Wednesday 28 August 2013

Homes destroyed in Sichuan Earthquake.

A Magnitude 4.4 Earthquake at a depth of 8.85 km took place in Rongxian County in the southwest of Sichuan Province, China, slightly before 4.45 am local time of Wednesday 28 August 2013 (slightly before 8.45 pm on Tuesday 27 August GMT), according to the China Earthquake Networks Center. This was felt across much of Rongxian County, as well as Deqing and Shangri-la counties in neighbouring Yunnan Province. There are no reports of any casualties, but the quake is reported to have destroyed 36 homes, and damaged a similar number. 

Damage to a road in Deqing County, Yunnan, following the 28 August Rongxian County Earthquake. Shi Xianyao/Xinhua.

Much of western China and neighbouring areas of Central Asia and the Himalayas, is prone to Earthquakes caused by the impact of the Indian Plate into Eurasia from the south. The Indian Plate is moving northwards at a rate of 5 cm per year, causing it to impact into Eurasia, which is also moving northward, but only at a rate of 2 cm per year. When two tectonic plates collide in this way and one or both are oceanic then one will be subducted beneath the other (if one of the plates is continental then the other will be subducted), but if both plates are continental then subduction will not fully occur, but instead the plates will crumple, leading to folding and uplift (and quite a lot of Earthquakes). The collision of the Indian and Eurasian plates has lead to the formation of the Himalayan Mountains, the Tibetan Plateau, and the mountains of southwest China, Central Asia and the Hindu Kush.

The approximate location of the 28 August Rongxian County Earthquake. Google Maps.

See also Series of Earthquakes in Gansu Province kills at least 95Earthquakes in northeast Yunnan Province, ChinaEarthquake in southwest China and Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake in Western Tibet/Xizang.

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