Monday, 18 May 2020

Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake in Yunnan Province, China.

The China Earthquake Networks Center recorded a Magnitude 5.0 Earthquake at a depth of about 8 km in Qiaojia County in Yunnan Province, China, slightly after 6.45 pm local time (slightly after 1.45 pm GMT) on Monday 18 May 2020. According to the Xinhua news network the event caused a house to collapse, trapping several people inside, but there are no reports of any casualties.

The approximate location of the 18 May 2020 Yunnan Earthquake. USGS.

Much of western China 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. 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.

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. 

See also...

https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2019/11/tunnel-collapse-kills-at-least-four-in.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2017/08/typhoon-hato-takes-at-least-twenty-six.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/10/at-least-one-person-dead-after.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/08/at-least-26-dead-after-magnitude-65.html
https://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/06/at-least-one-dead-after-yunnan-landslide.htmlhttps://sciencythoughts.blogspot.com/2014/05/magnitude-59-earthquake-in-eastern.html
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