Sunday 6 October 2013

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in Northern Sichaun Province, China.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of 10 km, roughly 32 km to the northwest of Jiangyou in northern Sichaun Province, slightly after 11.00 am local time (slightly after 3.00 am GMT) on Friday 4 October 2013. The quake is reported to have caused minor damage to several buildings, but no injuries.

The approximate location of the 4 October 2013 Sichuan 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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