Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kathmandu, Nepal - Collision

I'm feeling cramped and tired but I've finally touched down in Kathmandu, Nepal.  Nepal is right between India and China so it's just a little south of being right in the middle of Asia.  The coordinates of Kathmandu are 27°42'N 85°20'E. I caught a cab to the hotel, checked in, lounged in the hot tub, and then went to bed.  In the morning I woke up for an early stroll to get to know the area.  I stopped by a street vendor a purchased some delectable fruits.  Then I went out for brunch and feasted on some traditional Nepalese food,Tibetan Momo and Dal-bhat-tarkari. 

The beautiful pool with an amazing view of the mountains at Radisson Hotel -

Tibetan Momo -

Dal-bhat-tarkari -

Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the Himalayas, and in the world -
Many people come here to look at the view of the gorgeous mountains, go on fantastic hikes, and even to try and attempt to climb Mt. Everest and other deadly mountains.  What they don't realize is how these amazing geological features came to be.  Again, it's all thanks to the tectonic plates. 

Diagram of a collision boundary -
When two plates of the same or very similar densities (oceanic/oceanic or continental/continental) move towards each other they collide (hence collision boundary).  The two plates collide and since they are of roughly the same density they force each other upwards. That's how mountains are created.  In the case of the Himalayas, the Eurasian Plate is sliding South West and is colliding with the Indian Plate which is sliding North East.

Collision boundaries only form mountains.  They don't form volcanoes because none of the plates are subducting under the other and being melted into magma like what happens at a subduction boundary.

The Indian and Eurasian Plates are still moving towards each other and with every sudden movement an earthquake occurs.  Because of this earthquakes happen quite frequently.  Similar to the San Andrea's fault, many of these earthquakes have either had too small of a frequency or they've too deep in the Earths' crust to be noticed by humans.  A well-known earthquake occurred in 1933 which killed thousands in both Nepal and Northern India.

The most recent large earthquake happened on September 18th, 2011.  The Sikkim earthquake, as it's called, lasted from 30-40 seconds and killed at least 111 people from five different countries.  The majority (97) of the deaths were from people living in India.  It had a magnitude of 6.9.

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