Sunday 27 October 2013

Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake in northwest Gansu Province, China.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 4.7 Earthquake at a depth of 15 km, roughly 80 km west of Jiayuguan City in northwest Gansu Province, northern China, slightly after 6.50 am local time on Sunday 26 October 2013 (slightly after 10.50 pm on Saturday 25 October 2013, GMT). There are no reports of any damage or injuries arising from this quake, though it was moderately large and is likely to have been felt over a fairly wide area.

The approximate location of the 26 October 2013 Gansu Earthquake. Google Maps.

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.

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