, and Devonian-aged rocks on the other.
The highest range reaches 1200m(not fully shown in the image) the various colours show different time periods of rock with red being Devonian(commonly known as the age of the fish), the green sandstones from an ocean in the Silurian Period (plant and creatures appearing on land). Cream colours are limestone from the Cambrian to Ordovician period.