Monday, 20 November 2017

Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake in eastern Tibet.

The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake at a depth of 8.0 km, about 64 km to the east of the city of Nyingchi in the Bayi District of southeast Tibet, slightly before 6.35a m local time on Saturday 18 November 2017 (slightly before 10.35 pm on Friday 17 November, GMT). The incident was felt across eastern Tibet, as well as in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam states in India, and is known to have triggered a number of small landslips, as well as causing some minor damage to buildings, but no major damage or casualties have been reported.

A rockfall blocks a road in Mainling County, Tibet, following the 18 November 2017 Earthquake. Liu Pengchao/Xinhua/AP.

Earthquake activity in the area is caused by the uplift of the Tibetan Plateau, due to the impact of India into Eurasia to the south. he 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. 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.

 Block diagram showing how the impact of the Indian Plate into Eurasia is causing uplift on the Tibetan Plateau. Jayne Doucette/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. The international non-profit organisation Earthquake Report is interested in hearing from people who may have felt this event; if you felt this quake then you can report it to Earthquake Report here.

The approximate location of the 18 November 2017 Tibet Earthquake. USGS.

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