The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 5.1 Earthquake at a depth of 10.0 km, about 34 km to the northwest of the town of Pipalkoti in Uttarakhand State, India slightly before 8.50 pm local time, slightly before 3.20 pm GMT, on Wednesday 6 December 2017. The event was felt across most of Uttarakhand, as well as in Haryana and parts of Punjab states, but no major damage or casualties have been reported.
The approximate location of the 6 December 2017 Tibet Earthquake. USGS.
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.
Much of northern India and neighbouring areas of Central Asia and the Himalayas, are prone to Earthquakes caused by the impact of the Indian Plate into Eurasia from the south. 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 movement of India into Eurasia over the last 71 million years. USGS.
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.
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